Green Valley :: Starry night
While I was waiting for Art Wohl to appreciate my virtues, I made friends with a fellow staffer Stanley Newberger. He had a worldly-wise attitude, mentioned some connection with the LA Free Press, and had been a GVS student in his adolescence. Green Valley had kind of an open door policy about students returning when the world got too overwhelming for them. Their status was ambiguous -- not quite student but not quite trusted.
Anyway, Stanley was outgoing and friendly. He assembled my bicycle for me (wheels of my own!) and filled me in on a lot of GVS lore -- the early days when the staff embraced the Church of the Brotherhood and wore religious garb, with Egyptian ankhs instead of crosses.
I liked Stan a lot, but felt no romantic attraction to him. I admitted that I had lived through the Sixties without smoking marijuana. He seemed very worried about that fact, as if I'd missed an important rite of passage. My problem was not really a moralistic one. Like Bill Clinton, I couldn't inhale. Smoking anything made my lungs seize up and my allergies go wild.
Green Valley may have had many features of a Sixties commune, but it was also in the business of caring for other people's children, so illegal substances were strictly forbidden. But Stanley had no problem finding some marijuana. Sensitive to my allergies and in keeping with the organization's healthy food policy, he mixed it with honey and coconut and instructed me to ingest it after dinner, then come visit him in his room, which was a tiny space up some stairs in a building I only recall was at the other end of the campus.
I ate the disgusting mixture and walked the mile or so to Stanley's pad. I was waiting to feel groovy.
Stanley's room was a typical den of iniquity. Mattress and assorted pillows on the floor. Shrouded windows, dim lighting. Was there a candle? A black light? Incense? Ravi Shankar music? Perhaps. Anyway, the message was immediately clear. Stanley had more on his mind than my spiritual awakening.
We sat there on his mattress with the Indian print bedspread. I waited to feel high. He waited for me to lose my inhibitions. Neither occurred. I stayed for what I thought was a polite time then said goodbye. He was mystified that his formula had no affect on me.
I left his room, walked down the long flight of stairs and found the road. It was a warm Florida night. I had long gotten used to walking back to my room in the pitch black of night. I looked up. The sky was full of stars -- millions and millions of gorgeous diamond stars. I giggled. I was high. I had escaped being seduced by the wrong person and now floated back to my own little room.
Somehow Stanley lost interest in me.
Postscript: Stanley died in Los Angeles, 9 Nov 1994 — 45 years old. The birth record I found says he was born in Los Angeles, California.
I arrived at Green Valley School in Orange City Florida in February 1971. Around May, Lee Ricketts and I drove 10 kids north to the Catskills to start our own little farm adjacent to GVS' Buck Brook Farm. I left the Green Valley family, with my future husband, in August of 1972.
Green Valley was a residential program for troubled kids and a sixties-style commune for its staff.