Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Thumbnail Sketches of Rochdalians
This is NOT part of the "Rochdale College" book. It's just some info about individuals to help me write a separate book that is subjective and judgmental. The "Rochdale College" book is objective and non judgmental and may contain something like this, but this is not it.
Strangely, this is by far the most popular post of mine about Rochdale College. It probably gives the impression that I am hyper-critical and insulting about saintly Rochdalians. No. This is an account of what I think and thought about the people in Rochdale whose names I can remember. Some of them I liked and many were assholes. I don't mince words. I'm not Pollyanna, and if you don't like my assessments, you can go fuck yourself! You don't have to read this, you know, because it was not written for you. In fact, I don't want you to read it.
About 100,000 people passed through Rochdale College from 1968 to 1975. Most stayed only a brief time, but a few lived in Rochdale from the beginning until the end.
Here are some thumbnail sketches of a few Rochadlians:
Dennis Lee: The author and English professor known as a "Founding Father" of Rochdale College was a kind and serious academic who left Rochdale in disgust shortly after starting it. For an author he does not write very well. His style is dense, complicated, and messy. It's not easy to read, but perhaps his very popular children's stories are more accessible. Lee claims he revises his writing as many as 100 times. He never lived in Rochdale because his homes were on Spadina Ave. and Brunswick Ave. I spent an hour talking with him in 1978 when he was writer in residence at the U of T. He told me some things about Rochdale that are in my non-fiction novel. His main point was he did not anticipate the hippies, street people, crashers, and speed freaks moving into the building.
Ed Apt: The Director of the Rochdale Sculpture Shop from 1968 to 1970 was nonexclusive, sociable, kind, helpful, lovable, but an absolute individual. He was a complete unit unto himself and needed no one. In Rochdale Ed was a handsome, intelligent, talented, energetic and charming artist with a notorious reputation as a ladies man and seducer. Ed was the first person to fuck in Rochdale and one of the first tenants to move in. His Sculpture Shop created the "Unknown Student" sculpture.
Derek Heinzerling: He was a 22 year old draft evader from Garrett, Indiana who designed the "Unknown Student" sculpture. He is a very decent, honest, and intelligent artist. However, Derek runs hot and cold. For example, he considered Rochdale to be a "dirty hole" and didn't live in Rochdale for long. His wife was Dianne Lee Coyle, the mother of his three sons who worked as a bookkeeper at Rochdale. She grew up in Indianapolis and now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Derek was from Garrett, Indiana and now lives in Albuquerque, N.M.
Judith Merril: The American-born author moved to Canada because of the Vietnam war. She was a 46 year old resource person in writing and publishing at Rochdale in 1969 and is responsible for starting the Rochdlae Library that year. Merril's name was actually Judith Josephine Grossman, but she used her pen name Merril. She was the third of five wives of Frederik Pohl, the science fiction writer. Although primarily an editor and anthologist, her own books included " Shadow on the Hearth", The Tomorrow People", and "Out of Bounds". She lived with her daughter Ann Pohl, who ran Hassle Free Clinic and also lived in Kensington Market. Merril's first apartment was on the third floor overlooking Bloor St. She always wore the same long off-white cotton dress and went barefoot. Judy Merril organized the two week long Rochdale Summer Festival titled an "Inner Space Odyssey" held in July 1969 to celebrate the opening of the Rochdale Library and Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon. The last time I saw her was after Rochdale closed at a meeting in a church hall to determine the future of the building. I didn't recognize her in conservative clothing. A few Rochdalians were swearing and I asked them to stop because of the lady present. One of them said, "That's Judy Merril." I looked at her and we smiled at each other.
Ian Argue: He was a handsome, intelligent, cheerful, much loved and respected fixture in Rochdale for most of its 7 year history. Ian lived in the 14h floor commune and worked for the college at first. I asked him why he quit, and he said there was no money in it. Nobody ever said anything bad about him, and I never heard him say anything bad about anyone else. When I sold him my stereo system in 1973, he noticed my new stereo and said, "Nice nice."
Dr. Bob Call: He was a U of T medical student in unit 1111 of Rochdale beginning in late 1969. Brothers Dave and Rick Witton were his roommates in 1971. Bob had a working class background and his friends in the building were mostly the same. He had contempt for the elite. His skinny druggie girlfriend Donna was evicted for heroin use. Doug Hutchings became one of his best friends. Bob made his own beer, disapproved of drug dealing, and was actively involved in trashing stuff during the July 30, 1974 riot. His favorite rock band was the Doors. When he became a medical doctor, he got in some trouble from Ottawa for signing passport applications for a couple of Americans who were ineligible. After the building closed Bob went on to become a psychiatrist. In the mid 1980's he was offered $15,000 by a large publishing company to write a book about Rochdale, but he turned it down. Dr. Bob Call died in 1995.
Dirty Dan McCue: He was a wonderful man who helped construct Rochdale College, was one of the first tenants, and stayed until the end. Dan was fairly tall with long red hair and a beard. Dirty Dan was his pen name for Rochdale newsletters. He had a very high profile in the building because of his public concession stands, booze cans, and habit of noisily disrupting GovCon meetings. Dan was not a drug user, but was an alcoholic. He died on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at the age of 65.
Jack the Bear: He was a jolly older man with long dark hair and a beard who was always laughing. Jack often lived on the roof terrace in the summer in an orange pup tent and wore cut off blue jean shorts. His Social Insurance card had "Jack the Bear" printed on it. Once he did a hilarious impersonation of Bill King and was ranting on about Buckminster Fuller, then Jack started roaring with laughter. He was one of the "characters" in Rochdale that included Captain Hook, Animal Dick, and Dirty Dan.
Animal Dick: Richard Barnes had a small concession stand selling a variety of things in the Rochdale lobby area in 1970. That year I sold him some candles I had made. He told me that he sold things to the Honest Ed's store, and all business transactions were strictly cash. Dick was far too old to be living in Rochdale and got his name for caring for animals. Near the end, Kim Foikus (the former Town Fool of Vancouver) and I took 2 journalists to see his apartment, and they were appalled by the stench of his place. Doug Hutchings told me that Dick moved to New Zealand to acquire an English accent. Dick was was the 3rd last person evicted from Rochdale, in late September 1975. The last time I saw him he was walking with a cane and was insultingly obnoxious to me for no reason. He died soon after. Moral: don't insult me if you want to live. Animal Dick Barnes died mid December 1986.
Laurie Peters: She was an artist who painted the entire front lobby of Rochdale College in early 1971. Laurie also painted murals in the 2nd floor lounge. She was quite business-like for an artist, intelligent, articulate, sincere, honest, easy to get along with, and attractive. Unlike most Rochdalians she did not gossip or mention others unless it was relevant. Laurie was very confident and proud of her artistic talent and accomplishments, and had no false humility. She had studied art in Mexico, where many of her murals are located.
Mary Gardinder: She was an older pretentious English woman who painted and was involved with GovCon. Mary lived next door to me in the west wing of the 11th floor in unit 1124 in 1970. She was arrogant, cold, and behaved like she was at Oxford University. Basically she was an old intolerable snob in the wrong place. However, shortly after I moved in my roommate in 1122 made a tremendous amount of loud excruciating noise with his electric guitar he didn't have a clue how to play. Very possibly Mary thought I was the noisemaker.
Jay Boldizsar: He was a nerdy looking accountant until he took his clothes off to show his great body. Jay was very important as a prominent GovCon member for years. He was very well respected, but he sucked. Jay Boldizsar was an accountant! Whenever I talked with him it was always like being with an accountant. Probably it's the same for doctors and lawyers – they're always tied to their professions. Jay Boldizsar died in 2005. His significant other was blonde beauty Patti Chilton, who worked at Neill-Wycik College. She was always happy, very sweet and friendly.
Mike Donaghy: He was an English disciple of John Lennon who ran the 14th floor commune's Rochdale Peace Centre. But he was an arrogant shit disturber, not peaceful. He moved out and returned in 1974 and moved into the 13th floor commune. The arrogance and John Lennon impersonation were gone, and he was a very fine man. I liked him very much. He told me he had met Candy Kane's sister and believed she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Candy took me to meet her sister, where her boyfriend put me in a black velvet jacket and took photographs of me. I told Michael that I considered Candy to be more beautiful than her sister, but certainly not the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. We agreed that there's no accounting for taste. One day in the 13th Floor Commune I told Mike about a spectacular vision I had in India. He was so impressed he eagerly offered me some LSD, but I wasn't interested. The last time I saw him was in 1976 at the corner of Spadina Ave. and College St. We were very happy to see each other again, but we didn't have much time to chat. Michael Donaghy died in Spain in 1980 by jumping in front of a train.
