By Steve Joslin

The summer of 1968 saw Dave Jamieson, Adrian, “P-nut,” Ferris and I all still living at home under the watchful eye of our mothers. Dave was working for Greene Construction on I-89 in Montpelier, P-nut was working for Jan van Loon as a carpenter along with working behind the bar at the original Gallaghers. Billy Stearns was also a carpenter and I was working for Bob Harris building homes in The Valley and surrounds. All of us were anxious to expand our horizons and shed the shackles of parental oversight. Carl Long owned the Waitsfield House, corner of Main and Bridge Streets, and the Main Street floor was empty. He agreed to rent the space to the four of us for $80 per month for all of us. He forgave us two month’s rent in exchange for painting some of the rooms in the apartment. We bought the paint at Bisbee’s and I am sure Doc gave us a good deal; taking pity on four homeless youths. There was a back stairway leading from the lower garage area up to the apartment. Sometimes Carl, unannounced, would come up the stairs just to check on us. He was a good landlord.





Now to furnish the four bedrooms, living room and kitchen. None of us had any furniture. We all got small items from home, but we needed big stuff. Being lifelong Waitsfield natives, Dave and I had some knowledge of two houses in town that had not been occupied for years. We were concerned that someone would break in and steal stuff. On several nights the four of us went to these houses and having gained entrance took a quick inventory by flashlight of useful furniture which was then piled up by the door. The next nights, using Billy’s pickup truck, we quickly loaded up the goods. In full view on Main Street, we moved them in. Stealing, grand theft you say? No, we knew the items were in great risk of theft and we secured them. And to this day none of the items have been reported as stolen.


We still needed kitchen goods. Back then Waitsfield still maintained a town dump. This was before yard sales and folks left items of possible future use along the edge of the dump. A few trips to the dump and we had a pot, pans, flatware and plates.

All the parents were anxious to see where their offspring were going to live and how. We could only let one set of parents in one at a time for open house. When one parent asked where the furniture came from, we would say from the homes of the other three parents. We had the honor of receiving an Irish blessing on the new abode from Paul Moriarty with a proper toast.

We split food costs four ways and Dave and I usually did the shopping at the next door Mehuron’s Store playing toss and catch with groceries up and down the aisles. If I remember correctly, I did most of the cooking as I preferred to cook rather than wash.

Fall of 1968 brought two additional tenants, John Fulton and John Gear. Both had jobs but no place to stay. So, we sublet the living room to Fulton and the front hall to Gear. It was a big hall. We charged each of them $20 a month. This reduced our rent to $40 total for the four of us. Yankee cunning.





Thursday night was cleaning night with each of us having a portion of the common areas to clean along with our own space. It worked well most of the time. Billy lacked inspiration and usually neglected his duties. This went on for some time until the three of us became a little aggravated. One Thursday night P-nut had had enough and bounced Billy along the kitchen wall which was the common wall for Dave’s and my bedrooms. Most of the items on our dressers got knocked off but Billy became an excellent house cleaner.

At one time there were five motorcycles connected to the various occupants. A 2x10 plank was laid down from the ground on the street to an outside door going into a storage room off the kitchen. During the winter the bikes were stored there along with the kerosene to fuel our heating stoves.

The bikes eventually led P-nut to the altar. P-nut went to Connecticut in June of 1969 to attend a wedding. He happened to meet a girl named Sarah. Sometime later in the summer Sarah got a ride up to The Valley to see a friend. She was to call the friend from the Village Grocery. Her ride would not leave her alone at the grocery, seeing all the motorcycles parked up the street. In the end P-nut and friends on their cycles followed Sarah to Warren. Over the next few years Sarah returned to The Valley many times. Enough times that she and P-nut eventually married and lived in the Ghetto for a short time.

As I look back none of us really behaved any different than when we were living at home, we just didn’t have mother looking over us. I moved to Saint Johnsbury in May 1969 to start my career in insurance claims. Dave and P-nut stayed on for some time after until making their own families. The friendship was genuine, the escapades innocent and the laughter was constant.

Regarding our shenanigans at the Ghetto, the statute of limitations has expired. As age pursues the participants, we all complain that fading memories prevent us from remembering the details described above and, therefore, taking any responsibility for any of the above-mentioned events. Dave, Adrian, and I survive this treasured period of Valley life.