Back in those days, we had a little structure we’d nailed together with leftover wood called “the hooch.” It defied it’s definition because we were all underage, but we still had some way or other of obtaining alcohol by any means necessary. The Hooch was on Aaron’s parent’s land…we were lead to believe. It’s location is now apocryphal. There was a little spot for a fire in front of it, and we all sat around and listened to music on a battery powered “boom box” (The Doors, old Rush (Caress of Steele, and etc.)) and drank until we passed out and slept all night under the oaks and the starry sky beyond the green canopy that protected us from the cold of the night.
This wasn’t the psychedelic shack. This was a tiny place all our own. The Psychedelic Shack was for larger gatherings…an abandoned concrete block structure in which we’d graffiti-ed pictures and slogans like “sympathy for the devil”, and other sayings of our time…the Shack was near an abandoned rock quarry. There were parties there…debaucheries happened there…drinking, music….all of us in our abandon would dance and make out and talk and stumble about in our drunkenness without a care in the world. We’d stay there until the dawn…then slink back to our parent’s house and slip in early in the mornings and sleep the day away. It was the ’80s, after all….
The Hooch was no different, but it was smaller, more intimate, and never a party. We’d retire there after “happenings” at the Psychedelic Shack. It was listening, it was talking, and of course it was drinking…always drinking…sometimes smoking too. It wasn’t even as easily accessible as the nearby cemetery on Aaron’s parent’s land. You had to park off the road, and slip through a fence to get to it…it was secret, it was ours…it was private. A select few knew about it…it was ours.
In those times boys…teenage boys…would bare their souls. Say things to each other that could never be said anywhere else. Cory Llewellyn said he loved me. What did that mean? In his mind altered by alcohol state, I could only think he meant “trust”…in the male sense. As the drink opened our minds, and the fire and the music played on our consciousnesses, we opened up and became real with each other. We made pacts, we made vows. We made proclamations. Hardly any we actually kept…but at the time they meant something.
Now we’re all grown, lost touch, and don’t even all believe the same ways. We have moved on to other things. But those days are still in our heads. They’ll never go anywhere. We will always remember, we will always be around that camp fire, drinking, and talking, and looking at one another and trying like hell to find some measure of brotherhood between us….but brotherhood remains. Do we abandon those feelings even as the world around us drifts and changes and divides? We come together. There are areas where we cross…where our minds intersect, even still. We have to…or else we all suffer.