John Panter: He worked for Rochdale Security and lived in 1501 of the 15th floor commune. John was tall and thin, with long black hair and a beard. A biker type from the suburb of Scarborough, he wore all black clothing, including black underwear. He appeared on TV shows demonstrating his impressive Martial Arts expertise. At commune meetings he would offer helpful suggestions such as supplying expensive wine at parties first. When everyone was drunk, the cheap wine could be used, because nobody could tell the difference. John had some macho attitudes such as a contempt for bicycles, but he was an intelligent gentleman with intellectual interests. The fact that Cindy Lei and Nickie Ashley were his lovers speaks volumes for his character.
Nickie Ashley: She was an intelligent American who didn't seem to do much, but was always where the action was. Nickie did contribute much to the Rochdale newsletters. Her popularity was based on her good looks, pleasant personality, and the elite she associated with. Sometimes she annoyed me by making authoritative pseudo-academic statements that were absolute bullshit. Her most annoying characteristic is the habit of attempting to muzzle people who say things she disapproves of. When I first met her she was a very strong woman, but when the building was closing she seemed quite fragile. Nickie's son was Sammy.
Margot Cross: She was almost 30, a little too old and conservative to live in Rochdale. Margot was there primarily because of the building's proximity to the U of T where she worked as a librarian. Of Huguenot descent, she was originally from Edmonton where her father was a judge. She had traveled around the world and sometimes we discussed our adventures in India. Basically she was a book worm intellectual, never used drugs or alcohol, but smoked cigarettes. Margot was OK in the 15th floor commune (1508), but after it closed she was insufferable. I believe Margot tried to be sleazy, but failed and was merely cheap. She lived in the double of 1508, and a succession of young U of T students lived in the single with her. First there was Rob Higgins from Parry Sound, then Mike Wong, and finally a tall slightly overweight lover of classical music concerts.
Coco Cromwell: She was a gorgeous shapely black lady with an afro hairdo in unit 1510 of the 15th floor commune. Coco worked as a model and was having the time of her life in Rochdale. Nobody could party like Coco. I sometimes saw her in the very late hours at night alone, having a great time partying by herself. She was an inspiration. Eventually Coco's boyfriend John moved in with her, but he was rarely around. When the building closed her boyfriend was Steve.
Frank McGarret: He was a long haired man in his forties in Ashram unit 1512 in the 15th floor commune. Frank really didn't belong in Rochdale because of his age and his bourgeois baggage, but was well liked by everybody. He said, "The women in Rochdale are as beautiful as any I've ever seen." Frank first met his good friend Doug Hutchings at classes at the U of T. Doug thought Frank was an academic at first. Frank worked in the Rochdale Printing Shop for some time, but later was kept busy with construction work outside the building. When the building closed he spent much time in Mexico, inspired by my travel adventure tales I told him. He was surprised I did not travel again. Actually I did, but only for for research purposes at various international libraries. I told Frank my days of wanderlust were over. If you travel around the world, there's no point doing it again.
Susan Rogers: She was a very beautiful English lady in the Ashram of the 15th floor commune, a little too old for Rochdale, although she fitted in very well. She said that she was married with three children and sometimes her husband would drive by Rochdale and mock it. One day she simply abandoned her husband and children and moved into Rochdale. Her idea of the place was that it was strictly for having fun. She had no interest whatsoever in education, Govcon, or anything that involved work. Susan would never do anything that interfered with her pursuit of pleasure. Basically her notion of Rochdale was based on media reports and what she experienced living in the building.
Sam Field: He was the very jolly Postman for Rochdale from Parry Sound. His job was to sit in a very small room in the first floor lobby area near the rear exit and give incoming mail to residents. He was also a petty drug dealer. Although drug dealing was strictly banned in the 15th floor commune, he was able to discreetly sell marijuana with impunity from his room in the Ashram. Near the end he was passionately bitching to Margot Cross and me about the constant police raids and other unpleasant things. I told him that all Rochdalians were victimized by the fascist persecution, we didn't want to hear him bitching about it, and since he was so upset, he should shut up or move out. He quickly moved out.
Bob Johnson: He was a stereotypical hippie who looked and spoke like he was from a "Cheech and Chong" movie. Bob was exactly like Tommy Chong in appearance, behavior, and speech. Hippie slang drawled out of his mouth the same way, man. A very mellow and laid back vegetarian, he only said something negative when someone was not being mellow, laid back, and tolerant. There was always a bushell basket of organic apples in his Ashram room that Mike Randell eventually moved into. Bob was also a drug dealer in the 15th floor commune, partly because his room (1519) was beside the stairway entrance. When Bob was home both doors were left wide open for his marijuana customers. Sam Field probably benefited from the open stairway door for his pot customers as well. After the building closed Bob lived with Sam for a while, then hitched up with Zan, a red head vegetarian cook for Etherea who lived with Heather MacFarlane in 1509.
Mike Randell: He was President of Rochdale. Mike had long brown hair, was average in height, quite thin, with handsome fine features reminiscent of David Bowie. Often he wore auto mechanic overalls because he enjoyed working on his car in the basement parking garage. A former "army brat" and son of a medical doctor, he had dropped out of the U of T after one year to experience Rochdale. He was a very intelligent in-charge leader type, very respected by everybody because of his integrity, sense of humour, and charm. But his charm was often phoney, something he could turn on and off like a water tap. Mike was very democratic, and always obeyed the decisions made by the majority. Strangely, he was very conservative, more conservative than some other tenants who were almost evicted for their conservative views. Mike was a monarchist, seemed to support Canada's Conservative political party, and admired conservatives such as Henry Kissinger. Doug Hutchings thought Mike's position as President of a college was ridiculous and referred to him as "an uneducated kid". Eventually I concluded that Mike was a phoney and a swine. Mike's worst fault was that he would often bluff. Whenever he was caught in a situation where his position was proven to be wrong, he would start bullshitting, usually by obfuscating and turning everything into a joke. Some thought his tactics were charming, but I thought he was a complete phoney. In fact, I considered him almost the enemy, and wondered if his frequent absences were to visit those who were closing Rochdale. Another major fault he had was bourgeois self-righteousness – the source of his "integrity". Mike drank a lot of beer, although neighbours said he started out as a pothead. He had pot plants in his bedroom (1519) that I watered when Mike was away. We got along fairly well, but there was a gap of mistrust and disapprobation between us. Eventually I realized that Mike's courtesy to me was just part of his job as President. He resented me, because I was the authentic real thing, and Mike was a phoney arm chair revolutionary, all rhetoric with no substance or action. Mike knew a lot about Rochdale and hippyism, but it was a subject he had studied, like it was metaphysics or something. Alex MacDonald and some others were the same – they had no personal experience with Rochdale's history that they bullshitted about. Mike was an "army brat". He grew up in the army, and was in the army while I was hanging out with Beats and Hippies in Yorkville Village, Greenwich Village, and Haight-Ashbury. His "hippyism" was totally fake, out of fashion, and a sick joke. When the building closed Mike Randell instantly became a bitter Rochdale-hating Yuppie. He severely insulted and humiliated me in front of a dozen strangers at this time, and I could never forgive anyone for that. Nonetheless, Mike was an honest, decent, and very fine man.
Simon Liston: He was Yuppie trash. Formerly the President of Neill-Wycik College on the Ryerson campus, he had an easy time moving into the 15th floor commune. Mike Randell escorted him from room to room and simply said, "This is my good friend Simon who wants to move into the commune." And that was it. Simon didn't have to say a word, and was voted in. He was likable, but he completely sucked and did not belong in Rochdale. His overbearing arrogance, self importance, total lack of integrity, and bourgeois values sickened me and turned my stomach. When he cowardly moved out, he became increasingly bourgeois and unbearable. The enemy.
Alex MacDonald: More Yuppie trash from Neill-Wycik College, where he lived. He visited Rochdale to be the BOSS, always sitting high on his "throne" at GovCon meetings. Although he rented a room in the 15th floor commune, he never lived there. Nobody in the commune could stand him. He was completely bourgeois. Doug Hutchings referred to him as an "arrogant mouthy asshole". Walter Dmytrenko first lived in Rochdale with Mr. MacDonald, so Alex did live in Rochdale at one time. Alex was a motherfucking fascist egomaniac who bossed everyone around. When he tried to strangle me to death, he was banned from the commune. A few weeks later he was quoted in a newspaper saying, "Rochdale taught me how to relate to people." Some Rochdalians liked him because of his crappy b & w photos and his boring bourgeois parties that put me to sleep. He lectures about Rochdale like he was a founding father of the place. A fucking bullshitter who never shuts up, I put him in the category "Better Off Dead".
