Old friends

55 years ago I had just gotten out of the Army, and within a few months I moved in with some friends. John and Pam were newly married then, and we shared living arrangements for the next four years. Those four years were some of the wildest and craziest times of our lives.
At one point we had rented a nice house in a well-off (McLean, Virginia) neighborhood. That grew to 9 people at one point, with a pigeon coop on the roof, a goat in the backyard, and a motorcycle track around the house. That did not last long, or end well.

Our next home was a rundown little house in an industrial park, and this was a much better fit. The 3 years we spent in the Merrifield house is still a special time for all 3 of us. Much of what is considered “the Sixties” actually took place in the early 70’s. Let’s just say we were there for it, and leave it at that 🙂 I went to tractor-trailer driving school and drove an oil tanker those years, and spent much of that time building my custom motorcycle.

Our living together time came to an end when I finally realized my dream of “hitting the road” on a motorcycle. I eventually ended up in California, got married for the first time, and came back to Virginia. My new bride and I again lived with John and Pam for a few months until we bought a small house on the GI Bill.

We remained close friends and saw each other frequently for several more years, until they moved to California. Since then it has only been sporadic visits, often separated by a number of years.

Just a few days ago I flew to California (first airline travel in over a decade for me) to visit them. It is a remarkable thing to have a friendship spanning 55 years. We are all 77 now, or will be this year.

This photo matches our memories of those days, happy and faded. John, Pam and I are on the top step, the guy playing the guitar and the dark haired girl were next-door neighbors. This is at the Merrifield house


These are of our short-lived period at the “Wrightson Drive Commune”. That is me showing the goat to my sister. The nine people, pigeon coop on the roof and the motorcycle track around the house have not happened yet.


That first year John and I worked on a bridge painting crew, and this was our work truck. Later that year John, Pam and I traveled the mid-west in a truck, painting fertilizer tanks on farms in rural areas. Long hairs in rural areas in 1969 were not always welcomed, but we were (usually) at least grudgingly accepted because we were “working hippies”


Pam at our Merrifield house. It was located next to a crane company in what was becoming an industrial park. It was run down, but the times we shared there still hold magic in our memories. When we left a bulldozer knocked it down to build a warehouse.


A younger me during the Merrifield Days


John and Pam and the custom motorcycle I was building


This is me on my newly completed motorcycle in 1972.
More details on that: https://wind-drifter.com/mc/chopper.php


John and Pam on the motorcycle. They were some of the very few I allowed to ride it!


Our mutual friend Scott also had a motorcyle. His is plated with real gold. I did the paint jobs on both motorcycles. We had both bikes on display at the Rod and Custom show that year


1973 - when I finally realized my dream of getting “on the road”. This is John, Pam and I, my first wife-to-be, and our friend Tom on another bike. He had to leave us while in the Canadian Rockies to travel back home for a court date


1984 - after some years and many changes. John, Scott and I are at the left in the back row, Pam at left in front. J & P had had a son and a daughter by that time, along with kids from other friends of ours from the ‘early days’


2001 - Jean meets John and Pam on a trip we made to the west coast


2003 - Scott and John in Scott’s shop


2003 - John and Scott and I


2005 - John and Pam on a trip east


2006 - John, Scott and I and another friend from the early days. He and Pam had come East for his mother’s funeral


2024 - Just a few days ago - John and I took out his BloKarts for some play in a parking lot


John, Pam and I just a few days ago. All three of us are 77, or will be this year.