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Jody Calcara


Phillipe and Jody with Jasper

photo by Jim Arnold


Jody and Sierra behind the Long Hall

Just found this in the back vault of the memory bank.

Somewhere just after the 60's turned into 70's, I changed from rock bands to adding my bass guitar and singing to Carol McComb's acoustic guitar and voice and my longtime friend Susan Reiner's guitar and voice. She was known as Lambie Suddenly San Diego was invaded by a group of people from the Bay Area, and Carol knew the instigators; being Joan Baez and Ira Sandpearl. I had heard these two talk at San Jose State where I was ensconced the year before, as the school protests against the war became more and more powerful.

In San Diego is where I first met David Harris, who had just gotten out of prison, and was ready to work on the outside again. We went to campuses and parks and Michael Ward set up a big P.A. on the back of a flatbed truck and and David would speak, and we would sing . I met hundreds of people overnight and many became lifelong friends and enemies. OK, no enemies. Neil was filming all this. Made a great movie, capturing the whole event. The centerpiece was the aircraft carrier, the Constellation which was preparing to leave port for Viet Nam. It culminated in a Joan Baez concert, (who I met on my 20th birthday) with David giving a speech in the middle. When it was over we were scooped up by the energy of this group and moved North. I ended up on the Eldridge Ranch above Palo Alto in a small cabin , and started meeting a wildly varied group of very eclectic characters, from intense politicos, to constantly smiling naked mountain people. I drove my Volkswagen van with German writing all over it down to the Institute for the Study of Non Violence and met a whole different set of cast members in the drama of trying to stop a crazy war. I met Lee Swenson, Will Kirkland, Janis Labao, Larry Casalino, Adam (Elmont) and many others.

Meetings, pot lucks, music more campus speeches and songs. I wondered how they kept their personal lives together. Wondered that about myself.

And then I'd go back up to that mountain at the top of Page Mill Road, and I would slow down and wander through the most luscious scenery and get to know Malcolm, Mary Jo, Jo, Rainbow, Judy, Casey & Karen who ran printing presses, and Michael who also played guitar and was part of the music collective downstairs at the Institute; and Bill and Leonard Garaway, who spoke of hot springs caravans and bees pollen, and Winter who had just given birth to Oak in a tree house. I couldn't believe my luck at ending up with so many incredible people at once. I soon discovered the Backlands and Purusha way back there and Rose in her cottage near the Meadow, and Mark and his Tower in the trees with Billy Bonzini's cabin hidden nearby. Paul Fox who knew Carl Sagen (God I was out of town when Sagen visited the mountain. I heard it was incredible.) and so many new amazing faces.

Then down the road a mile or so was the village of Struggle Mt. with another set of folks; Neil and Norma, Iris, Bill Giordano, Larry Falk, Jeffrey Shurtleff. There was the big fireplace in the main house and the huge dinner table, and that river stone bathtub that looked out over the valley through the trees.

I had one foot in the dreamclouds of the mountains and one in the political hotbed of the valley. Heady days, incredible starry nights. And everybody was in love or tried to be in love with everybody else, in every possible and impossible way. There was a spirituality humming in the background. Those were the early days and everybody just made it up as they went along.

