Alaska

When I got out of Cal in ’67 I decided to go to Europe.  My former girlfriend, Melody Magdalena Papini, was going, so I figured I would too.  I only had about $600, but I got a charter from Oakland to London for $125, and I was going to hitchhike around, and stay at youth hostels.  It worked out. I wandered all over the place for six months, from North Africa to Tehran.  Had a lot of adventures.  I even ran into Melody at the youth hostel in Rome.  She was a beautiful girl, had a classic Italian look. But she didn’t want me, and so that was that.  I found out a few years later that she died of hepatitis at a hippie commune in Colorado.  Very sad.  She never figured things out.

When I got back I planned on going to law school, but I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t know what to do.  So I went up to Alaska to meet my Uncle Fritz, and that was that.  I found a home.  I came up in June, and went out to Jewel Lake to go swimming.  It was 84 degrees, and the girls were in bikinis.

I loved Alaska.  Everything about it, except the weather, and when you’re young and strong you don’t let things like that bother you.  I got a job in the warehouse at Northern Commercial.  I would have gone commercial fishing or crabbing, or worked construction,  but had no idea how to get one of those jobs.  You had to know somebody, and I didn’t know anybody.  I made three friends, Ron Nash, a local, Steve Kaminski, from Waupun, Wisconsin, and Dennis Jorgensen from El Cerrito, California.  I nicknamed Ron the “Ratman”, because he had a kind of rodenty look.  He didn’t mind.  We rented places together for almost a year.  I became good friends with these guys.  I didn’t really have many friends in college, outside of the Young Republicans.  That’s how I met Melody, was the YR’s.

Looking back, this was an important time in my life.  These were just regular guys, and we hung out like regular guys do.  It helped me get my head on straight.  One time we got in trouble, and it pisses me off to think about it.  We met this young Native kid, we called him the Cloud.  He was a space cadet.  He was hanging out at our place one time and the cops come and arrest us all for marijuana possession.  We didn’t smoke dope, at least Steve and Dennis and I didn’t.  But they found some pot somewhere and arrested us all.  Steve didn’t know what to do, and pled guilty, like a fool.  They actually locked him up for two weeks.

Dennis and I pled not guilty and got a lawyer.  I remember going to the law library down at the court house to look up the law.  I was very disappointed to see that it took eight volumes to print the Alaska Statutes.  Alaska had eight volumes of law?  I thought this was the last frontier, for Christ’s sake.  We got off, and that was that.  But talk about your bullshit.  I’ve never cared much for authority.  I don’t think I ever had a real authority figure in my life, except Uncle Fritz.  Maybe that’s why I’m a political libertarian.

The founders were libertarians, at least the Virginians, like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Marshall.  The list goes on.  The Puritan New Englanders were founders too, like Adams.  Adams was not a libertarian.  Far from it.  The legendary fight between Adams and Jefferson was the precursor of most political battles in this country ever since, right down to today.  We’re with Jefferson, our opponents are with Adams.

Jefferson called himself a Republican, and he won that battle.  But the descendants of Adams, modern Democrats, have been running this country for the last 100 years.  Our fight, today, is Jefferson’s fight.

Unlike Adams, Jefferson was a very cool guy.

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