Calvinist Anarchist Commune
The land was owned by the Charles family, and no one was living there. And one of his sons, Leonard, wanted to see if it was possible — well, he was a little bit more bitter than I was, but he was sort of just sick of American culture, and wanted to turn his back on it, and go back to 1850 basically, and become utterly self-sufficient. So, you didn’t contribute to the economy and all that. It sounded good to me. And at the time I was with — I still am actually, with Vicky Stockley. And it sounded good to her. And my brother who’d been in a horrible automobile accident, and was in a full body cast, couldn’t wait to get out of that situation. So, all three of us went down, and joined Leonard and his sweetheart, Lynn Millman, and the five of us moved into a place that sheep had been living in for 40 years. And we ended up with pretty much making ourselves self-sufficient.
So, I think I was 25, and Vicky was 18, or 19. We were young and energetic, and really foolish. We didn’t know anything about living in the hills, or carpentry, or auto repair, or any of the skills that you needed to do it, like gardening. And we did a remarkable job of learning that. And I never have ever regretted truly developing self-reliance, because my idea of freedom is being equal to your needs, and the only way you can to be equal to your needs, is if you know how to do stuff. So, I really have always admired people that were handy, that wonderful old word, he’s pretty handy, meaning he can figure out how to solve problems on the ground with what he has.
So, we learned a lot. And we were all taken very much with the anarchist philosophy. And I joke now that it was the only Calvinist anarchist commune ever founded in the world because you know, we were up at 6:00 and going to bed at midnight, and working our butts off. It was great. I mean it was the perfect balance of physical work and mental work. And the library had this books by mail program. This is back when libraries had money, you have to remember. And they wanted to — they realized that it was being under-utilized by people that lived — the rural population, as we were known. And so, you could order, from the library, any book, and keep it inordinate length of time. As I recall, it was a couple of months, and it was all done by mail.
So, they just gave us this big stack of library cards, order cards, and we kept them busy, I’ll guarantee you that, because Leonard had — just was working on his PhD in anthropology from Berkeley, as was Lynn, although I don’t think she ever finished her thesis. And Vicky had dropped out of Humboldt, interested in forestry. And I was a pretty good generalist by then; science and the arts. So, every dinner there was like a lively conversation about politics, or rebuilding old harvesters or, it was just an amazingly intense and fun way to live.