Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Preface, Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Prologue

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pp. 1-4

in 1969, I was part of a group of radicals at Yale University trying to create a community where we could live in peace and innocence. Change seemed possible. San Francisco celebrated the Summer of Love, Martin Luther King Jr. taught us the power of nonviolence, and Woodstock was iconic before the mud in Max Yasger’s fields had dried. Then armored tanks rolled across the campus....

Part I: New Haven

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1. Here Comes the Sun

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pp. 7-23

i was quite pleased with myself as i stood in front of the Art and Architecture Building at Yale, my new academic home. It was 1968. Before entering, I took a moment to smooth my shirtwaist dress and adjust the straw bag neatly hanging from my shoulder. Behind me a noise rumbled. A bus, swirling with color, pulled up to the curb, paisley bedspreads...

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2. You’ve Got a Friend

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pp. 24-32

Hak was raised in a life of wealth and privilege. He arrived here when he was ten, his father an appointee to the United Nations. In Jakarta Hak had ridden to school in limousines, a flag flying from the front bumpers. He was a prince, he told me. That sounded good, a bit out of my range but nothing wrong with a little step up. Then the stories got...

Part II: Greenleaf

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3. People Get Ready

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pp. 35-42

Lev, an old childhood friend of Hak’s, accompanied us. In truth, it might be more accurate to say that I accompanied them, as it often felt like they were the couple and I was the extra. Lev didn’t like me. Then again, Lev didn’t like most people. He was taciturn, with dark eyes that glowered out at the world from behind his black beard. I gave him wide berth, which was not difficult as he rarely spoke to me....

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4. Our House

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pp. 43-47

“What farm? Where?” I sputtered, feeling anxiety rise like a heatseeking missile. “Time to make a move,” Hakim delightedly informed me. “We found the perfect place. There’s room for all of us.”
All of us? As newlyweds, I still held onto the hope that all of us were two of us. My dream was to dump Lev. The other rotating guests were fine as long as they remained guests and rotating, separate but not equal in my...

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5. Let’s Get Together

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pp. 48-53

Summer, endless summer, had arrived and our generation was on the road looking for something better. Morning Star, New Buffalo, The Farm—these were some of the names that beckoned, communes that seemed to promise the dawning of that ephemeral concept, the Age of Aquarius, heralded in the musical...

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6. Who’s Making Love

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pp. 54-56

Just as restrictions about clothing and our bodies dropped away, so did the rules for what we did with those bodies. It was the night of the summer solstice party, quiet after the departure of our guests, black except for the radiance of the moon. Hak and I were nestled in our tree house aerie, content after a day of festivities. Everything was still except...

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7. Maggie’s Farm

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pp. 57-62

The truth of the adage “wherever you go, there you are” became very clear to me as the days passed. Action had always given my life focus, keeping the demons at bay. Lying around stoned had no appeal for me. I liked achieving things. So here we were, in the Garden of Eden. What do you do in paradise? Me, I produced....

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8. Do the Funky Chicken

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pp. 63-72

Our dream was self-sufficiency and it seemed quite possible within the fecund richness of western Oregon. Lush blackberries grew along the road, free for the picking, unless of course they had been sprayed by the county to control their growth, the outside world having a way of insinuating...

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9. Sweet Baby James

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pp. 73-75

The pageant players had their new baby. It was time for ours. Fairchild was pregnant. The working assumption of everyone, including Guy, was that the child was his. It didn’t matter. We welcomed this new life that would make us complete as a family. Fairchild, pregnant, was the perfect accessory for our collective vision, very conveniently giving birth...

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10. Take Good Care of My Baby

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pp. 76-80

We were lucky. I knew that. We had all played with fate. This time Fairchild recovered, but I knew Hak would challenge us to trust and jump again.
Would I follow? Of course, even if it meant struggling with doubt. Hadn’t we had shed old ways like dirty clothes? Didn’t we awaken each day to dress afresh, inside and out, in the raiment of our new glory? This...

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11. Money Honey

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pp. 81-84

Money was easy, at first. A bit of cash, some unemployment checks, and a few lingering tax refunds maintained the flow, bounty from the past that made our present possible. We shared as we saw fit, openly proud of our collective life, quietly protective of our personal needs. There was no plan. We didn’t talk about it. Instead, in the low thrum at the threshold of consciousness, we, like the rest of the world, made endless calculations....

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12. Summertime

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pp. 85-94

I pressed a warm berry with my tongue, mashing the tiny globes against my palate. The juice tasted like sweet perfume. Mary Ellen and I were picking blackberries for dinner, moving from one perfect cluster to the next as we filled our containers, empty commodity peanut butter cans. “Are you eating them all or are you saving some for dessert?” Mary...

Part III: Floras Creek

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13. Rocky Mountain High

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pp. 97-103

Our one-year lease for the farm was running out and we needed a new home, preferably a permanent one. Carol wanted to purchase property. She had returned again with this in mind. The solution to both quests merged on a coastal mountain where Carol found 160 pristine acres populated by bears, cougars, and the government hunters that stalked them, thinning the wildlife so that domesticated animals could thrive. We were...

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14. Leaving on a Jet Plane

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pp. 104-108

With no amenities, every daily task was a challenge. Not everyone was as satisfied as Hak and I. Brandi and Fairchild became collateral damage within the first month, opting to move to Eugene where having a baby, but no man, was not such a formidable challenge, Lev by this time having decamped. Pampers were expensive and washing soiled cloth diapers was much like doing the dishes, chopping wood and heating water...

