Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Grand Finale - Aftermath - The Summer of '65 Concludes

Grand Finale - Aftermath of The Long Cool Summer of '65 Revisited  

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On the day after Labor Day, when the beach and boardwalk were quiet and only a few stragglers remained, Duncan left as he came, by air.

In early June, after USMC flight school, Duncan got a leave from his unit until the day after Labor Day, when he was due to report back to his squadron. The three helicopter formation that passed along the beach every day at 3 pm, the routine Quantico to Lakewood Naval Air Station flight momentarily hovered above the beach as a rope latter let Duncan off onto the beach. With his flight helmet under one arm Duncan walked up the boardwalk and into Mack & Manco’s Pizza where Bill Brumage the pie maker tossed him a pizza that he caught, twerrelled and tossed back in perfect synchronization.

Now he was heading out with flight suit on and helmet under his arm he looked like the space man in The Day the Earth Stood Still, saying goodbyes and handing the key to his Mustang to Bill the pie maker to keep for him until he returned.

Then as he walked down the boardwalk stairs you could hear the chatter of the three choppers coming up the beach from the south, two pulling up and one coming in low, letting down a rope ladder that Duncan stepped on and grabbed a hold of and waved as he was pulled up and onto the helicopter that took off and pulled into formation behind the others. 

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So as the summer of ’65 began with the roar of motorcycles it ended with the slowly fading sounds of departing helicopters.

When they came to the crossroads people went in different directions. Bob Dylan “went electric” and took folk music and rock and roll into a new realm, taking the Hawks along with him, while Conway Twitty “went country,” Jimi left the Starliters for London, Lynda VanDevanter and Duncan went to Vietnam and Tom Snyder became a talk show host mimicked by Dan Akroid on Saturday Night Live. David Brenner became a comedian, Joe Walsh went to college in Ohio and started a new band - the James Gang and later joined the Eagles, while Stevie Nicks went with Fleetwood Mac, though she would return to Ocean City to visit her mother and grandmother on occasion.

With the money he made that summer Tido Mambo bought an Oldsmobile convertible that had been used by a contestant in the Miss America Parade on the Atlantic City boardwalk. He would stiff his band for their last week’s work at Bay Shores and then figure in another riot and arrest in Wildwood, where there was also an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Tido Mambo was last seen driving East on the Expressway in his convertible, his hair flying in the breeze, his bare feet up on the dashboard, and sitting on the back seat were a pair of Miss America’s shoes, a guitar with a parrot perched on it and a small Tom Thumb piano that came from the Anchorage Tavern.

Each character in this story would leave their mark on our culture and society, especially music.

Dylan ends his autobiographical “Chronicles – Volume One” in early 1965, shortly before he “went electric” and took off with the Hawks and he concludes on the off-beat note:

“The folk music scene had been like a paradise that I had to leave, like Adam had to leave the garden. It was just too perfect. In a few years’ time a shit storm would be unleashed. Things would begin to burn - bras, draft cards, American flags, bridges, too – everybody would be dreaming of getting it on. The national psyche would change and in a lot of ways it would resemble the Night of the Living Dead. The road out would be treacherous, and I didn’t know where it would lead but I followed it anyway. It was a strange world ahead that would unfold, a thunderhead of a world with jagged lightning edges. Many got it wrong and never did get it right. I went straight into it. It was wide open. One thing for sure, not only was it not run by God, but it wasn’t run by the devil either.”

Nor is it run by Angels.

And so it came to pass that the magical summer of ’65 went out not with a bang but a whimper, though at the time, it seemed very similar to dozens of other memorable seasons, and did not seem like a watermark year as it was happening, but now in retrospect, is it clear that a lot of critical changes happened in that small place and time and that was a crossroads where many life’s choices were made, directions changed and destinies determined.

The effects of that summer are still being felt as we are left with the unsolved and un-investigated murder of Harry Anglemeyer and the still missing nukes that hang by a thread and swing in the wind over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, and will someday come back to haunt us. 


AUTHOR'S NOTE TO READERS: This novel will be soon revamped and published as a paperback novel, as well as made into a cable TV serial and possible major motion picture. 

COMING SOON: 1969 - The Summer of Love Revisited. 

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