King Bill: This "ugly American" flitted in and out of Rochdale over the years to be the BOSS. He thought he had all the answers, but he didn't know the proper questions. King Bill destroyed Rochdale by gross mismanagement when he was General Manager in 1970. He turned it into a hippie drug store, so the artists and scholars moved out to be replaced by drug dealers and other trash. Bill and I never got along, I hated him, and he ripped me off for $100. Often he would tell me gossip and instruct me not to repeat it. He told me Jay Boldizsar was dealing cocaine, and not to tell anyone or it would get back to him. I don't follow orders, and I will repeat anything I wish. Bill was a destructive fascist, extremely bossy but with zero leaderrship ability. He always panicked and broke down like a little girl when there was a crisis. Now he is a drug casualty, paranoid and crazy as Hell. I put him in the category "Better Off Dead".
James Newell: He was the former Treasurer and President of Rochdale. James was confined to a wheel chair, always cheerful and polite, and very well respected in the building. He moved into 1003 on May 8, 1969. Jim moved out because he became a Christian, felt he was not progressing, and believed Rochdalians had to choose between drug dealing and Rochdale. Obviously drug dealing was the choice made. Newell moved to 204 at nearby 277 St. George St. and moved all his Rochdale furniture and curtains to his new home. He paid for the stuff, of course, and kept the same phone number.
Peyton Brien: He was a draft dodger from Tennessee who lived in the 17th floor commune. He earned his living working for maintenance and by posing nude for artists at a nearby school. Peyton seemed to pose for everything, including being a poet. Basically he was a romantic poseur, and I never took him seriously for one second. He was also an exhibitionist, wandering around the building in the nude. There was always a proud and sexy "Look at me, Mr. Body Beautiful" attitude communicated when he made eye contact with shocked observers. However, he was handsome with a perfect body, so perhaps the exhibitionism was inevitable. Of course Peyton had many good characteristics, too many to mention here. I knew him fairly well and liked him. David Lawrence was his best friend, and Marcia Whitford was his girlfriend and mother of his son Kareem.
Johnny Potter: He was a quiet and very gentle nudist in the 17th floor commune. Johnny posed nude for a nearby art school, but he was not exhibitionistic, or did not give that impression. He was a very fine idealistic but spaced-out gentleman who owned a huge marijuana plant that supplied all his drug needs. Sometimes he used pages of the Bible to roll his joints. When the building was being closed he told me his plan was to fly out the window of his bedroom with wings he would make. Instead he moved to the Rochdale Farm.
Martin Heath: He was an English projectionist who sometimes showed movies in unusual places such as the sides of large motor vehicles. Martin managed to get government grants for these projects. In Rochdale he did experiments in which "film and theatre were the principle experimental media for creating new kinds of awareness." His projects included inflatable Mobile Cinemas that toured Ontario. Martin's job was outside the building, so he was not around most of the time and socialized less than most in communes. Interestingly, he avoided the elevators and walked up 17 flights of stairs when he returned home after a hard day's work. That is reminiscent of Stan Bevington climbing up and down 18 floors in 1968 before the elevators functioned. Like most of the English in Rochdale, Martin was quite dignified and treated Rochdale like it was Oxford or Cambridge University.
Charlotte von Bezold: She was the college's librarian, and lived in the 17th floor commune. Charlotte was vegetarian, spiritual in a Buddhist way with short cropped hair, but she didn't seem to know herself very well and could be erratic. Maybe it was the dope. She was once very nasty with me, but I recall at a GovCon meeting in the library that Charlotte was sitting at her desk and gently asked, "Why are you arguing? Why can't we all just live in peace and love one another?" That's what she was like sometimes: rhetoric of peace, but hypocritical hostility on her part. Her gay brother was Ernest von Bezold, and he also lived in Rochdale.
Syd Stern: He was a former prison inmate who learned about Rochdale in the newspapers while behind bars. Syd was among the worst things that ever happened to Rochdale. For starters, he was far too old to be there and looked at least 60. He took too many drugs and tried to act hip, but he just looked silly in his garish teeny bopper clothes. Syd not only sold drugs in great quantities himself in the 14th floor commune, he also ran a drug franchise that supplied other dealers throughout the buiding with pot, hash, and LSD. His age and criminal record were bad enough, but he was very involved with Rochdale, using underhanded subversive methods trying to be a destructive BOSS. The presence of an old ex-convict selling illegal drugs on a grand scale, and actively controlling the society of young people in Rochdale was very destructive. He told me that he came to Rochdale for the "Free Education" that it had advertised. Syd foolishly believed that "Free Education" also included free rent, food, and drugs. He also said that he did not pay rent or sell drugs the first year he was in Rochdale, and therefore it made his subsequent criminal drug dealing acceptable. His many drug induced fantasy schemes included "The Grand Banks of Rochdale", but none of them ever came to fruition. He ran for political office with the slogan, "Stern today, stoned tomorrow". Primarily because of his drug dealing, Syd had his supporters in the building. But most wanted him evicted, although all efforts were unsuccessful.
Ruth King: She was a teeny bopper who was Syd Stern's girlfriend in the 14th floor commune. They had a baby named True, but it was adopted out. Syd Stern, who had a plan to start a "Rochdale Baby Farm", adopted out his own baby. Ruth was a nice woman, and she told me she would have lived with Syd even if he was not a famous drug dealer. I could not comprehend her respect for him. When the building closed she lived at 95 Madison Ave. in a fairly large low rise apartment building a few blocks north of Rochdale. Syd Stern, True, and other Rochdalians lived there. David Lawrence babysat True. By the late 1980's Ruth had become a cook with a new boyfriend and imagined she was a Yuppie.
Jane Barnett: She was a very energetic woman in the 13th floor commune with a girl baby named Ceilidh. Jane came from an Ontario hick town but had squatted in London, England. She was quite macho and loved to give unsolicited advice. Once in a hallway she spoke to me and started lecturing me on my love life. I stopped her and said, "Listen stranger, you're not Ann Landers. I didn't ask for your advice on anything, so back off and mind your own business." She told me that she was appalled to discover one of the ingredients of her tooth paste was sugar. I recall dancing with her and she had more energy than any dancing partner I ever had. Coco Cromwell was a close second in the energy department. Jane evidently had a bad habit of destroying the relations of her friends. For example, both Doug Hutchings and King Bill blame Jane for losing Patsy Hutchings. Jane was a very strong dominant macho woman and a hick, and I do believe she influenced her friends (and anyone else she could) far too much, including choosing their friends for them.
Walter Dmytrenko: He was an intellectual from Winnipeg who never hesitated to lecture and advise others. Walter first lived with Alex MacDonald in Rochdale and eventually moved into the dogmatic 13th Floor Commune. He was a self assured media type with a beard, and thick lensed eyeglasses. Before the building closed he moved into the co-op "House of Swine" of Rochdalian elite at 243 Albany Ave. with Jay Boldizsar, Mike Randell, Kevin O'Leary, and other bourgeois elitists who were too cowardly to be evicted. After he married he told me he was disappointed I did not attend his wedding. Then he moved to California, where he is now quite mellow and overly tolerant of motherfucking assholes. Walter is an easy-going diplomat, and he was perfect as President of the Toad Lane Tenants Association.
Art Jacobs: He was an American who worked for the Alternative Press Center on the 6th floor and lived in the 13th floor commune. Art was a decent but dogmatic man I first met at Karma Food Co-op. We were friends until I asked to use his typewriter. He wanted to know what I was writing. Because he disapproved of it, he refused to loan his typewriter to me. I believe this was because of a sleazy scumbag named Jerry who was a bad influence on Art. He was a cynical beneficiary of Rochdale's so-called "Golden Age". When the money dried up Jerry departed, and proudly boasted that he stole expensive office items from the nearby O.I.S.E. building. FUCK YOU Art Jacobs! You are a narrow-minded fascist who had the nerve to work for the so-called "Alternative Press Center". It was typical of a dogmatic asshole in the 13th floor commune to ask what I would write if I loaned a typewriter. Nobody else would be that nosey and arrogant. The entire 13th floor commune belonged in the U.S.S.R.
Henry Polard: He was a short overweight blond American Jew living in the 12th floor commune. Henry was trying for a second time to obtain a PhD from the U of T. He was a happy and generous man who liked to eat. For example, I once peeled many apples, and Henry ate all the peels. He helped me buy and move a lot of antique furniture into the 15th floor commune lounge, which was typical of his generosity and helpfulness.
Eyre Dan: He was an elderly retired Anglican priest in the 12th floor commune. It's very easy to describe him. He attended the Embassy Ball on the 15th floor on December 4, 1973 dressed in a white suit as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Eyre Dan was not merely a look-alike, he was Colonel Sanders! Otherwise Eyre was exactly what you would expect from a retired Anglican priest living in a commune in Rochdale: friendly, kind, gentle, humble, and helpful.
