week of January 7, 2016 - Fifty Years of Justine and Susun ...

Thursday, January 07, 2016 9:36 AM | Anonymous

Fifty Years of Justine and Susun

It was very stressful living in Manhattan. Not only was I robbed repeatedly when I lived on Avenue C, our store on Avenue A was also robbed frequently. And then our brownstone home near First Avenue was raided at 6am, while I was sound asleep, by screaming police with drawn guns. Living part time in the country helped ease some of the trauma, but it wasn’t until we were safely at the farm in Delhi, at the end of a dead-end road, that Justine and I felt really safe, at home, at ease.

1967: The Psychedelicatessen: We did not serve food at the Psychedelicatessen. We were open 24 hours (well before that became the norm; in fact, not being able to purchase a candle at 3am one morning was part of the inspiration for our store) and being in the store was an acid trip. There were posters and black-lights, incense and candles, matches and lighters, pipes and papers, psychedelic art, hand-made clothing of fancy fabrics and wild designs sewn on the premises, beads and beaded necklaces, books and comics, bells and bedspreads, sacred figurines, and a few select herbs. Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Country Joe and the Fish, the Beatles, the Stones, and the Grateful Dead played in the “background.”

1969: Bandcamp road home: This house used to be a hotel. It had a full bar, and it was so big, that, even though everyone who worked at the store shared it collectively, we still had to shut off half the house in the winter to get any of it warm. The kitchen was big enough to cook for and serve a family of two dozen! It was here that we became vegetarians. The neighbor walked in, fresh from shooting and gutting a deer and still rather bloody, to offer us some nice cuts for dinner. Justine’s dad, deep into an acid trip, was grossed out, and proclaimed that no more meat would pass his lips from that day forth.   

1970: Hollister Hill Farm House: Not too small (like a Manhattan apartment) and not too big (like the Bandcamp road hotel), but just right. Everything about our home on Hollister Hill was just right.

1970: Hollister Hill Farm Barn: Even better than the house was the barn. It was a cathedral. It was a temple. It was space, confined, defined, and still set free. It was a play space. It was a safe space. And led us to a large mistake, for we were naïve in the ways of the country, and that made us, unknowingly, mean. Our nearest neighbors, a mile and a half down the road were using “our” barn to store their hay and we asked them to move it. They had to build a barn. I am still ashamed today at the expense and trouble I put them to.

~ Fifty Years of Justine and Susun, contd. ~

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