For me driving at night was like walking at night; my mind went unusual places. I liked the conversations I’d have, and had learned to be a good conversationalist by hitchhiking all around the country, starting at age fifteen. But once I bought my first car at age twenty, (which had no radio because I had no credit, paid cash, and could only afford the most stripped-down and cheapest Toyota on the market, a tiny Corolla with a 1200cc engine), I discovered giving up on public transport can be lonely; unless I myself picked up a hitchhiker, I only had my own mind to talk to and sing to.
Often brake lights would flash ahead, and I’d awake to the fact I was paying attention to my driving for the first time in a long time. Other times I arrived at my destination and when I shut off the engine I had the odd sensation that I had paid no attention whatsoever for the entire drive, and an autopilot had driven the car.
As I screamed south on the Maine Tutrnpike in my tinny Toyota, my mind began by sorting through the cast of characters involved in the perpetual and ongoing crisis that Audley Bine called a “commune”. Soon my focus shifted to Audley himself, because, though he pointed at everyone else, he was the core of every crisis.
Because I’d watched him rise from rags to riches over seven years, since I was fourteen, and because I had more recently worked for him as a sort of secretary, I knew too much. I knew he now had payments to make on a flashy BMW, rent to pay on a house in the expensive suburb of Weston, plus mortgages to pay on a large house in Newton, (where his commune was located), and a summer house up in “The Notch” in New Hampshire. Meeting all these payments was a monthly episode of gut wrenching. He managed it by charging people thirty dollars an hour for his time, and waving about his Harvard degree in a manner which kept people from ever reading what his degree was actually a degree in. It was not a degree in medicine or psychiatry, nor a business degree, but rather a degree in music. He was twenty-nine years old.
Fortunately, (for Audley), back in 1975 all you needed to set up shop as a psychologist was to not be a psychiatrist. Because psychiatry was collapsing to a rubble of disrepute after some massive failures, every Tom, Dick and Sally was setting themselves up as a psychologist. Some were pathetic con-artists, but Audley was often quite good, in his often-unprofessional way. He helped people get back on their feet, including some people who had never learned to walk in the first place, by showing them how to do basic things no one had ever bothered to teach them. Basically he was a trainer who trained (some would say “preyed upon”) the untrained.
It seemed to me that, if Audley was looking for trainees whom he would be paid for training, he had found a bountiful harvest in the wealthy suburbs. I’d grown up in such a suburb, and found suburbs hollow and sterile. Suburbs seemed bound to produce effete young men, for there was literally no example to follow of anyone working.
In rural areas one could see examples set by farmers and woodsmen and hunters and fishermen, and in urban areas one could see shopkeepers and restaurants and factories and taxi drivers, but in the emerald suburbs work was something people were escaping from.
Much was freshly built, so there were no builders; the building was largely completed, and in wealthier towns zoning laws were passed to prevent any further building from even beginning. New houses also didn’t require painting or roofing for ten or twenty years, and when I was young there weren’t even landscapers, for everyone bought their own mower and mowed their own lawn. Gardeners like Grubby Douglas were rare and tended to be elderly and to work for the elderly.
Yet perhaps I was given a single example of work, through watching fathers hurry outside to mow lawns, creating a vast suburban droning noise for a couple hours on Saturday mornings, and perhaps their example went into the creation of my first little business as a local handyman. But perhaps my friends stayed inside to watch Saturday morning cartoons, and missed seeing that single example of work. (One thing my father did was to ban television in our house; we didn’t get one until he was gone and I was fourteen.) Perhaps this explains why my classmates created no businesses. They did nothing at all but watch TV, listen to music, and throw around balls (beyond some vandalism). But they eventually faced a dreadful day, called “graduation from high school”, where they were confronted by the fact they knew next to nothing. They were then faced with a bleak choice of either going to college or Vietnam. Both choices involved learning discipline they sorely lacked (though some found colleges where they could continue to do nothing until they faced a second dreadful day, and a second graduation.)
Audley filled a role; he was father-figure. Many young men lacked fathering, first because in the 1960’s dads were too occupied providing money to provide fathering, and second because husbands were too busy making money to provide husbanding, and the divorce rate soared. (It’s hard to get fathering when your dad’s been booted out). Audley was quite good at fathering, and got something fathers don’t get for fathering. He got paid. Unfortunately, when you charge for being loving, it can come with a bad aftertaste, for in some sense being-paid-for-loving makes you a whore. Audley didn’t like hearing me state such a reality. Few psychologists do. Nor would I have ever been so rude as to say such a thing, but Audley pestered me for my withheld views, as he felt repressing your deeply hidden opinions was wrong.
I had learned otherwise. I learned early on that, “When you laugh the world laughs with you; but when you cry you cry alone,” and therefore I kept my opinions to myself. But I was very opinionated, all the same, and needed some outlet, which was what made my discovery of poetry so wonderful. I could gripe and grouse and moan and groan and sing-the-blues all I wanted. Not that many wanted to listen, but self-expression was good for my soul. I did it for gratification and not for attention, but then an English teacher caught me illicitly writing a poem (rather than the essay I was suppose to be writing), and rather than scolding me, after she snatched the paper away, she looked astonished, and asked me if I had any more poems she could look at. She became my first fan.