Joachim (Kim) Foikus: He was famous for receiving a $3,500 Canada Council grant in 1968 to be Vancouver's Town Fool. Kim wore a jester’s cap and bells, and strolled around warning of impending nuclear destruction at anti-war demonstrations. Vancouver’s Town Fool gave rides in the downtown area to anyone who asked in his wooden wagon, pulled by two donkeys named Peter and Pan. His court jester antics were so successful that he was even profiled in the New York Times. Kim used the last $500 of his grant to throw a Gala Party in Gastown for Skid Road residents. He took part in the July 1969 Rochdale Summer Festival. Kim was my partner in MY EdCon space in 602 on the 6th floor to grow vegetables indoors. However, Kim Foikus moved into the educational space and completely took it over. He installed many artificial lights for the plants, mostly supplied by Art Jacobs, who had educational space down the hall. "Vegetable" was a great success, filled with all types of edible plants. But there was no room for me or my plants. We remained friends but my educational space had been usurped by Kim, who made it very clear whenever I visited that I was not needed and not wanted in "Vegetable". I simply continued growing plants in the storage room in the 15th floor Commune's 16th floor Ashram. The last time I saw him was on the evening of December 3, 1977 at the last 15th floor Embassy Ball. I was working the lights for the live blues band, and when I looked down, Kim was lying on his back on the floor beside me laughing and moving his legs in the air like he was rapidly pedaling a bicycle.
Brian Grieveson: He was a writer and publisher with EdCon space for his Charasee Press on the 6th floor. Brian was a born writer and independent publisher from Hamilton, where he was involved with the small hippie scene there centered at the Black Swan Coffeehouse. He also traveled around the world and wrote about it. Unfortunately, he cannot write very well and has a "Fun with Dick and Jane" style. Brian had long red hair and a beard, was a druggie and alcoholic, and imagined he was hippie but was not. In fact Brian cannot spell "hippie" correctly. The "hippy" he uses means having too much flesh in the hips. Brian was very sleazy and crashed for free in EdCon space where he was a drug dealer. He ripped me off for $200 in Rochdale. Unfortunately, we worked on a few projects together. Although he was nominally a writer, he never ever contributed to Rochdale College, not a single entry for the Tuesdaily or anything else.
Jim Washington: He was a black American from Chicago who lived in the 15th floor commune. Jim also had educational space for his inventions, such as a bicycle shaped like a long and thin car. He was head of "The People's Institute of Aviation" with the goal "to produce and develop ultra-light aircraft for the needs of the third world forces." Jim also invented a "Single-Seat Mosquito Gyrocopter", "Single-Seat Phantom Mosquito Helicopter", a "Rigid Backback", "Trackseat Advanced Electrically-Powered Whelchair", "Remotely Piloted Vehicles", and "Manned Ultra-Light Insurgent Vehicles". Jim and his neighbour Brian Grieveson hated each other for some reason, and Brian wrote about Jim in one of his novels. He named him "Washington" and claimed he ripped off some customers for a lot of money in a drug deal. Brian was infinitely sleazier than Jim, and ripped people off (including me) so his criticism is bullshit. I believe Jim was a decent and ethical man, although Margot Cross once said, "Jim is sometimes less than honest." Jim told me that he had been approached in Rochdale by an undercover CIA agent to become an informer. But Jim hated his birthplace, and said he would use his air pilot skills for Canada, but never for the USA. At a meeting of the 15th floor commune, Susan Rogers complained that Jim, her former boyfriend, had been swinging out a 16th floor window on a rope in front of her 15th floor bedroom window.
Reg Hartt: He was a projectionist who showed Hollywood entertainment in the 2nd floor lounge for 5 years beginning in 1970. He doesn't belong here because he did not live in Rochdale, and he announced at a GovCon meeting that he is gay. These 2 items disqualify him from being a Rochdalian. Reg was an eccentric short haired capitalist entrepreneur who used the pretentious title "Director of Cinema Studies". There were no studies, it was just a place for him to earn a living showing old movies on a small screen to a captive audience who paid overpriced admissions to sit on a dirty floor. Mr. Hartt often gave rambling monologues before the films. He never talked about films. A typical monologue was about his reverse swastika ring and the reaction it got from Jews. He seemed to be a nice guy, but bullshitted far too much--and seemed to believe his own bullshit. Before screenings he kicked people out of their lounge who would not pay up. Joel Scott of Toad Lane Tenants Association and others hated him for this. Alex MacDonald of GovCon charged him with "Gross capitalism". When hard core porn became somewhat legal in the USA, Reg showed four porn films: "Deep Throat", "Behind the Green Door", "Bijou", and "Boys in the Sand". The last two were gay, although Rochdale was extremely homophobic. Reg also showed films elsewhere, such as the U of T and the "Hall", an unheated barn-like old building a mile south of Rochdale. His other claim to fame is that Reg has plastered more ad posters on Toronto lampposts than anyone else in the entire history of Toronto. These illegal posters are self-promotional, and he would be completely unknown without them.
Francisco Velez: He was a large featured South American who was once a policeman in Uruguay. Rochdale was overwhelmingly WASPY, and he was treated like a special exotic caricature. Typically residents would call to him "Francisco" with a Spanish accent borrowed from a TV show when he appeared, and he would smile. Francisco worked for Rochdale Security, then maintenance.
Shirley Claydon: She was a very happy and bubbly strawberry blonde vegetarian from Thunder Bay, where her father owned a large construction company. So she had money and a classic 1964 blue Thunderbird car, known as a Flair Bird. Shirley was sociable in the 15th floor commune and to some extent in the building, but did not get involved much with the college. Like many people from hick towns, she had some contempt for Toronto, especially the artistic scene. It was probably a defense mechanism to compensate for being from the sticks. She was in Rochdale strictly to have fun, and like most did not contribute much. Eventually she hitched up with John Taylor when he moved in.
John Taylor: He was from Parry Sound and was a husky, very happy man who lived in the 15th floor commune Ashram. John was a perfect match for Shirley Claydon. He became very good friends with Simon Liston and for a while they worked in construction together. Shirley, John Taylor, and Simon eventually moved out of the commune and lived together in a nearby house. Shirley always wanted to be in show biz, and a few years later she and John Taylor became entertainers and performers before they broke up. Then Shirley Anne Claydon became a prominent film editor and now lives in Vancouver.
Joel Scott: He was from the suburbs and moved into the 15th floor commune. Joel was somewhat overweight, a vegetarian, and had very long brown hair. His fingernails were very long. And his toenails were also very long. You could say he was eccentric. Joel had an overblown unrealistic opinion of himself and his accomplishments. He was basically an arm chair revolutionary too lazy to get out of the chair. Joel had a position with the Toad Lane Tenants Association, and sat behind a desk in an office on the second floor. There were no visitors because nobody was interested. The entire scenario was simply useless window dressing. Dawn Golden was his roommate. For some strange reason Joel was reluctant to allow any new members to move into the commune at a time when there were vacancies. When Farouk Yourossie from Afghanistan was attempting to move in, I had to argue with Joel for 10 minutes to accept Farouk. At one commune meeting Joel was giving another applicant a hard time. I said, "Joel, if everybody was a roadblock like you are, you would not have been allowed to move in here. Why do you give every applicant a hard time?" Joel became angry and said, "That's not true. Just name one person I tried to block." I replied, "Farouk. I had to argue with you for ten fucking minutes to allow him in." Joel completely denied this about his friend Farouk. However, Cindy Lei corroborated my version and Farouk never spoke to Joel again.
Doug Hutchings: He was a very educated tall and handsome man from Calgary, although he lived in NYC for some time. Doug also spent much time in the Caribbean. His wife was Patsy, a delightful small black lady from Alabama originally, and they had one child named Georgia. Doug was truthful, honest, and spoke his mind. He did not hesitate to talk about racialism and race relations, and this got him branded as a "racist" by some in the building, including Nickie Ashley. Unbelievable. Doug's favorite musician was Stevie Wonder, and Dr. Bob Call was one of his best friends. His only real fault was sleepwalking in the nude throughout the building, including the lobby entrance. Doug said that when he and Patsy flew from NYC to Toronto, he explained his situation to an airport official who suggested he go to Rochdale. He had never heard of it, but moved in right away. Georgia was born in Rochdale around the same time as Kareem. When the building closed Doug became a social worker and lived in Neill-Wycic College for a while. But motherfuckers Bob Allen and Alex MacDonald had him evicted from Neill-Wycik for no valid reason. They just didn't like him and they were both fascist assholes who treated many people the same way.