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15. Family Affair

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pp. 109-116

Those we lost through attrition were replaced by new arrivals. All you had to do was show up. No Bedouin in the Empty Quarter could have been more hospitable to brethren traveling the desert sands of the straight world. Class lines disappeared—at least we tried to erase them. Guests ranged from the mentally infirm to the lonely and lost, including family and friends. A few gems were tucked in there as well. Georgia, en...

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16. Get It While You Can

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pp. 117-122

Our new routines began to fall into place. With the start of summer the weather was warm and dry, winter and wetness still months away. Hak and I, snug in our tent at night, spent most of our daylight hours busy with everyone except each other. Added to our slow movement away from each other and into the community was the fact that out of necessity the...

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17. With a Little Help From My Friends

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pp. 123-128

There was only one solution, and that was to build myself a cabin. But how? The guys were the architects, not me. Clint was working on a castle, at least relative to the rest of us, a homestead to please Carol. Steve Ledbetter, who had joined us from Three Rivers, was methodically building his home on the lower forty acres. Without even trying, Stuart’s...

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18. Me and Bobby McGee

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pp. 129-134

As a group we were everything to each other, but I was still alone, single, without a partner. About a year after Hak left, my eye landed on Stuart, but very lightly, some tender wounds still open. He was handsome, helpful, and available. As I struggled to finish my cabin, Stuart was always there to help, gently encouraging and actively hammering. I had never...

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19. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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pp. 135-138

My little home was cozy at night. Darkness came early and was all encompassing. Friends, settled in their own cabins, were scattered in the woods around me. Snug, I lit a fire. A chipped, white enamel basin, rescued from an abandoned shack, hung from a nail to the right of my door. I filled it with water carried from the main cabin in an empty plastic milk...

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20. The Loco-Motion

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pp. 139-143

At night I was alone, but by day we traveled in clusters, sharing gas and rides whenever possible. Vehicles were more complex. Our unspoken rule was that all cars and trucks could be communally used, but only with permission by the owner, somewhat of an oxymoron. In practice, the asker knew there were some people it was best not to approach and the bestower was aware there were some people it was best not to trust....

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21. Everyday People

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pp. 144-152

Before we dropped out, food shopping was easy. We marched up and down brightly stocked aisles, gluttonously feeding the carts in front of our stomachs with the excess of our culture; our jobs, our parents, or our scholarships covered the costs at check-out. At Greenleaf we learned to forage and farm, but food stamps continued to be an important source of sustenance, supplemented by tax refunds and unemployment. Over...

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22. You’ve Got a Friend

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pp. 153-158

The road to town cut through the farm of our neighbor, Woody, a seemingly ubiquitous name in this neck of the woods. To the north was his orchard, including several acres of apple trees, leafy and green in summer, brown and sculpted in winter, filagreed moss clinging to the bark. When we passed the orchard on our way to somewhere else, it was just...

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23. Strawberry Fields Forever

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pp. 159-166

We may not have been self-sufficient, except for dope, but we were hopeful. Faith paid off because food did appear through government largesse, gleaning, trading, and foraging. There were also three goats that we milked regularly, letting the milk sour and then hanging it up to drain. Within a few days, with no further intervention on our part, we had fresh cheese, artisanal ahead of our time; you just had to make sure you got...

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24. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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pp. 167-173

We had our core group, but strangers found us and stayed, some for a few days, others longer, each with their own story. Isaac appeared like the burning bush to Moses, out of nowhere. Tall, lean, in his fifties, with scraggly grey hair and a beard to match, his eyes were intense and his manner a bit like a serpent in our Eden. His Eve was April, a young wanderer half his age. They arrived in an old school bus, which made it to the...

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25. You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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pp. 174-176

Our only structure was no structure. We chafed under charts and rules. Actually, we never got that far. We chafed at the idea of charts and rules. Dishes could sit for days in the wood basin by our hand pump. One by one we plucked them from the pile and washed them on an as-needed basis, either for a lone snack or a communal meal. After we ate they were...

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26. I Am Woman

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pp. 177-187

Carol and I, or at least I, continued to struggle with our personal differences. Where we easily came together was as women, particularly as there were so few of us. During the off-season, the harshness of our existence winnowed our female population to three: Carol, Katrina, and me. We needed each other. Summer was the exception, with friends and...

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27. This Land is Your Land

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pp. 188-195

The question of land ownership peeked sporadically above the horizon of our awareness, waving a little flag, calling out, “Look at me! Look at me!” We averted our eyes and avoided the issue until it gained a foothold and demanded our attention. Clint and Carol had been visiting her parents in Hallendale, Florida, introducing them to their young grandson, when the rumblings began. By the time they returned, an ambush was in place....

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28. Can’t Buy Me Love

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pp. 196-204

I needed money. Some locals told us about brush picking. There was a shed in Langlois where the owners bought ferns and branches of Oregon grape harvested from the surrounding forests. From this collection point, the greens were bundled and trucked down to cities farther south to be used by florists in bouquets. The plants were free for the picking. You just had to drive into the woods, snip and stash, fill the bed of the truck...

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29. The Long and Winding Road

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pp. 205-208

Stuart, Carol, and I drove into Bandon to pick up some brick ends that the cheese factory in town sold at half price. On the way back we stopped to visit Lee and Lester, our biker friends, socializing and shopping on the same tank of gas. Stuart and Carol disappeared into the back of the house, looking to share a toke or two. I found Lee in the kitchen, waiting for his ride to the highway. He was leaving for a bus trip to San...

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Epilogue

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pp. 209-212

When I left, I thought I would return. What I didn’t realize was that we, the self-chosen people, were on the cusp of a diaspora. While I was in San Francisco, Clint and Carol made their final decision; the land was theirs, unhindered by any subcontracts or clauses. At my departure I was still hopeful that a compromise would appear. Within weeks, however,...