I wonder. Without her encouragement my habit might have withered away like an un-watered seedling, (in which case she’d get no blame for what followed: More than a half-century of a poet’s poverty and troubles and joy). On the other hand, my habit might not have withered. The gift did not seem to me like a thing that could be killed. The “self” in self-expression seemed like something far bigger than I was. If God is in everyone, perhaps it was as big as God, but I could not claim to be God.
.Hand in hand with the joy I felt when someone liked a poem was a profound reluctance to share poems. A poem was like a sunset, and all I really wanted was someone to stand beside me and share the view. People sharing my view often pointed out beauty I hadn’t seen, but it wasn’t as if I myself was beautiful. The view was ego-less and separate from me. The problems arose when the focus shifted from the view to me. People seemed compelled to “help” me, and that always seemed to involve saying I had some sort of a problem. Even the people who said I was gifted seemed compelled to add that I wasn’t yet famous. But I didn’t write poems to be told I was an “underachiever.” People were totally missing the point.
What was the point? The point was that there is a beauty in life that uplifts. Yes, life holds plenty of problems, but even in the alley’s of a slum there are sunbeams that make the orange of worn brick radiant, and the even among the impoverished Untouchables in India an aura of joy radiates as they laugh together over their one-meal-a-day. Poetry was the process of pointing this beauty out, and was a beneficial solace because in an inexplicable way it supplied answers to the problems of life.
What was the solace? It was hard to say, which was why you needed poems, but it was like going into dark hall to hear a symphony and emerging changed. Of course, problem-solvers tended to become irked when you could not state the specific details of what the change was, but that didn’t make the change less real. It was like going to bed weary and awaking refreshed; what is the change? What is sleep, but to turn off the conscious intellect and bask in a peace greater than we are. What we gain is like a tan, all we need to do is lie down.
This put me completely at odds with the psychiatrists of the 1960’s, who tended to see ugly things inside people, rather than poetry.
A study in Chicago at that time tested the benefits of psychiatry, comparing the improvement seen in troubled people who talked with old and experienced psychiatrists, young and inexperienced psychiatrists, and a control-group who talked to ordinary folk like bar-tenders, taxi-drivers and hair-dressers. Somewhat to the horror of the researchers the only improvement was seen in those who discussed their problems with ordinary people, while the experienced psychiatrists actually made depressions worse. This failure was what rumbled behind a dissatisfaction among the ranks of Freudian Psychiatrists. Revolutionary new concepts such as Gestalt Psychiatry were proposed by the disciples of Freud; and psychiatry’s failure was also a boon to the illegitimate psychologists.
Not that I knew any of this at age fourteen, when I first met Audley. I only knew my father, a highly trained surgeon, said I should steer clear of psychiatrists, because they prescribed poisonous drugs, fried brains with electricity, were not scientific, wrecked marriages, and destroyed families.
I also was aware that many of my friends were scared to death of psychiatrists; we whispered gossip about peers who had been incarcerated for rebellion, vandalism or masturbation, and either emerged shock-treated and weird, or never were seen again. Also there were whispers about the pills mothers took, and we were forced to read depressing books (which English teachers for some reason felt wouldn’t depress adolescents), like “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1962) and “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” (1964), and lastly we all heeded the Rolling Stones hit, “Mother’s Little Helper” (1966).
Let it suffice to say looking inward in the manner psychiatrists proposed held absolutely no attraction to me, even while day-dreaming held great joy. I avoided saying what inkblots looked like, even at a time when laying on my back in lush, green grass next to a buddy and discussing what the clouds looked like was spontaneous and attractive. Inkblots spelled trouble, while watching clouds was a soothing relaxation, (and, though seemingly inconsequential at the time, cloud-watching was an activity fondly remembered at class reunions, thirty years later).
I first met Audley because he was one of the creepy Harvard students my oldest brother hung around with. My boyish friends unsympathetically dismissed them as “fags”, but I was a little more friendly. My father had gone to Harvard and taught there even when working as a surgeon; my stepfather had gone there and still taught there; and my oldest brother was accepted to Harvard three times (because he dropped out twice.) So maybe I was more accustomed to their weirdness than most. I understood a little (second hand) about the stress they faced (because they did three times as much homework as seemed humanly possible), and I pitied such students, for my own solution to the stress of homework was to never do any. I understood (second hand) such stress was worst as finals approached in late May, when the weather was most beautiful (and when the only way to get a lick of work from me was to threaten me with summer school). At that time Harvard Square was inhabited by students so over-stressed by cramming that they looked like walking corpses, which was what Audley looked like when I first saw him.
