Friday, January 8, 2010

This Circular Life

Some background first;

One of the blogs I read, More Reverberation, had mentioned that Putney was one of her favorite places on earth. I emailed her and asked if she meant Putney, Vermont. The answer was yes. I told her that I had visited a friend who lived on a commune there about 23 years ago and it was a wonderful little town then. Kate, fellow blogger, said it had been about 10 years since she had been to Putney but it was still a wonderful place.

I didn't tell Kate about my friend Patti, the person I had gone to see. She was (and still is) a wild free spirit who had no transportation of her own. Putney was a small town in the middle of nowhere with no bus service which meant Patti hitch-hiked everywhere she needed to go.

As a result of that, she met some interesting characters. She told me about one, a man who claimed to be a writer. She asked me if I had ever heard of John Irving.

It was the 80's and I had read everything the man had written at that point. He was my favorite author. I was ready to go hitch-hike the back roads of Vermont for the next few years just on a chance that I might meet him. Patti had never heard of him.

Fast forward 20 plus years. I was reading Last Night in Twisted River, part of which is set in Putney, and I came across the sentence, "There was even a commune a few miles out of town..."

So what do you think? Do you think he remembered the free spirit he had picked up all those years ago? If nothing else, he certainly remembered the commune. How cool is that?


Brattleboro Museum & Art Center said...

Irving wouldn't necessarily have had to remember your friend in order to remember Putney's Red Clover commune. He lived here for quite a while, and the commune was a significant presence in the 60s and 70s. Here's a little background info:

Kate said...

Well, after reading the link Brattleboro has left, I'd have to agree with him. You never know, though! Maybe Patti and John bumped into each other a few times, maybe shared a cup of joe or an icecream cone at the Putney General Store? Who knows?

I love John Irving, too. Have only read three, I think, and Prayer For Owen Meaney has got to be one of the most fascinating books I've ever read! I'll have to pick up Last Night In Twisted River.

Next time I talk to my friend who lived in Putney for years, I'll ask her what she's picked up about the commune culture.. Interesting stuff. I lived in the Happy Valley for a few years in the late 80's, and I really got a kick out of the "hippies..."

So, did you mention wherever you've seen/spoke with Patti lately?

Misfit in Paradise said...

I haven't spoken to her in over a year. Last I knew she was back in Putney staying with the same people (not the commune) from 22 years ago.
The commune was different. It was minority rule (except for smoking). IE the shower head was set for the tallest person. Patti was short and she had a heck of a time getting wet.

Kate said...

I wonder if my friends know of your Patti?

'Tis a small, small world, after all!

Misfit in Paradise said...

You'll have to ask them and let me know! Patti is originally from upstate NY.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

I love John Irving. Twisted River is on my "to Read" list. And I had a good friend who lives near Putney, Vermont...We drifted apart but just today I mentioned her daughter on Facebook. Small world full of synchronicities. Nice title for your blog. Merry Meet.

Misfit in Paradise said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!