Patsy Hutchings: She was a small and thin black lady married to Doug Hutchings. Georgia was her baby girl, born about the same time as Kareem. Patsy was the sweetest person you could ever meet, loved by everyone. She had only one kidney. Eventually she left Doug for Bill King. Then she left Bill. Both Doug and Bill blamed Jane Barnett for losing Patsy. This allegation was insulting to Patsy, because she was nobody's puppet. However, I do believe Jane did influence Patsy regarding Doug and Bill. Jane was too fucking "influential" because of her dominant macho personality. Once after the building closed I visited Jane and Patsy at their home on Brunswick Ave. and Patsy had something in her eye. Because I had first aid training I quickly removed it for her. Patsy was very grateful and impressed with my bedside manner. The last time I saw her she was coming out of Grossman's Tavern on Spadina Ave. with Susan Rogers. Patsy was very happy to see me, but Susan was in a rush to go somewhere so we didn't have much time to chat.
Cathy/Catherine/Kate: She was a nurse from Montreal who kept changing her name. Like most nurses she was a chain-smoker. Bill Granger brought her from Montreal to live in the 15th floor commune. She should have stayed in Montreal because she was a horrible bitch, very obnoxious and hyper-critical. For some inexplicable reason she hated me intensely and did not respect the pecking order of the commune. She just parachuted into the commune and felt she was equal or superior to everyone else, whereas in fact she was merely an unwelcome guest, an outcast not even part of the pecking order. Over the years motherfucking Bill Granger constantly sent me to her for various reasons, and she abused me very much with insults and criticisms. I put her in the category "Better Off Dead".
Rochdale Security: It was originally headed by Ed Walsh, then Billy Littler until 1972. Musician Rudy Hierk became head of Rochdale Security in 1972. Rochdale Security was a maximum of 20 guards and over the years dozens of men worked full or part time for Security. The guards included: Ed Walsh, Billy Littler, Funk, Zip, Tuck, Don Ferguson, Mike Vance, Mike Franklin, Prince, Charlie, Charlie Taylor, Bear, Mickey Russell, Francisco, Alaska, Tommy Howison, Dave Marco, Little John, Samson, Rod Humel, Al Masy, Jeff "Shades" Snider, David Bond, Bob Naismith, Alaska, Mark "Slim" Smith, Tony Zenker, Tom Houston, Larry Claypool, John Panter, and Army.
Peter Young: He was a bright young man who moved from the 14th floor commune to the 15th floor. He was originally from Hamilton, and had a good job at the U of T despite his limited formal education. Peter owned a house. He had short dark hair and in Yorkville Village he would have definitely been considered a "greaser". However, at one time he had long hair. Peter was easy-going, quite popular, and always wore brown Mexican huaraches. He was one of the very last tenants evicted from Rochdale. When the building closed he moved to a house at 138 Albany Ave. bought by a few people from the 15th floor commune.
Candy Kane: She was an attractive teeny bopper from Winnipeg with beautiful very long raven black hair. Before Rochdale she lived in an institutional group home for problem children. I first noticed her on the 16th floor, where she lived with David Lawrence, and she was wearing fishnet nylon stockings that made her look like a sexy hooker. She was drug crazed, not very clean, promiscuous, and sold drugs. Candy sometimes worked in the cafeteria and sold comic books in the lobby. Eventually I became friends with her and she would visit me in my bedroom. One time she removed all her clothes and displayed her large very droopy breasts. She seemed to imagine I was turned on by her, which was certainly not the case. Candy bared her perfect teeth that were horribly discolored by smoking, drinking coffee, and lack of dental hygiene. They were actually greenish. She thought I was in love with her, saw only a fantasy image, and wanted to bring me to my senses with the reality of her defects. This was not necessary! Candy wanted me to loan her thousands of dollars to buy some hashish to sell. I told her I did not use drugs, strongly disapproved of drug dealing in Rochdale, and could not help her. It was like talking to a wall, and she did not understand. She said, "I never get close to anyone until we've taken an acid trip together." I asked her to leave so I could have a nap. Candy was the 2nd last person to be evicted from Rochdale, in late September 1975.
Dave Lawrence: He was a U of T student drop out who lived on the 16th floor with Candy Kane and a gray Benji-type dog. Peyton Brien was his best friend. Dave was a teeny bopper from the hick town of Grimsby. He and Candy sold drugs as part of Syd Stern's drug franchise. Basically he was a parrot with intellectual pretensions and an excellent memory but absolutely no originality. David was very serious and never got my humour. Sometimes I put him on, but he never got it. He was a great listener, but very boring because he sucked and everything he said was someone else's idea that he had memorized. But at least he quoted and acknowledged his sources. He often said, "I'm not living here for social reasons." David never explained why he was there, and his involvement as the college printer and attendance at Govcon meetings made his statement perplexing. However, David was the complete student, and his reason for living in Rochdale was to study how to be a hippie. He failed. David Lawrence was the very last person evicted from Rochdale College in late September 1975. I was friends with David for 15 years, and in all that time he was "giving up smoking". Eventually he blossomed into an unbearable and incompetent psychiatrist.
Kevin O'Leary: He was a very ambitious, overbearing, and arrogant asshole who was the most parasitic egomaniac in Rochdale history. Kevin never paid rent and obtained over $10,000 from Rochdale College for a video studio that never taped any footage of Rochdale whatsoever. He also bought a "Boogie Bus" with Rochdale money that was basically his vehicle. Rochdale was just something for him to use, to further his ambition. His very bossy elitist personality made him unbearable. At Govcon meetings he tended to be unctuous and I could always smell his unconvincing bullshit wherever he was, and still wonder if he is theoretically capable of truthfulness. I cannot recall anytime when he was honest. Basically he was a bullshitter politician. The enemy within. When I first met Kevin in 1973 he interrogated me for 5 minutes, obviously concluded I was vastly inferior to him, and thereafter treated me like shit. Then one day the Greenies would not let him in the building. He saw me waiting for the elevator and asked me to vouch for him. I told the Greenies, "Kevin is my buddy." They let him enter Rochdale after that because I supported him. I doubt if Kevin would have done the same for me or anybody. Shortly after the building closed Kevin ran for School Trustee in the area near Rochdale. ALL the countless people who helped in his campaign were Rochdalians, but there was no mention whatsoever of Rochdale in his campaign literature--only his pathetic Mickey Mouse Club credentials. That's what Kevin was like: dishonest. His only good feature was he looked very much like the head of maintenance, Brian Lumley.
Cindy Lei: She was an American of Chinese descent who moved into Rochdale College in 1972. Cindy took the minutes at both the Govcon and Edcon meetings. The Govcon meetings were much larger and Cindy was kept very busy writing everything down and she was also Treasurer. At the Edcon meetings she basically was in charge, and made sure the meetings went smoothly and efficiently. It was a friendly and casual atmosphere, but Cindy kept order and it was almost business like. She organized the Summer Solstice Fair on the front patio in 1973 and many other things. Cindy also taught modern dance. Basically this intelligent, idealistic, honest, and very helpful marvel worked herself to death to save Rochdale College. She died by her own hand in 1975. Cindy was the most impressive person I ever had the pleasure to know in Rochdale.
Nicky Morrison: She was a founder of the original 14th floor commune and lived in Rochdale for most of its 7 year history. I saw her countless times, met her, spoke to her quite a few times, but I didn't really know her well. Nobody gossiped about her, because she was so well respected by everybody there was nothing to say. Of course she was "nice", intelligent, pleasant, friendly, cheerful and helpful. But Nicky must be quite modest and humble, because she never had a high profile in the building, although she was one of the very finest members of Rochdale College. Her son was Brendan, Rochdale's first baby.
Crazy Mike: He was a straight looking creep with short hair who lived in 1611 in early 1970. His wife, whom he abused and beat, worked and he did not. Why was he called "Crazy"? Here's one example: I lived down the hall in 1607. One night he visited me and created a mannequin dummy by stuffing newspaper in clothes. Crazy Mike tied a long rope to this dummy and tossed it out the window. For half an hour he pulled this dummy up and down the front of Rochdale, to the shock and horror of the many tenants who saw what they thought was a human go past their windows. Fast forward to 1974. King Bill brought Crazy Mike to the 15th floor commune to apply for membership. Mike had not changed at all in any way. He made the rounds of the commune to meet everybody. One of my fellow communards visited me and asked if I approved of him. I said that I would abstain from voting, but would explain his personality and behavior, which would certainly result in him being rejected. Crazy Mike disappeared. Good riddance!
