Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Monday, December 26, 2016

Indian Curry, Ski Machines at Midnight, Sexland Anywhere and Donald Trump Ts Off

There was a problem, well, more than one, with the Cherry Hill Towers. It was kind of disheveled when we moved there. I got stuck in the elevator once, which is less than a comfortable experience, but since we lived on the twelfth floor I wasn’t about to skip using the lift. One, two stories, maybe three I'll walk, but four or more is pushing it. Being on a high floor gave us a great view, but it did bring inconveniences.
After we moved in, I bought us a living room suite.  It consisted of the usual components, coffee table, an end table and this gigantic sofa and love seat. The sofa was super long and you slid the love seat up against one end to form L-seating. It was called a sectional. It was gold in color, a much brighter gold than it appears in the photo, like a summer sun it was. 

We had bought it and paid for delivery and therein lay the difficulty. Two burly men showed up at our floor and hauled in everything except the long couch. One handed me a sheet to sign and said they couldn’t fit the sofa in the freight elevator.
“Oh, then take it back,” I said.
“Can’t do that,” he says. “Against company policy. You gotta call the store and make arrangements. We left it down in the basement for you.” And he left.
Being as how in those days I was obstinate, stubborn, stronger and confident in my problem solving abilities, I rode down to the basement to check out the situation.
Man, yes, that sofa was big. I’m six foot and pushed up on end that blsted sofa towered over me. There had been two of those guys, but only just one of me, which made handing that monster a bit awkward, but after an hour of twisting, turning and muttering, I got it into that elevator, out of that elevator, down our corridor and through our apartment door to the living room. (That is Lois standing at attention in the living room. Don't you just love those 'seventies fashion?)

Ah, the sanctuary of your home where you can keep the
world out, but not necessarily the odors of the neighbors. Across the hall from us lived a family of Indians (not the cowboy and indian indians, but India Indians). They were very nice people and we visited with them in their India decor apartment with the Hundu Alter against one living room wall.
They always dressed in traditional native clothes, he usually in a Mundu and short jacket, her in colorful Saris. (They were considerably older than the male model.) This was all fine, but they also ate their native foods cooked with a lot of curry, I would almost swear   every meal. The odor of curry permeated the hallway and it snuck into our living room from the space beneath our front door. We took to stuffing this crack up with towels, but nothing was 100% guardian against the curry clouds.

The Cherry Hill Mall was directly across the street from us and a couple block around the corner was the home of a TV pitchman named Gray. He had a mirror company. There were a couple companies hyping their mirrors on TV and I think both companies went down in scandals and ripoff. Anyway, this guy Gray saw him self as a big celebrity and he owned a house in Cherry Hill. I would walk by it and he had two cadillacs parked in his driveway. They were gaudy vehicles, trimmed in gold with gold hubcaps. Each had a vanity licence plate, the one read "Super" and the other "Star". Well, Mr. Superstar went to prison. I wonder if he starred there? 

We endured any and all inconveniences at the Cherry Hill Towers until the hot water pipe began hissing steam into the bathroom, I was defeated. I could not fix it and it made going in there a miserable proposition, plus I kept expected our red-flocked wallpaper to unflock. Didn’t want to ruin the d├ęcor, you know, even if it did look like a bathroom in a brothel.

I contacted the rental office, but this accomplished nothing but empty promises. They would take it up with the management, so they said. The landlord was holed up in New York City somewhere and cared not a fig for his South Jersey residents. The steam heated faux spa continued unabated and unfixed. When our lease expired we moved for the seventh time in our dozen years of marriage. Counting my first home after birth, this would be the twelfth address for me.

People sometimes find it hard to believe how our new address was possible in the flat land of South Jersey. We moved from Cherry Hill, where I never saw a cherry tree or a hill to Pine Hill, the highest elevation in Camden County, where I saw both, a big hill and many, many Pine Trees. 