And More

HEY how did you all get in my room? Billy
Scoot over. This is very trippy ...
My room is too small so I’m going to imagine us in the Long House, Mark has just cooked up huge amounts of eggs & potatoes and coffee, and we are.
I was up early and was thinking over my first few days at the Land, moving into the middle cabin next to the Front House. And I was meeting all kinds of people, and hearing rumours of people from Mars. It was narrowed down to either being a Billy Bonzini..... or a Paul Fox who I learned worked with the Mars projects. Billy, I learned was from much farther away than Mars.
So then there is Sandy asking about a Paul, and then Neil adding the Fox. Wow! And I instantly see Caprice, smiling, at the mention of her name.
I have been hoping for years that this might happen. But a written history by all of us who lived through those rare times and rarified airs .... and a gathering .......and an Email feeding frenzy to boot.
I better take a valium. No, more coffee please.
I’ve been mulling over the different eras.
For me it started in the winter of ‘71 and ‘72.
I find it hard to piece together who lived where when. At Struggle alone, it was an almost a constant changing of people living in this room or that house. Was it Purusha’s room, no once it was Bill Giordano’s, or Larry & Martha’s was Leah’s place, or Sara’s. And Larry Falk lived across the courtyard.
And the settings that you found tipis or treehouses, or remember the first time you walked back to Purusha’s Meadow and saw the Rose Cottage. My early dinners at the Cook Shack that winter made me feel that I traveled across the Prairies in a covered wagon and had finally found the Promised Land. A fire going, the blazing stars, and eating brown rice and garden vegetables with these exotic new folks who became instant friends.
I see a 2 or 3 year old Tommy crying and lost wandering into the Frontlands garden back of the Long Hall, where I was watering the sqaush and kale.
What is he now, 7 feet tall?
Or there is the similar aged Zem Zem making up songs about everything (like “Responsbilty Ice-cream”....) and entertaining & receiving standing ovations where ever she went.
I’m loving hearing how the rest of you discovered the Land and Struggle. And if you can’t remember, make something up.

Treehouse No More

Walking through the Backlands at night could be a mystical pathfinding dream, or a cold, muddy, wet, windblown nightmare; but I loved every moment of those wanderings. My night vision seemed to get
stronger the more I did it. Down this slanted path through the grass, into the deep darkness in the trees and across a tiny footbridge across the gurgling stream... Sometimes in search of a bed in a hidden cabin or smoke drenched tipi , or a dinner at some remote spot in the woods, or best yet to the treehouse.

Ah the treehouse. Winter will have to tell of its building and of Oak being born in it. I traded her my Frontlands cabin so Sandy & I could move into it. I know several high priced lawyers were involved in the negotiations. At night with the fire crackling in the stove, and fresh picked Swiss chard cooking, I would look out through the windows through the dark eaves of the surrounding forest, and see twinkling far away, the Emerald City, San Francisco.

When a big storm blew through, it became a ship tossing and turning as
the gale would lift and shake her, with us in it.

But the storm that brought her down was a very quiet one. Of falling snow. The 3rd day of 1973.

Filling the treetops and weighing down the branches, until they groaned, and broke with great tearing sounds. The silent morning became a weird chorus of falling and breaking trees, near and far. Then one of the main supporting branches under us broke and we realized it was time to abandon ship.

We stuffed backpacks and grabbed guitars and while climbing down the ladder, were showered with an avalanche as another huge part of the mighty oak broke with a shudder and roar.

We meandered out through the crazy falling forest out to the road. But Page Mill was gone. There were only snow covered hills and meadows. Everybody migrated to Struggle, and we fired up the sauna and celebrated.

Bull Tales

Once I was walking in the way back of the Backlands on a sunny late afternoon, and came out of some trees, to see a huge bull just uphill from me. He was snortin' at me and pawing, and charging! I was barefoot and I shot off downhill doing 90, then abruptly cut to my right into & through a line of trees and then flew back up the hill and away, losing him somehow. My heart didn't stop thudding for a long long time.

Another time I rode a horse up to the Ridge at sunset. I was trying riding bareback for the first time. No Cathy, not me the horse. The horse kept running then slamming on the brakes and ducking its head and throwing me for a loop. After 3 times, I finally worked it out and we rode on into the dusk in the high hills. Crested a slope and came across a scene out of some surrealistic Spanish film. There were 3 bulls in the very last ebbing light of the day and long dark sheets of gray behind the hills. One bull was on the ground, beaten. The other two were facing off and charged into each other like slow motion locomotives, and hit with a dull deep boom. The sky darkened and then they faced off again, both with a big attitudes; and they slammed into each other again. I swear they shook the ground. I watched spellbound until night closed in, and reluctantly left the bullfights to slowly pick my way down to the Frontlands pasture in the electric dark

My favorite and last one happened one morning, starting when I heard loud voices. I went out and found out a bull was stuck in the swamp. I remember Rain and I from the Front joined up with Donnalee and Kim maybe? Don't remember exactly who, (does anybody else remember this, or am I making this up?) but we got some rope and ended up wading into the swamp up to the bull who was up to his shoulders, and helpless. We worked and pulled and pushed for an hour, and finally we got him to shore, all of us exhausted and dripping. The bull walked away a few steps, then stopped. He slowly looked around at us, and said....thanks, and then wearily walked away.
And that ain't bo'shit...

