Monday, September 01, 2008

A Labor of Love

In 1969, the same as in 2008, Labor Day was celebrated on September First. Although the Autumnal Equinox is 2 plus weeks away, Labor Day is considered to be the official end of the summer season.

The “Summer of ’69” evokes many special memories. I was in the last year of my four year enlistment in the US Army and stationed at Fort Meade in Maryland. I was living off-post in an apartment complex in nearby Laurel, Maryland with three former members (civilians) of my unit. Our apartment was the ultimate party mecca. The focal point of our living room was a wall rack stereo system and a three keg beer cooler. It was more like a Frat House than an apartment.

They call the summer of 1967 “The Summer of Love”, but for me it was the summer of 1969.

We would have theme parties (e.g. the Moon Walk party in July) at lease once a month and sometimes more often. It wasn’t unusual for 60 people to crowd into a 860 sq ft apartment on a Saturday night. The liquor and the beer flowed and the young ladies were hot to trot.

We had a diverse crowd, but mostly, military personnel and Government employees predominately from Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies working in the Washington DC area.

Our last party during the summer of love was held on the Saturday before Labor Day. It was our farewell to summer party. Without knowing it, at the time, I would meet my future wife at this party. She came with the girl that one of my roommates was seeing at the time. Being the perfect host, I offered her a drink and then roamed off to find the girl that I was sleeping with at the time, never getting her the drink that I promised.

The mornings after were usually brutal. The place would be a disaster and bodies could be found just about everywhere (on and under furniture).

One of my roommates had awakened before I had and had brewed some coffee. I grabbed a cup and sat down in the living room. He was watching TV; it was a telethon for MDA featuring Jerry Lewis. By noon all of the roommates (as well as left over guests) had risen and were watching the telethon. We decided to take up a collection and make a pledge. We later collected (from our friends) more money than our original pledge.

This afternoon, after the Cubs game on WGN, I saw that Jerry was still doing the telethon. He looked very old and haggard, and spoke with a voice more raspy than mine. For Jerry this is truly a “labor of love”. God Bless Him.

The Beach Bum

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