Don Holyoak: He was a Gay 17 year old ward of the Children’s Aid Society who briefly lived in Rochdale in 1969 in the 6th floor Ashram. This egocentric "problem child" had a shock of long curly blond hair and always wore nothing but bell bottom blue jeans pulled down to show the crack of his ass. For a teeny boppper he was a fairly good dancer, which he did publicly fairly often. His style was free-form and amateurish, giving the impression of a homo-erotic dancing satyr. Don rarely spoke and was quite distant, but sometimes whispered to his close friends. His trade-mark call was an effeminate "Yoo Hoo!". He often said this and waved when elevator doors opened on the floor he was on. It translates as: "I'm Gay. Are you Gay?" Don was definitely Gay, and you did not need Gaydar to notice it. He lived in Rochdale briefly, then moved out when his financial support from the Children’s Aid Society ended. Here's what Don really thought about Rochdale College: "By early 1970, however, the college became overrun with hapless hippies with no direction and a posse of local drug dealers anxious to feed the pot and acid heads in attendance. At this juncture, from a creative standpoint, the college began to falter. The artists and scholars packed their bags and moved on--and the depraved prevailed--amidst cries of outrage from neighbors, politicans, and law enforcement (until they were eventually locked out)." Don changed his name to Julian Ayrs and became a vain, self-important, two-faced phoney. He's just an old hysterical "Screaming Queen" now, seemingly suffering from HIV dementia. Julian Ayrs has libeled me on the internet in the most vicious way imaginable in a trashy illiterate blog. Among the dozens of insults are: "liar", "all the intelligence of a slug", and "despicable human being". Prissy cocksucker Don is apparently too stupid to realize that it is suicidal to fuck with a wolf. I enjoyed destroying the evil effeminate creep in my novel "A Wolf Among Sheep". He would be better off dead. I will celebrate his death.
Dawn Golden: She was about 18, thin, with long brown hair, a bad case of acne, and she lived in the 15th floor commune. Dawn got her name from her Rosicrucian father who worked as a doorman at an exclusive downtown private club. He raised Dawn by giving her hashish that patrons at his job gave to him as tips. Dawn was more than a little crazy. One day she suddenly hugged me in the commune hallway and said, "I love you so much." When I related this incident to Casey Eaton, he was envious because he was attracted to her youth and lovely body. But I was turned off by her acne, forwardness, and madness. She lived with Joel Scott in my former unit in 1503.
Marcia Whitford: She was a teeny bopper from California, girlfriend to Peyton Brien in the 17th floor commune, and they had a baby boy named Kareem. Marcia lived in the building for a few years. She had a beautiful body and very long red hair framing an angular face that had a perpetual smirk of hip smugness on it. She imagined she was the Queen of the Underground, the hippest person on Earth, but worked for Rochdale maintenance as a "charwoman". Even when not working she was constantly sweeping the floor. Marcia was a kleptomaniac, and confused criminal activity with hippyism and revolution. She was the worst gossip monger in the building, always malicious, cruel and evil. I knew how to deal with gossip mongers and simply "put her on" as we said in the 1960's. I told her outrageous lies and she never got it, or the humour, but gossiped about the bullshit, which always came back to me. I just laughed. A complete druggie, Marcia once said,"I take acid regularly. It's very healthy, because it clears the cobwebs out of my brain." I imagined her vacuous and cavernous empty head festooned with cobwebs. Listening to Marcia babble on about her idiotic ideas made me dizzy. She was always gossiping about the sex lives of others. Her son Kareem was a lovely boy, and I used to watch him crawl along the floor at all-night parties to find bottles of beer to drink. Less than three years old, and he was already on the road to alcoholism. When the building closed Marcia made a strong death threat to me. It was because I had the misfortune to witness one of her unspeakable crimes. Marcia also had me stalked for several years by a gang of druggie criminals. Two of them hit me with their cars. If you are reading this Marcia, know this: Your crimes have been thoroughly documented in one of my books that will eventually be published. Think of it as a time bomb that will definitely and inevitably destroy you. Furthermore, there is a detailed written account of your crimes, a song recorded about your crimes, and a music video of the song. All three of these I can upload to the internet in a few minutes any time I wish. So don't fuck with me, Marcia Shitword, because your reputation is entirely in my hands. If I were you I would return to the USA immediately and go into hiding.
Chuck Cassity: He was a tall husky American who was once in the US Navy. He worked as a typesetter and was quite knowlegeable about things I tried to forget, such as office and factory bullshit. I could just ask him about something and he would give me a good explanation. Chuck was a Communist, probably the armchair variety. For a while he was Nickie Ashley's boyfriend. I always suspected Chuck to be a closeted gay because he had gay mannerisms sometimes.
Jocelyne Rouillard: She was a French Canadian woman who lived in Rochdale briefly, then moved to the Rochdale Farm. Jocelyne had a good reputation and was well respected. I first met her at the Rochdale farm where she lived in a small dome she had constructed. She was practical, friendly, pleasant, easy going, but there was absolutely nothing Rochdalian about her. Jocelyne was a hick. Nothing else. She had no humility, and tended to be very self-righteous. Jocelyne was a complete asshole with me twice, which included an attempt to seriously damage my reputation. That was suicidal for the country bumpkin, but she's too easy a target for any cheap shots at this time.
Stan Bevington: He was a typesetter Dennis Lee talked into moving into Rochdale in 1968. Stan was one of the first tenants, and had to walk up and down 18 flights of stairs because the elevators did not work. He was a "resource person" which meant reduced rent and a modest salary. His Coach House Press, a large garage rented from Dennis Lee, was just down the laneway behind Rochdale. The garage was not and never was a "Coach House". He had long hair and took drugs. It's no secret because he has published this information. I recall being on an elevator in March 1970 and someone wondered aloud if the mescaline going around could be smoked. Stan smiled and assured him that it definitely gave a high when smoked. He was part of the mass exodus of scholars and artists from Rochdale in 1970 when the money ran out. Like Dennis Lee he says virtually nothing about Rochdale now, and obviously hates what it evolved into (no money for Bevington). And like Dennis Lee, typesetter Stan Bevington is a member of the Order of Canada. Actually Dennis Lee is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This sucks! I have complete contempt for both of them because of it. Basically Stan benefited greatly from Rochdale, but turned his back on it when the money ran out. It wasn't the hippies or drugs, because he took drugs himself and fellow "resource person" Ed Apt remembers him well and says, "He was a hippie." Stan Bevington's Coach House Press printed the Rochdale College diplomas, and they were done by David Lawrence the last few years. Stan said, "Diplomas and degrees became a major source of income for the educational part of Rochdale. We must have printed up about a thousand. They were hand-made and hard to do. We made them that way because I deliberately didn't want just anybody to crank them out on a photocopier. I actually wanted the degree to be worth something, and I think now it has pretty good collectable value." When the building closed in 1975 he smashed the diploma printing plates and told David Lawrence, who printed them, that he would not "flog a dead horse." Hippie Stan Bevington turned his back on Rochdale in 1970. It does not matter to him that Coach House Press would never have existed without Rochdale. Basically Rochdale was a source of money for Coach House, and when the money dried up Bevington left. Coach House is a small press that publishes whatever books they want. Money comes mostly from government grants. The Canada Council, and annual funding from the provincial government (Ontario Arts Council, etc.) has kept it alive. Coach House Press is a government subsidized charity for obscure books that nobody wants to read. It sucks and Stan Bevington sucks. I asked him some questions about Rochdale for research purposes, but he conveniently couldn't remember anything whatsoever. That bullshit sucks. Bevington is a publisher and is supposed to be supportive and helpful regarding historical research. He is not. He sucks! Bevington in my opinion is a complete failure.
Michael McLachlan: He was a lawyer living in the west wing of the 15th floor. Michael became the 15th floor commune's lawyer. During the eviction process, when our commune went to court Michael unexpectedly chose me to go on the witness stand to represent the commune. He should have let me know in advance, because it was an unpleasant surprise for me. Michael was a cheerful and helpful professional who signed one of my passport applications. When the building closed he moved to 243 Albany Ave. with Jay Boldizsar, Mike Randell, Kevin O'Leary, Walter Dmytrenko, and others.
Fergie: He was an ex-convict similar to Syd Stern but younger, tough, and aggressive. His name was Donald Fergusson. Fergie was quite well known in the building, but most Rochdalians wanted him evicted. Nickie Ashley summed him up perfectly: he was a thug. Fergie once smashed my head against a window repeatedly for no reason other than he was high on cocaine. Sandra Littler eventually became his girlfriend. She was a good looking blonde and I couldn't understand what she saw in him. He had a small dick and no intelligence, conscience, or morality.
