1970: Sharing Space

In 1970, on that farm in the desert, the cutest, most attractive guy there, in my estimation, was Peter Bagley. He was from New York City. He had a great dog and a volkswagen bug. He was funny, smart and practical and had lots of black curls.

He was also tall, Taurus and taken. A lovely woman named Cheryl shared his space. She knew a good thing when she saw it.


Sharing space. What a concept.

I can’t quite remember now who actually lived in the little white farm house.

I think it was Traube Dick. His name was actually Richard Traube. His mother was a Park Avenue Psychiatrist. He was flambouyantly gay and sweet with blonde curly hair and was the oldest among us. Probably in his 40’s. He must have been responsible for a regular influx of cash.

I believe the charming wastrel, Fireman Bob, turned Traube’s name around to highlight the “dick.”

 Dick is standing on the far left in the group photo. To his right, standing in the upper row is another guy named Dick (Cheryl’s ex) Kathy from Ohio and Ed Red Van. In the middle row: Cheryl, Big John and Flute John. Front row seated are Dick Traube’s dog, Bill Lashbrook, Little John, Cheryl’s dog and Peter Bagley and his dog.

Fireman Bob had the coolest old bread truck. I think it was an International Harvester. It rocked and he loved to coast over the hills on the main road from Hemet, CA to see how far he could go without the aid of using the gas pedal or the brakes.

Though there were two bedrooms in the farm house most of us preferred to live “outside.” There were two long stable like structures that had been converted into individual quarters. They were divided into simple rooms with sturdy wood stoves made from large, 50-gallon oil drums.

It was very rustic and charming.

I roomed with Alice (see pix) before she and Bill hooked up. In our space we had one full mattress, rocks Alice had collected on her walks around our acreage, a book by Alan Watts, a few items of clothing, backpacks, boots and my Silvertone guitar.

Oh, yeah and this tome, “Living on the Earth” by Alicia Bay Laurel was always at hand. Old School DIY.

We’d all hang out together in the living room of the farm house where the turntable was set up. In addition to Leonard Cohen and the mighty Taj Mahal, we had the Rolling Stones. Somebody would put on “Little Queenie” and Traube Dick would dance, his long golden ringlets bouncing in rhythm with Keith Richards borrowed Chuck Berry chunka chunka rhythm. We’d dance and laugh and then spill out into the moolight to smell the sage.

The more boisterous of us, usually Big John and Little John, would occassionally indulge in philosophizing about the ways of the world. Big John was tall and blessed with good looks. Little John was short but determined to overcome his deficit in stature.

Big John was none too bright nor motivated. In contrast, Little John was wildly ambitious. Big John often punctuated his talk with a physical enactment of the phrase “big fucking deal.” The word “big” required that he stand up wave his arms in a wide arc. “Fucking” required a couple of hip pumps and “deal” brought on a feigned dealing out of poker cards. That was his theater. It broke up the room when things got a little too sedate.

After too much wine Little John would strip naked as proof that we really were living free from the moral bondage of previous decades. Hardly anyone ever joined him in his nakie-ness.

Little John eventually took up with “the foxiest chick” in the town of Aguanga. Some pretty little girl who had been blessed with four kids by the time she was 19 and then left on her own to deal. Little John was no fool. He recognized the opportunity and he really was good with those kids.

The farm house had a large kitchen with an enormous stove. An old fashioned stove that could and did literally hold a 50-pound turkey.

How do I know? Let me tell you about Mike Eppley.

Again, it was November, 1970 and that means for those who clung to tradition, Thanksgiving.

One of the animals on the farm was a turkey named Mike Eppley. I never asked why he was stuck with that moniker. Must have been named after someone with whom he shared certain traits. This was one very well-fed turkey. It grew and grew. By November M.E. was more than ready to be the star element of a very big holiday feast.

Everybody was invited.

As you may expect Mike Eppley became a point of contention. There were vegetarians and there were meat-eaters who wanted to live out their back to the old ways, grab-a root-and-growl fantasies. They wanted the agrarian life their grandpas had — slaughter their own livestock, drink the milk of their own goats, eat the eggs of their own chickens and pull the vegetable out of their own fields.

Yes, somebody made a big lasagna. The veggie people did dairy. But they frowned, post-Thanksgiving, on those that snacked on Mike Eppley’s drumstick thighs.


7 Responses to “1970: Sharing Space”

  1. Wes Middaugh Says:

    I moved to Aguanga in 73 and got to know most of the people from the farm. Dick is living in New Orleans, my wife and I try to keep in touch. The photos bring back some memories.

    • So absolutely cool to hear from someone who’s been there and knows it well. Also very glad to hear that Dick Traube is alive a kicking in New Orleans. It’s been a very long time. Thanks for reading!

  2. camille glenn Says:

    hi connie, i got your message today but unfortunately never got the one you sent back on the 14th-musty have gone to spam? and would be inadvertently deleted by now. hope you can resend.
    i spoke to big john and he sort of told me what he said-the gist anyway-i chided him but not too harshly -he had a stroke almost 2 years ago and is paralyzed and bedridden for the rest of his life in a nursing home-pretty sad and he is often depressed-i call and write just to say hi-he appreciates input-but i know he can be tough -always was -don’t take anything he may have said personally-anyway still would love to jog my memory more.aloha, camille

    • Barb–I cant believe that you’re buying into this obviiously second
      hand info….. Unless of coarse you are yourself, “getting old”.

      I’ve challenged this “Connie” person (that you address as if you
      actually “know”) to email me…. But with NO result…..WHY?

      How is it that she knows about Mike Epley, but nothing of his
      original owner, Russ Brazelton…….?

      How is it that she knows about “Little John” but not in the right
      time frame? (Ravonne & the 4 kids did not show up untill after
      the “farm” broke up, and “The Pheassant Ranch” became one of
      many HIPPY residences around Aguanga?

      Questions for Connie (if you dare):

      Name “The Farm”

      Peter Bagley and Dick Traube came from New York along with
      WHO? (one of the earliest and short lived Aguanga residents).

    • Camille, I sent the email again today. 🙂

  3. And what about me an linda and vicky…………..I arrived to the farm a day before my 19th birthday….. stayed for awhile and then moved in with blind bob…..in the canyon

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