Green Valley :: Florida days and nights
I think its odd how specific certain memories are and yet I can't remember what my job actually was. I remember meals, Lester duty and hanging out. The Orange City gig was only 4 months -- easy enough to slip by, I guess.
My brother Tom came to visit for a few days and everyone said how much alike we were, which surprised us both.
I visited St. Petersberg one Sunday with John W, one of the youth-turned-staff.
And one day I rode my bike over to Casadaga, a spiritualist community, which I thought would have more of an effect on me but didn't.
And I remember going to the beach at New Smyrna a couple of times with kids. Disney World was only a vague plan in 1971 and Orlando was a lovely little town.
I do remember one night shortly after I arrived. A couple kids pounded at the front door of the house and insisted that I drive them to the hospital. There had been an incident. Jorge and another kid had broken into the health office and stolen medication -- overdosed -- rushed off to the hospital. These boys needed to find out what was going on. Without thinking, I grabbed some keys and we rushed off. One of the kids knew the route to the hospital and navigated us through the late night Florida fog. Of course we were turned away at the hospital without being told anything.
Apparently that night another kid — Ronnie P — had called his mother and told her he would commit suicide if she didn't take him home.
The next day there was hell to pay. Every man, woman, and child on campus was gathered into a circle (by age order) in a field. George ranted at the children -- the boy who threatened his mother and the other kids who knew full well that drugs had been stolen but had preferred to watch their friends OD than narc on them. He referred to them all as "heart maggots," loyal only to death. Powerful words.
After the fire-and-brimstone staff were instructed to be "uncles and aunts" for the rest of the day -- to be especially attentive and consoling.
By the time Lee asked me to go with him to New York, I'd had enough of Florida.
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.