Mike Sandberg: He was an intellectual with dark long hair, a beard, and eyeglasses from NYC who lived in Rochdale from 1969. His best friend was Walt Huston and he lived in the 14th floor commune for some time. He was quite impressive intellectually, but Mike was a basket case when trying to function in the real world. Like many Rochdalians he had a spaced-out personality and his feet were not on the ground. When the building closed we lived in a house together with Dan McCue. Mike removed all the plaster from his bedroom walls to expose the bare brick, but just left the plaster in a huge pile in the center of his small room. After I moved out he ordered many huge containers of mineral water and charged it to my account. The water was stored in motherfucking Bob Allen's living room. This was crime, not Rochdale sleaze. It is one of the reasons I despise both Bob and Mike.
Walt Huston: He was an overweight sleaze who ran a refreshment stand to sell over-priced beer and wine on the 17th floor roof terrace in the summer. For Walt sleaze was obviously the ultimate virtue. You could never find anyone sleazier than Walt. He had a sense of humour about it and would wake people up in the morning screaming, "Ice cold Heinekins at outrageous prices!" Walt did not use drugs and was usually lying on his hammock in the nude. The 17th floor roof was very popular in the summer with Rochdalians and outsiders alike. It was a quiet oasis for nude sunbathing with a small wading pool for children. Supposedly Walt also made a living by collecting empty beer bottles in the building.
Bob Allen: He was a short and skinny draft dodger from New York state, supposedly with a degree in Accountancy, which would account for his boring personality. He was soft spoken and usually didn't say much, which was good because of the chronic halitosis caused by his rotting teeth. Bob was a janitor and fairly well respected by most in the building. Basically Bob lived in Rochdale because he was American and the building was the American enclave in Toronto. He watched "The Flintstones" cartoon show in the 15th floor commune TV room during his lunch breaks. It was Bob's idea of culture. He never used drugs, and never smoked marijuana, although he admitted to once drinking a cup of marijuana tea. He had a cat. I hate this traitorous motherfucking "ugly American" who was my next door neighbour in 1504 for 2 years. Bob lived on the Rochdale Farm for months in 1974 and Jim Brennan lived in Bob's 1504 unit.
Jim Brennan: He was the youngest in the 15th floor commune, a handsome man with very long blond hair from Trenton, Ontario. Jim always went bare chested, wore blue jeans and his occupation was Primal Scream patient. He only socialized with one friend outside the building and me. When he visited me he was always in a state of regression, usually imagining he was a child and behaving accordingly. For example, he habitually drank milk from a baby's bottle. Primal Scream Therapy was all the rage, and Heather MacFarlane tried it out. She complained that Jim was always bragging at the Primal Scream sessions that he was a hippie living in Rochdale College. Jim was not like that with me. We listened to old blues records together and usually discussed childhood development. My basic advice to Jim was to grow up, and not wallow in a forgotten childhood because it would reinforce psychological problems, not cure them. At one party he danced with Suki Wrench from the 14th floor commune, and it was obvious that they were sexually attracted to each other.
Bill Granger: He was Yuppie trash who worked at IBM as a computer expert. Before that he taught computer science as a high school teacher, but was fired for some reason. Bill was always friendly and easy to get along with. Unlike almost all Rochdalians, he did not use the captain's trundle bed that came with his bedroom, but had a large waterbed. Occasionally he would play his favorite song, the Guess Who's "American Woman" on his stereo full blast. Because of his job I considered him to be "filler" in the 15th floor commune (1507). His roommate was Ira Rushwald, an American studying at the U of T, and also involved with Rochdale. Ira was the only Rochdalian I knew who listened to Radio Rochdale. He complained that the station needed a compressor, because he said the music often jumped in loudness and damaged speakers.
Heather MacFarlane: She was an overweight unattractive pretentious arrogant hick from the Yukon who lived in the 13th and 15th floor communes (1509). Heather was constantly sniggering at everyone and everything, as if nothing met the standards of sophistication that she was accustomed to in the Yukon. I first met her when she answered the door of the 13th floor commune smoking with a foot long cigarette holder. She once arrogantly chastised me for saying something about her silly views on ballet. "What the hell do you know about ballet?" she snarled. I replied, "I'm sorry. I forgot you just arrived from the Yukon, home of the renowned Royal Yukon Ballet Company." Once she actually said, "I hate hippies." What was this foolish librarian doing in Rochdale? Her roommate was vegetarian cook Zan, then nominally Alex MacDonald for a brief time.
Casey Eaton: He was a scholarly man from Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a sister named Gayle. They both eventually moved into the 15th floor commune. Casey lost his beautiful girlfriend in the process, and Gayle eventually hitched up with Simon Liston. Gayle was a beautiful blonde who talked like a California "Valley Girl", whereas Casey was average looking and intellectual. He would stay up all night drinking gallons of Coca Cola while reading sci-fi books. He gave me a copy of "Venus on the Half-Shell", but I didn't read it because I never read fiction. His favorite song was Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to take You Higher". Casey lived in 1511 with Dellard Lebrosse, then moved to a large communal apartment at 481 Palmerston Blvd. when the building closed. Simon and Gayle also lived there. A year later Gayle moved to California and Casey moved next door to the 15th floor coop house at 138 Albany Ave. and worked for the Encyclopaedia Britannica company. Then he moved back to Florida.
John Sullivan: That's me. I grew up in the Annex in Toronto and was involved in the nearby Yorkville Village scene when it was a Beat and then a Hippie bohemian cultural centre. On May 22, 1967 I attended the only Love-in in Canadian history at Queen's Park. Buffy Sainte-Marie, Leonard Cohen, The Isabella Blues Band, and The Rabble performed great music for free. I'm in the NFB documentary "Flowers on a One Way Street" at the Love-in. Rochdale was in my neighbourhood and I saw it being constructed. During the summer of 1968 I lived in NYC with my grandmother's sister and explored Greenwich Village. I attended many concerts, including Janis Joplin and Ten Years After at the Fillmore East. In the fall of 1968 I first visited Rochdale, where I met Ed Apt and others. Then in the summer of 1969 I moved in mostly because there were no "silly rules" and it was empty, plastic, and pathetic compared to Yorkville. First I lived in the 11th floor Ashram, but it was filled with pseudo-intellectual students and their bullshit about Jean-Paul Sartre bored me to tears. I transferred to 604 where my roommate was a private detective. Then I moved to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, which is where I was when the groovy 1960's ended on January 1, 1970. I returned to Toronto and moved into 1607 in Rochdale. Valerie Fricker, the sister of Sylvia (Fricker) Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia fame, was my roommate. In the summer I moved out and in the fall I moved into 1122. The building was unbearably "heavy" because of all the drug dealing so I moved out. In the beginning Rochdale was known only by "word of mouth" but by this time most residents learned about it from sensational media reports. I travelled around the world and lived in India for 2 years, where I interviewed the Dalai Lama for a book. In 1973 I returned to Toronto and moved into 1503 of the 15th floor commune. Then I moved across the hall to unit 1506. Rochdale was an anachronism because the hippie movement had died in 1970, and that's exactly why I moved in again. I'm vegetarian and I lived in India because it is a very vegetarian country and I was unhappy living in the meat-eating Western world. In 1973 I was unhappy without a bohemian sub-culture in my life, so I moved back into Rochdale. It was not perfect, it was not Utopia, but I miss it very much.
Rob Higgins: He was a U of T student with long dark hair and a beard who lived in Kafka unit 1508 with Margot Cross in the 15th floor commune. Rob was from Parry Sound, like a dozen others in the commune. One morning he left Rochdale by the rear entrance to go to classes, but was apprehended by the Toorotten police. The motherfuckers planted drugs on him and charged him with trafficking in narcotics. He was innocent of course. Rob was too busy studying to get involved with drugs. We all knew he was innocent, he was my next door neighbour, and even his friend President Mike Randell explained the drug planting by police to journalists at a press conference in his office. A "Rob Higgins Defence Fund" was set up to help this victim of Toorotten police. His unlawful persecution was meant to further discredit Rochdale during the eviction process, because he represented the U of T students in the building.
Mad Mary Stephens: She was an older woman living in the 14th floor commune during Syd Stern's reign. Her boyfriend or common law husband was Jake, an older hard-working construction worker from Sault Ste. Marie. Although I did not know her well, I didn't believe she deserved to be called "Mad". However, Jim Washington told me, "I knew both Mad Mary's and they were both crazy." He was referring to the fact that there was a mother and daughter both named Mad Mary. The mother tried to go overland to India when the building closed but died in Pakistan. The last time I saw her was in a supermarket on Dupont St. I showed her a cut on my arm caused by an electric saw I loaned from Jane Barnett. Mary's daughter was quite beautiful, with a full shapely body, very long luxuriant brown hair, and a pretty face with full lips. Her boyfriend was Charlie Taylor and they had a child named Dorian. The younger Mad Mary spent most of her time in Kathmandu--by flying there like a tourist and living there like a tourist. I write this because I went overland from Istanbul to Kathmandu as a traveler. Anyway, I eventually got to know the younger Mad Mary and she was definitely a crazy druggie and alcoholic. Her intelligence was below average and her most interesting characteristic was she had no mind of her own. She constantly asked everybody, especially strangers, for advice. You could actually determine whom she was with last simply by listening to what she said. One of her boyfriends told me he could always tell whom she was with last. She was definitely a teeny bopper, obsessed with being "hip". Mad Mary threatened me with death. This was because of Marcia Whitford's influence, and Mad Mary was very much involved in stalking me for years. She stalked me herself, paid people (mostly her drug customers) to stalk me, and actually arranged for her friends to move into houses where I lived as part of the stalking process. I'm in show biz and being stalked is part of the job, so I know how to handle these criminal cunts and motherfuckers. For starters, I have photographs of every one of them.
