Richard sent me a collection of letters from Europe. He went to Europe for one long spell. I think he went to Europe twice. And he sent me a collection of letters which I kept, and then I had a house fire. And I lost them in the house fire, and I still just beat up on myself unmercifully, because I had not had enough fucking sense to copy them and keep a copy of them, in a safe deposit box or something.1 And so, I lost those letters from Europe.
And so, we were very close, we were sharing things like that. I knew his first wife, the folk singer Carolyn Hester; they had come and visited me and my wife. And we had spent some time on a Forest Service lookout during a snowstorm. We were snowed in. We went over the season. And my boss gave me permission to kind of hang out there. I told him some friends were coming to visit. And he said oh well, okay, because I had a very close relationship with my boss, and he trusted me.
So, we ended up in this Forest Service lookout, a mile high; 5340 feet or something. It was a little over a mile high, and in a snowstorm that came whipping in. And we walked out, and it points along the trail. The snow had drifted as much as 16, 17, 20 inches deep. Richard and I walked out to break trail, and to go down the Forest Service road till we got to civilization. And we could get somebody to come up there with a four-wheel drive situation to help us out.
We went down the trail, and Richard took to making snowmen in two or three places, or three or four places, where we would sort of stop to catch our breath. And the snowmen were very kind of, libidinal. They were long nosed snowmen with scrotums on them and everything. It was just absolutely delightful; very, very playful. In other words, follow your gonads, follow your libido, and you’ll get out of this mess. And that was the sort of fellow he was. He was inordinately created, and he was the first — he was the first man I knew who got into marijuana, which was, in those days, where you crossed over. That was the crossover.2
Marijuana was a drug that came out of Harlem, and it was considered a cultural no-no. It was very much the gateway drug and the next stop was — you would go mad and be in a state institution. And that was marijuana, what was it called, the marijuana madness; reefer madness, yes, reefer madness. And that’s how I met, encountered the so-called reefer madness. And of course, that was enough to just convert all of us immediately.