April 5th


The things you find when you're unpacking. I'm sitting here Saturday afternoon listening to a cassette tape of the California Raisins. Uh - yeah, cassette... remember back when you had to sit there and rewind before you could listen from the start? I have scadzillions of the things, and in sorting out just one jumbled boxfull today I found everything from George Winston to Wagner, from Harry Connick Jr to Jethro Tull, Canadian Brass to the Flashdance soundtrack. Including some bootleg recordings of the Greaseman from when I lived in D.C. and some tapes "said to have been unreleased Jimi Hendrix" cuts.

What else did I find? An envelope addressed to 'Mother', at my family's old address in Maryland, dated August 20th, 1970 - two months after my return from Korea. My return address on the envelope was 'Along The Trans-Canada Hwy, Westbound'. The letter inside is an interesting look inside the boy that I was. Some of him is still in the man I am.

Dear Mother:

I hope this letter finds you in good spirits. I talked to Dad last night and was told you'd be home soon. I know I said that I'd try to be home when you arrived, but the wanderlust just hit, and I had to keep on moving. I hope, of course, you know that you have all my wishes for a speedy recovery from your injury.

I've had a sore back lately myself, but it's more of a self-imposed reason. I started out from Maryland with 30-35 lbs on my back but right now Bob & I [the guy I'm traveling with] are carrying about 50 lb apiece. I've added mostly food - 4 lbs rice, tea, a can of 1 1/2 lb beef stew [for a special occasion] & some raisins. Just today we were given a large [large!] box of powdered milk, some hot dogs and luncheon meats, beans, and soup by some couple we met out camping. Guy is a captain in the Royal Canadian Army, but is cool. What with a metal cooking grill I found and a small rod & reel I bought in Sault [say Soo] St Marie added to the pack of clothes and sleeping bag I started off with, I've got quite a load. We're spending as little money as possible - for instance, breakfast yesterday was hot tea and 2 hours of blueberry picking, plus a couple raw cattail stalks.

People have been real nice to us - in Canada, that is. I don't even want to think of travelling in the States anymore. I can't begin to remember how many times people here have bought me meals, or given us canned food, or - well, two days ago 2 guys from the states were camped next us and they got us and 1/2 the people in the campgrounds drunk.

This is our 3rd day in Wawa, Ontario. Last night they had a dance from 9 til 1230. We only got there at 12, but we had a great time - Bob, I, one guy from Frisco and 3 guys from Chicago. They weren't ready for us.

Tomorrow morning we'll be in Thunder Bay. Our last stop before Wawa was in Sault St Marie. Before that was Sudbury. I met Bob in the Sault. He and I are both more or less from L.A., headed to Vancouver sooner or later. Neither of us has a time limit or desire to impose one. We didn't even actually decide to partner up [usually there is the question - "Do you want to hitch together?"]; we just said hi, talked for a while, and then hitched out of town together. We get along fine together, coinciding on a lot of books read, attitudes and very importantly, equipment. He's beginning to learn how to play cribbage - beat me tonight, matter of fact. We don't know how far we're going together. We'd both like to find a commune for a while in the Canadian Rockies or maybe on Victoria Island or Oregon - who knows. I'm just not going to tie myself down to a straight job for a while. I just can't see it. After Canada, I can't really see either L.A. or D.C. again. If you could spend some time up here, I know you'd feel the same.I don't think I've been out of walking distance from a lake since I left Toronto last friday night. We're now about 1/2 up the eastern side of Lake Superior and Thunder Bay is on the NW shore. From there on to Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary [the Rockies], and on west.

I'll try to keep in touch as much as I can - we spend as much time as possible in the bush.

All my love to all...

Folded in the envelope was a paper place mat with a city map from a restaurant in Wawa, Ontario. It mentions that Wawa is Ojibway for 'wild goose', and has the Wawa slogan on it - Land Of The Big Goose. I can tell you that even looking back over 30 years I can remember hitchhiking in front of the goose statue to be abysmal; it took us three full days of hitching to get out of Wawa.

I guess my hope is that in the grounding and evolving and maturing between 1970 and 2003 I've not lost that spark of naivete. That adventuresome spirit. That looking for a lake and a commune. That willingness to experience life in big bites, day to day to day. I do believe that you can see some of the roots of my Life Is Good affirmation in the lines I wrote above, to my mother.

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By the way - if you happened to miss contributing to the Orgasms For Peace effort last night, I had a couple of extras I can loan ya, courtesy of the lovely Girlshawn. The things I do for my country.....

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