We had a second floor apartment in the two-story Manchester Building within the clusters of Chalets at Ski Mountain. It was a new and lovely complex when we moved there on December 1, 1973, having many modern conveniences, including a trash compactor in the kitchen.
The backend of the complex backed right up to the edge of Ski Mountain, meaning all winter we had to bare the hum of the snow making machines running from midnight to morning light, but you get used to it. Of course, it snowed for real just after the new year. On the 8th we left work at noon and the snow continued all the next day. On January 10 it turned bitterly cold and everything froze.

Ski Mountain remained a popular winter attraction during the five years we lived at Chalet. The whishing and slushing and wind of the two line motors went on for several months until the blessed spring thaws.
The summer attraction was Clementon Lake Amusement Park,  on Blackwood-Clementon Road just two and a half miles away. Clementon, you might recall,  was the home of Tom Newman, my 1959 friend and fellow correspondence school art student also attending the Florence Utz IBM School. The park was only two blocks from his house where I stay a couple of times that summer not realizing the future would bring me back to the area.

Clementon Park is still operating, but Ski Mountain is
long gone now. That hill it utilized went through several iterations after we moved away. In the 1980s a water park was built on the site and called Action Mountain Park.

It was an offshoot of the infamous Action Park, a Vernon, North Jersey amusement park, known as “The most dangerous amusement park in America” and listed in “Weird New Jersey”.  Action Mountain Park was perhaps not as dangerous as its parent, everyone seems to have gotten out of it alive, but from what I have learned people generally came away from it bruised and banged up.

Action Mountain closed down sometime in the nineties and in the year 2000 the Trump National Golf Club-Philadelphia was built upon the site. (Yes, that Donald Trump.) It remains a resort to this very day and has a five-star rating.

I wonder if will be the official Presidential T-off spot?

Throughout 1974 and well into 1975, Lois and I provided our own amusement park, Sexland. The only rides were us. Sexland would exist anywhere and anytime we chose. There would be fondling under the table in restaurants. When we ate out we sat on the sides that formed the right angle of the table corner; not across from each other. This allowed easy reach.
Although we had stopped any group sex activities after Wayne and Bunny, we were prone to risky public acts and displays. Lois bought a wrap dress, something introduced that year by Diana Von Furstenberg. As its name implied, it was a dress of one piece, but had no buttons. A woman put her arms through the sleeves and then wrapped the material about her, doubling one side over the other in front and tying it in place with a belt or sash. This made the thing easy to manipulate. The bodice could be pulled apart to differing widths to show cleavage or more skin. The exposure of legs could also be adjusted.
Lois would not wear underwear many times when we went out (nor would I). We often left certain restaurants and as soon as we started across the parking lot, she would undo the belt, which allowed the wrap dress to unwrap fully in the front. Eventually, as our activity grew more emboldened, we went to a lounge nearby. It had a L-shaped setup with the bar on the short part. This was where most people were when we went there, but the long side was general empty toward the back and we took a booth in that section. This allowed Lois to undo the wrap dress and basically sit there nude, though whipping the material around her if a waitress approached.
Our bathing suits also grew steadily smaller and we would fool about in any water we ever entered, even sometimes slipping out of the suits.
(We also had erotic statues about our apartment, such as the Lovers and David seen in the right of the photo.)
We’d play games in elevators taking the chance it could stop at any moment to pick up passengers. In a crowded elevator I would back against the back wall and Lois would back into me and grind. I might slip my hands up her skirt or down her blouse in empty lifts. We constantly engaged in sexual play, including while driving, Lois sometimes completely disrobing, something that had to be a treat to semi drivers who came alongside. We would drive onto the back country road of Chester County just to extend sexual play.
 One such evening while engaged in oral sex I drove off the road into a ditch. It was a deep ditch and I couldn’t get the car out. There was a farm house across the road, the only house anywhere in sight. The noise my car made attracted the residents. The porch light came on and several young women came out the front door to see what the commotion was. Meanwhile I was struggling to get my pants up and fastened as they approached us. They were giggling, so perhaps they had some idea what we had been about. Nonetheless, their dad or brother or cousin, some male anyway, got the tractor and pulled us free.
We took to having sex in public places during the day. We did it behind a tree next to a springhouse behind Lafayette’s Headquarters in the Brandywine Battlefield. In Downingtown, where I spent my boyhood, where I once stole girlie magazines from Charles’ Newsstand, we wandered to the back of Kerr Park along the Brandywine. There was a natural stage there before a grove of pine trees. They used to put on plays during summer eves, using the pine grove as the dressing rooms. We went back and had sex pressed against one of the pines. I could see out through the trunks at the people strolling the area and some kids playing tag or some such game.
In Valley Forge we did it down in a field of tall weeds just off the parking lot for the Washington memorial Chapel, where once Bob Condon and I wrote songs up in the bell tower. There was a picnic area maybe 50 yards away, perhaps less, and I watched a family set up their picnic during our activity hoping they couldn’t see us through the grass.

