By Steve Joslin
On July 21, 1965, Dave Jamieson and I passed our Army physical with flying colors. We now waited for Uncle Sam to invite two overqualified Green Mountain boys to join his mandatory work program. August 18 brought us a personal invite with the words “Your approval not required.”
In the summer of 1965, The Valley had a vibrant dining and live entertainment scene. We took full advantage of the entertainment waiting for our induction date of September 28. Gallaghers had a band two, and sometimes three, nights a week. The Thunderbolts were almost the house band. I think we nearly had reserved stools that summer. One could count on seeing at least one and usually multiple friends there on every band night. As a side note, Buddy Sherman, who owned Gallaghers, eventually sold it and opened another social establishment in Bar Harbor, Maine, that I visited in 1969.
The Blue Tooth also had live bands Friday and Saturday nights. One of the bands, the Beach Combers, was from Montpelier and composed of Montpelier High School graduates. One of whom was in my class. Harry “Thumper” Columbo on drums, Ron Fielder on lead guitar, Dick Fielder on rhythm guitar, Mike Yates on bass and my classmate Jack D’Arthany on organ. Thumper tells me they also played Gallaghers at least once.
Dave and I went thru basic training together at Fort Dix and he went on to airborne training and spent the rest of his tour at Fort Bragg. I attended Morse Code school at Dix and went to Fort Gordon for radio teletype and crypto training. I finished my time in Erlangen and Neu Ulm, Germany, in an eighth self-propelled artillery battalion. We both returned to Waitsfield towards the end of September of 1967.
ORIGIN OF THE LSD
In the two years we had been gone we realized The Valley had changed and, in some avenues, we were now strangers. Gallaghers was now jam-packed with new faces and prices had gone up. We were left with no option but to open a bring-your-own-bottle location with no fees. Hence the origin of the LSD.
Billy Stearns was living in the old Riley Moulton house at the foot of Number 9 Hill on Route 17. The house was barely habitable, but Dave and I saw great potential. We were able to sublet the attic from Billy. I can’t ever recall any money changing hands. The attic had two rooms with knee walls and well-aged wallpaper and no heat. We “furnished” it with a metal cot and a double mattress on the floor along with decorations scrounged from home. here was an old ice chest leaning up against a tree outside the back door. With a partial restoration it became our bar. It now resides with me, the only remaining relic of the LSD.
The theme was mid 60s junk. Hence the name LSD, the Lousy Stinking Dump. We installed a gas space heater, source unknown. When ski season began, we would put out the word while waiting in the lift line at Mad River that there was going to be a party at the LSD that night, making sure the LSD part was audible. Fun to watch and listen to the reaction in small town Fayston to the mention of LSD. Don’t forget we had just been thru the Summer of Love and all things groovy and Timothy Leary. The reactions were worth the price of admission.
FIX THE TOILET
Plans were underway for a New Year’s Eve party. Assuming and hoping there might be some females attending we had to fix the toilet. The inner workings of the throne were inoperable, severely limiting its functionality. Remedy: Run a black plastic pipe from another pipe and put a shutoff valve on the end. Flush, turn on the valve, fill up the tank and turn off the water. All was set until the day before the party the house froze up tighter than a tick.
No water, no toilet. We tramped down a path out the back door in the snow up into the woods a way. That night when the feminine attendees asked where the toilet was, we replied just follow the path out the back door. Not one of the girls found the toilet. I do recall going to the LSD one night with a companion only to find that the attic was already occupied by a couple. As my companion and I left, I turned off the gas and the next day the other party said that we must have run out of gas. No names.
I remember one cold winter weekend night when the activities were winding down that one of the female attendees needed a ride home. She was staying at the Gerry Hilly house, the first house on the right going up Dana Hill. I had a relatively new VW Bug and offered her a ride home. I drove up the one-lane narrow and steep driveway as far as I could and saw her home. No way to turn around and idiotic to try and back down. I grabbed hold of the front bumper of the Bug and alone pulled it around until I was headed downhill. One of many reasons it was one of the best cars I ever owned.
In April we were evicted and had to empty the attic. We threw most everything out the attic window onto the ground. This included the metal cot which got caught in and bounced around in the power lines. Waiting for the fireworks we finally realized the power had been cut off. This moving chore was facilitated by a large container of Connie Jamieson’s famous Bloody Mary mix. Many memories and laughs were generated by the LSD.
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