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Lightstar Blues III : The Space Between

Gloucester, Massachusetts, Summer/Fall 1979

In mid June 1979 Kathe Camera & I said goodbye at the Denver Greyhound Station. I boarded a bus for Boston with eleven dollars in my pocket, a backpack full of clothes, a toothbrush and half tube of Crest toothpaste, and two books Kerouac’s “The Subterraneans” and “Letters To America” by Abbie & Anita Hoffman. Three days later I reached Boston, exhausted & hungry. The following week I appeared in court in New Hampshire for my role in the blockade. I had a court date the following week for my arrest at the conclusion of the blockade. When I left for Colorado in May I had considered not showing up. I had been seen by hundreds of people breaking through a police line and spitting on the Trabossa Transporter that carried the Seabrook Nuclear Plant’s Reactor Pressure Vessel to the site. It seemed like I was a certain conviction and would be sentenced to Brentwood, the county jail that seemed to be filling up with anti nuclear activists. A clerical error would result in my charges being dismissed. I walked out of the courtroom giving a clenched fist power salute to a small but vocal group of supporters.

Back in Gloucester I set out looking for work & was advised to apply for the C.E.T.A. (Comprehensive Employment And Training Act) Summer Youth program, a three month long minimum wage job. The local C.E.T.A. Director was a progressive activist who had been active with the Communist Party USA in the 1940s. She had read about my arrests in the Gloucester Times and was delighted to place me with C.E.TA. “Have you ever thought of working with the mentally challenged?” she asked. “I’m ready for anything” I said. I was assigned to work at the Hogan Regional Center in Danvers under the supervision of an energetic young lady named Suzanne Henriques. Suzanne was passionate about helping kids with special needs. We became friends quickly and she lent me a book “Son Rise” by Barry Neil Kaufman, the father of a boy with autism.  I read it overnight. Within days I had made an impression on the administrative staff at Hogan and was surprised to learn my cousin Gaspar Pallazola was the Assistant Unit Director. I “graduated” from C.E.T.A. early and was hired to work fulltime at Hogan by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health On August 5, 1979

I didn’t hear much from Rachel during this period. She sent me letters and called from time to time. I felt like something was slipping away. That fall she told me she was going to Europe with a girlfriend from Haight Ashbury. I got an overseas call that she was studying mime from Marcel Marceau. I wasn’t surprised.

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9 points

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