So why relate these secret things from the past that no one need ever to know? Because one must show what they once were in order to show change. People who had been alcoholics relate how they were fallen down drunk, how they threw up on the hostesses dress at parties, how they had accidents on the highway when in their cups. Reformed druggies might confess to days of thief or muggings to support their habit, how they boosted hubcaps from parked cars or snuck into buildings to rip off items to fence.
I wasn’t a drunk or a crack-head or a thief. I was simply a sex addict. I wasn’t raping or assaulting any one. I wasn’t jumping out of bushes to expose myself to strangers passing by. This was, of course, my rationalization and my justification that I was harming no one and no one really knew, so what was the harm. It certainly made practicing such behavior easier not believing in any God that might be observing disapprovingly. As I stated before, as an Atheist I believed the only real purpose to life was seeking pleasure.
Perhaps pleasure wasn’t so prevalent as I tried to believe if I had honestly accessed my life. I was 33. I had changed addresses 12 times, been rejected from the armed services because of psoriasis, was working at my seventh employer in 16 years, dropped out of art school and quit Temple University. Yes, I had writings published, my latest being an article in “Animal Lover’s Magazine”, but it hardly supported a living.  I didn’t feel satisfied with anything and was often angry. I marched in protests and argued with ministers and saw friends, the few I had, come and go. I spent a lot of time drinking with those I kept. I had 6 dead babies, too. I was 33 and saw no future for myself other than drifting along as I had been and hoping more stories would sell, while in reality I was selling less.
The movements of the 1960s were fading away. Once we sang “Where have all the Flowers Gone?”, now we could ask, “Where have all the Hippies Gone?” It appeared creativity was dissolving into the recent past and protests as well as the long Vietnam War ended. It was an age of disillusion; perhaps we were a new Lost Generation. The Beatles disbanded. The Trauma and Kaleidoscope (the remains of which are pictured right) were closed. Folk music was disappearing from the hit parade and the bland music of Disco was beginning to dominate. People escaped into the beat that was good to dance to and disengaged from causes. The Fugs and Country Joe and the Fish had been replaced by the Bee Gees and Village People.

Richard Nixon became the first person to resign the presidency. The moon shot was disappearing into history.

In 1973, Elmer Wilson, the father of Richard, Tommy and Suzy, died at the age of 59. In 1974, my father’s longtime friend and the father of my boyhood babysitter, Dotty Bender Walls, died in May, also at the age of 59. Dotty’s marriage had broken apart, she had been incarcerated at Embreeville State Hospital and her ex-husband was sent to jail for child molestation. In November, Joe Rubio’s mother died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 45.

I wondered what 1975 would bring. Probably more of the same old same old. I didn't expect more, and I had given up hope of ever being a father.

1 comment:

Ron said...

A very interesting and honest post. By the way, I remember that natural stage in Kerr Park. I don't think you were the only one to have sex there. I suspect my parents did while they were courting. I'll have to tell you that story sometime.