Malcolm & Mary Jo's wedding.... I blew a conche shell as they approached the gathering meadow, he leading Mary Jo on a horse, looking rather Biblical. Didn't Malcolm get into some trouble later? Anyone know where Mary Jo went to? And what about David Chappel? I remember catching a ride with Bret in his very small rocket car, & as we flew down the mountain he told me about piloting choppers in Nam; me hoping we wouldn't become airborne... And Wilder..Bently?? He tuned pianos among other things.
And I'm pretty sure that throwing up peyote tea on the Land and sleeping
in Gay's dome qualifys you Neil. But Strugglites have always been part
of the Tribe in my take.
And what about Bill Garaway. and Gay? Wonder if they would want to join
in this? Billy, could you get a Hollywood crew to build a mock
Longhouse so we could have a Boogie in it?

photo by Patsy


Rough Sketch of The Land (a song written by Jody)
Who knows where any story begins
Or where the long road ends
This one begins in the middle
Of me and some of my friends
Was singing down in San Diego
With Carol & Susan, back then
When a group came down ‘gainst the Viet Nam war
Ended up joining them
There stood David Harris, & Joanie too
And an army of resisters
When the speeches were done, we joined the run
Of our new found brothers and sisters
Our new found brothers and sisters
A cold November, in ‘71
Drove up the coast in the rains
Towards a mythical ranch called
The Land In the Santa Cruz Mountains range
It was 800 acres of Heaven on Earth
Green pastures, woods, and springs
People built cabins under the trees
A Tribe of wanderlings
Gardens sprang up, a volleyball court
A tree house with wood burning stove
It was anything goes, and many things went
And up and down we drove
In the Frontlands was the big ranch house
With Judy’s and Rainbow’s song
It was Michael and me and Wags in three
Cabins overlooking the pond
Back of the Front House under big trees
The Long House…… I proclaim
That every full moon there was a party
And the music was just insane
Billy Bonzini sounded like a band
With just his voice and guitar
He sang "Rollin’ down the river" and stompted the floor
With people dancing under the stars
Now down a bit, close to the road
The Old Redwood Barn
In Leslie’s store, and Silver’s loft
You’d hear many a twisting yarn
Then heading Back, you’d pass the Swamp
With its symphony of frogs
Now the San Andreas wasn’t our fault
But it was there under water and logs
Up in the woods, a spring bubbled out
Of the roots of a big Bay tree
The purest water we ever drank
Like it came from the land of the free
Walk further back, take the trail going down
The long, tilted valley
To the cook shack …..hidden in the trees
What dinners in that Oaken galley
And you could see
Forever from The Edge of the World
And from the top of Lone Oak Hill
Blue smoke from a tipi, down in the woods
As the fog crept in with a chill
I remember the night of the cook shack fire
People yelling in the middle of the night
We grabbed shovels and shoes
Ragged fire crews, running towards the fight
We ran through the night, and were all alone
With the flames a hundred feet high
And we noticed there wasn’t a breath of wind
Oh that Holy quiet sky
Then the crowd arrived, the energy thrived
pulling burning wood from the pyre
We threw dirt with shovels
Working together We put out that fire
The days were full of golden sun
The nights full of icy stars
It was a panorama of names and faces
Beat up trucks and old cars
See Juanita, Fran, Kim and Oak
And Winter under windy skies
And Bill Garaway, when he still had a beard
And a twinkle in both his eyes
Good bye Norma, Purusha
Sierra, Leonard and Rip
We’ll always see the smile you wore
That brightened this long trip
So long. Kenne, Diane
You’re gone like a wisp o’ the Will
We’ll watch the stars again together
On the other side of the hill
The years have scattered this ragged tribe
But the memories are clear as the air
The bulldozers came and erased what they could
But the Land is still there
Who knows where any story begins
Or where the long road ends
This one is bound to continue
With all my exuberant friends
A tribe of friends
Thank God for my long lost
New found brothers and sisters…

photo by Neil

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