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Lumpenproletariat

June 1976 Gloucester, Massachusetts

I graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School, #18 out of 168 in my class, the 5th ranking boy. I probably would have done better if I hadn’t have skipped a lot of classes to smoke pot with the kids who hung out in the art room. Suddenly, I was supposed to join the real world and had no clue where I want to go or what I wanted to do. I had applied to pursue a journalism major at Bridgeport University in southern Connecticut. My guidance councilor Neil Curley told me I had no chance of getting accepted, that “I was out on a limb out of touch with reality” and should go to a community college, join the army,  or take a factory job. My two older brothers had served in the Vietnam War. Joe, who didn’t communicate much with me, had a nervous breakdown and was discharged from the Navy shortly after returning. Peter, who wrote regular letters to me, had become disillusioned and urged me to never join the military.  The only factory in town was Lepage’s Glue, where joe had landed a job after getting out of the Navy. I wasn’t too keen on working there. I decided to go to Salem State College and study Social Work. I had a vague idea that I wanted to help people, particularly children. That spring I had volunteered for the Cape Ann Council For Children’s Task Force On Child Abuse and Neglect. I was starting to get a sense of what I might be able to do to affect change in my community. I didn’t have a job, but I was beginning to find a direction.

What do you think?

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        • Not sure if the world could stand another me but it’s a great feeling to watch my 11 year old daughter go to school in her “Nevertheless She Persisted” T shirt or when she tells he teacher that proceeds from her class entrepreneur project should be donated to Black Lives Matter. It’s a good feeling to help raise the next generation of agitators.

          • My baby boy just turned 16 and has the biggest mouth in the county lol He doesn’t mind letting anyone know that they’re wrong, even Momma at times! Even though these children are a bit more complicated (only because they question everything and have to have an answer to every why/”Because I said so” is a complete waste of breath lol), the rewards are infinite. Good for you, my friend! <3

    • Yes that feeling was always there but that summer I had no use where to start. I ws out of work and feeling pretty worthless. At school I.had friends to bounce off of and kids who looked to me for ideas and advice. In August my friend and mentor Isabel Natti got arrested planting sunflowers at the construction site of the Seabrook Nuclear Plant. A few weeks later I caught a ride with her to the Clamshell Alliance conference in Ayer, Massachusetts. The same week that I started college I joined Clamshell. I didn’t know if we could stop Seabrook but I knew we were going to have a big impact on the atomic industry.

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