I don’t know how I made it home

Memories at this point are conversations you have with those within your age group who enjoy revisiting many of the times you had. The concerts we went to, the events we have seen or the places that were and no longer are. I had such a night recently where the neighbors gathered and we started reminiscing. What I found interesting is that the conversation kept the pace with the saying “I don’t know how I got home”.

Back in the early 60’s when I was a teen, it was Palisades Amusement Park, the Great Adventure Park of its time. It had the largest outdoor salt water pool and rides gallor. Being it was only 10 miles from my house and within a short bus ride, it was a fun summer thing to do. Simple pleasures for simple minds.

Then the innocent activities evolved into the more riskier pleasures. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the drinking age in New Jersey was 21 however it was 18 in New York where the PATH train from Jersey City took us to the cool, hip bars of Greenwich Village. Before driving, the mode of transportation was hitchhiking. Thumbs out, we would hitch a ride to Journal Square which saved us money in transportation and usually got us to meet cool guys. Reaching the Village, there were a few bars of choice. I still have the matchbooks to remember their names. Mostly on Bleecker Street but once I went to the Electric Circus on the more beatnicky part of town, St. Marks Place. My memory doesn’t serve me well on many occasions but I so remember what I wore that night. The outfit I thought was the coolest thing I owned was a yellow pants suit with a matching Nehru jacket and probably had bellbottoms. Can you picture it?matchbooks

I don’t know what I drank back then except to this day, I still won’t touch a rum and coke. It must have been one of those nights I don’t want to remember.

Eventually, someone got a license and a car. There was no designated driver then, just the designated buyer of the alcohol. My friends and I took a road trip once to this infamous bar that housed startup bands in Greenwood Lake, NY. It was called Mother’s. Not the one that moved to Wayne, NJ. The real one. The lake, about 45 minutes from where we lived had only a handful of bars but the place had a draw. I only went once and just recall it had multiple rooms with bands in each and lots of dancing. Rumor has it Santana played there. After the night was over, and being the most sober and least tired, I drove home while all my friends were asleep. I knew then how big that lake really is.

Fortunately, my kids have not told me of many of their escapades. Fortunately, my mother never knew of my escapades. Fortunately, we are all still alive and have learned lessons from those days. It is still fun to talk to others who defied the safe and sober path, even for just a little while, and live to reminisce  and quote the phrase “I don’t know how I made it home”.


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