Charlie Taylor: He was a drug dealer in Rochdale with long dark hair. Eventually he moved out and became bald. Maybe there was a connection. Mostly he had bookstores where he also sold drugs. One of my original sayings is "as sleazy as a used book seller" because most I have encountered are very sleazy. Charlie was a black arts Occultist. I considered him to be evil because of this and the insulting obnoxious way he sometimes treated me and others.
Trish Flint: She was a plump young woman who looked much like Cathy Johnson. Trish lived in the 16th floor Ashram of the 15th floor commune. We sometimes discussed rock music, and we were both fans of the Ugly Ducklings, Mick Jagger's favorite Canadian band. Trish explained how the former "Strolling Bones" imitated the Stones. One of her favorite types of music she referred to as "cock rock". She had a live-in lover who rarely spoke. I couldn't understand what she saw in him, until one day he came out of the washroom in the nude. He was very well endowed, and that explained everything. Eventually Trish found a new boyfriend, they moved out and Trish died of a brain disease in 1975 around the same time Cindy Lei passed away.
Paul Hopkins: He was a high school student working in Rochdale as a private detective for his father's agency in the summer of 1969. In July 1969, the time of the Rochdale Summer Festival, Paul was my roommate in Kafka unit 604. The 6th floor east wing was mostly vacant except for 602 where John lived. He was a black American musician who started a Pop band named "Cognopious" and Don Holyoak, a Gay "problem child" who lived in the 6th floor Ashram, sometimes danced with the band. I recall sitting on the floor in 602 during a rehearsal with Don dancing very closely beside me, and I was concerned he might accidentally kick me in the face. Anyway, Paul in 604 kept telling me he was a "spy" and eventually admitted he was a private detective. A rich woman had hired him to spy on her daughter who had moved into Rochdale and was living with an American draft dodger. The daughter was unbearably arrogant and bourgeois, definitely in the wrong place. Paul became "friends" with her and the American. Then Paul's partner moved in as part of the detective work. He looked and behaved like a hippie, and was smart enough not to divulge his "job" to me, but I knew because Paul told me. The two learned everything they could about the young woman's activities and drew up floor plans of Rochdale. After everybody moved out I contacted the woman and told her she was spied on by private detectives hired by her mother. I also informed Paul that I told her. If I had not done it, I could never live with myself. I should have complained to the authorities in Rochdale while it was happening, because it was the worst experience I ever had in the building.
The Teenage Dance Band: The musical group was a quartet of young musicians in Rochdale in the summer of 1969. They played in the 2nd floor lounge, at the Rochdale Summer Festival on the 2nd floor terrace stage, and elsewhere in the building. The band did a killer rock version of Jimmy Reed's blues song "Going to New York". It was one of the best live songs I have ever heard in my life! And I've seen Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones live. Their repertoire was quite limited, and none of their other tunes were nearly as good. But "Going to New York" should have been recorded because it was magnificent. Unfortunately, I'm apparently the only person who remembers them. I've asked Ed Apt, Derek Heinzerling, and others but they don't remember the Teenage Dance Band.
Michael Burns: He was a red head bearded American who lived in the 13th floor commune and became Jane Barnett's lover there and when they moved to Brunswick Ave. Michael was serious, hyper-critical, and proud to have 3 bowel movements each day. I told him I never ate breakfast, which impressed him until I later mentioned I had a snack before bedtime. When he criticized me I told him I was not bragging about my diet, just mentioning it. We didn't like each other. Gossip monger Marcia Whitford said that Michael and Jane would sit at opposite ends of their bedroom and jerk off while watching each other. I could write a fucking book about the countless trashy sex stories that Marcia talked about. Ironically, Marcia would be in prison if the authorities knew what I know about her sex life. I'm not joking.
Kathy Martin: She was an American woman who lived in the 13th floor commune and worked at the Alternative Press Center on the 6th floor. Her boyfriend was Art Jacobs and they had moved the Center from Minnesota. They were both intellectual and dogmatic no-nonsense types. Heather MacFarlane, who left the 13th floor commune, said Kathy was a hypocritical phoney because she kept a large trunk of fancy clothing from her previous bourgeois life. She also said that Kathy, Art, and another man had a ménage à trois. I asked her if this included sex. Heather gave me a strange look, paused, then answered, "Yes." I first met Kathy at the Karma Food Coop and thought she was a very fine person with idealistic convictions that she put into practice.
Billy Littler: He was a large muscular man, head of Rochdale Security until 1972. A former "army brat" who lived in Germany, he was involved with the CIA for a couple of years in Nicaragua and Honduras to help the Anti-Castro Cubans. He hung out in Yorkville Village where he met Lionel Douglas at Webster's Restaurant, first visited Rochdale in November 1968 and moved into the 12th floor during the fall of 1970. Billy trained the Rochdale guard dogs. He once visited the 15th floor commune lounge and became enraged at something I said. There wasn't much freedom of speech in Rochdale. I felt Billy was behaving like a thug on someone else's territory and thought the police could do a better more professional job. When the building closed I got to know Billy quite well in early 1987. He was working as a security man for a building contractor and had a black Bouvier dog. It was caged for its first 2 years, so it could never connect with humans. Billy explained, "His lights are on, but nobody's home." I probably spent a total of 20 hours talking with Billy and considered him an intelligent, honest, serious, and peaceful man. He smoked cigar sized marijuana joints. Our conversations were usually not about Rochdale, because we both knew all about it and there was nothing to discuss. He would talk about his work which included checking the hoarding board fence around building sites. Or we would discuss Pierre Trudeau's deliberate destruction of English speaking Canada with his multi-cultural policy. Sometimes he gave his opinions about Rochdalians, such as he didn't think much of Ruth King's intelligence. I didn't respond to that because I didn't want to annoy him by disagreeing.
Barb Adams: She was a a very intelligent and good looking lady who was Jim Washingon's lover in 1974. Barb was largely responsible for organizing the Rochdale Open House on May 12 and 13 in 1974, sponsored by EdCon. Cindy Lei and others also did a lot of work to show Toronto what Rochdale was like. For the Open House I marketed brown "Rochdale Let it Be" buttons, and it was Barb who came up with that slogan at an EdCon meeting. Over 600 people visited the Open House. It was a complete success and greatly improved the college's horrible public image. The Open House was so successful it provoked Toorotten police to create a riot in the building on July 30, 1974 to reverse Rochdale's improved image. A few years later Barb was elected an Alderman at Toronto City Hall. She quit after one term because according to Jim Washington, Barb couldn't stomach the corruption.
Cathy Johnson: She was a former "army brat" and my roommate in 1503 of the 15th floor commune. Cathy was a pleasant sociable lady who was very easy to get along with. Her son was Christopher Adam, and the father she had carefully chosen was Ian Argue. She had the baby circumcised, which I tried without success to discourage. Cathy did not understand that it is best to allow boys to make that decision themselves when they grow up. She eventually moved into the 13th floor commune where she was much happier.
Bob Naismith: He was a member of Rochdale College for many years and held positions such as President. Unlike most Govcon leaders, Bob did not suck. Xaviera Hollander, the famous Happy Hooker, gave him a blow job during one of Reg Hartt's porn movie screenings in 1972. Bob was the nude poster boy in campaigns to sell Rochdale College degrees. One version had the caption: "Pssst, come here kid, ya wanna buy a degree?" He lived in an elevator lobby closet for a while, and streaked nude outside around the building when streaking was fashionable. I didn't know him all that well, but socialized with him when he visited my roommate Cathy Johnson in 1503 of the 15th floor commune. In fact, Bob, Cathy, and I distributed the December 12, 1974 Tuesdaily to all residents after the Rochdale Corporate Meeting. I remember going by an Ashram room where Skye was listening to Blue Cheer on his stereo. Skye was probably the only authentic hippie in the entire building. Bob Naismith and I had an interesting conversation about the poet Byron at Ian Argue's house after the building closed.
© 2011 Wolf Sullivan