It was the first hot day day in June, and I was whipping a football around the front lawn and dashing about, barefoot and shining with sweat and wearing nothing but a bathing suit. Audley was overdressed, wearing some sort of white linen sportscoat, trudging from the car to the house with my brother and some other intellectual who was talking a mile a minute. (Audley may have even been carrying a briefcase, though my imagination may have just added that detail to accent how opposite his state was from mine.) When I glanced at him to size him up he looked guiltily away, almost as if he expected a blow. I glanced over at a pal and quirked an eyebrow, and my buddy laughed back, “A fag for sure. Those creeps always make me feel like I should put on a shirt.” I shrugged and went out for a pass.
For the most part I felt sorry for Harvard students. Their get-up-and go got them in trouble. They got themselves into a state where they could never go where I went, in my mind, which at age fourteen didn’t even include poetry. When I got up and went, I either went places in my imagination, dreaming at clouds, or I got my butt out of the boring suburbs. I “went walkabout”, which is what I understood (through reading) made Australian natives unreliable employees. Aborigines understood get-up-and-go means get up and go, whereas Harvard students stayed in the same place and pressed their nose harder and harder and harder to a grindstone.
I think Audley looked away guiltily not because I was handsome in a way fifty years has now reduced to wrinkles, but because he sensed I had something he had lost. I’m not sure why he felt guilty about wanting it, for it lay at the very core of the music he was supposedly studying, but perhaps it threatened the very foundations of his will to get ahead. He was like a music professor watching Mozart improvise at age seven, seeing a child produce modulations it is suppose to take twenty years to master.
In any case, Audley got over it, and by slow increments I came to see him as one the older people who felt I had some sort of “gift”. Of course, it took time, because at age fourteen the only poetry I wrote was doggerel I wrote to entertain my back-row buddies, poking fun at others, and such poetry tended to get me in trouble (when I became so absorbed I failed to notice the stealthy approach of a teacher, and they were able to snatch the work away, which was especially troublesome when the doggerel (or illustration) was about that particular teacher). However I like to flatter myself by thinking my scribbling was actually “political commentary” in a highly unrefined form, in which case it was too embryonic for Audley. At first he seemed a bit frosty and disapproving when I pestered my elder brother and his Harvard crowd with naive questions, or regaled them with unasked-for, bragging descriptions of my escapades; it was at age fourteen I first began to have escapades (beyond going fishing).
It wasn’t that my buddies were boring; it was that we ran out of things to talk about. Discussing the anatomy of females, and how to go about investigating such anatomy, could only use up so many hours of our days, and then the topic became how boring the town was. I felt we should do more than say there was nothing to do; we should do things. I became what mothers called, “A Bad Influence”.
Initially we crept about after dark and peered in people’s windows, daring ourselves to be outrageous, sometimes alone and sometimes as groups or as couples, snowballing cars after dark, ringing the church-bell at midnight, sneaking into the houses of people on vacation and, without taking anything, poking through all their private belongings, until eventually we got caught going too far in some way, perhaps joyriding in a car we were too young to be borrowing, or perhaps attempting to tie a police officer’s shoe-laces together. Then we faced punishment, but at least we had something to laugh about when we gathered to talk.
One item always interesting to discuss was explosions, and this sparked one of my first ventures into the world of business. I dared go into Boston’s tiny Chinatown, and to at great risk purchase fireworks, and to endanger countless commuters on the trolley back out to the suburbs with my illicit cargo, purchased at an absurdly high price but sold for absurdly higher prices to eager suburbanites. (In my list of jobs, “importer” is one of the first, though I have never noted it down, in the “employment history” section of job applications.)
Although fireworks were illegal in Massachusetts, I noticed adults as well as teenagers were very interested when I mentioned I had some “black-cats” which I’d be willing to part with, for “only” a dollar a pack (back when a pack of cigarettes cost fifty cents and a gallon of gas was thirty-eight.) Although Audley Bine didn’t seem to approve of the noise and stink, I noticed the other Harvard intellectuals my brother hung about with stopped treating me like a boring squirt when I casually mentioned I had a “brick” (144 packs) of black-cats. Some took on the fiendish look of mad scientists as they reached for their wallets, and, while a single black-cat firecracker is quite loud, they used their Harvard genius to devise ways of making the entire pack explode all at once, which gave the quiet suburbs something to talk about.
In any case, the older men found me tolerable at times, and this allowed me to eavesdrop on conversations suburban adolescents don’t often overhear, some of which my mother might have approved of.
One thing that surprised me was that they found learning intensely exciting. They might not like doing three times as much homework as seemerd humanly possible, but what the homework was about enthralled them, and they talked about intellectual stuff the in the same excited tones that we boys used, when we talked about being chased by a snowballed driver. It reopened my eyes, (which had been closed by the utter monotony and drudgery I made school become), and I sucked up what they had learned like a sponge, (which was especially nice as I didn’t need to do any homework).
For example, although the MOHO expedition occurred in 1959, it took time to carefully process all the cores from the sea-floor, and the results were such a bombshell to the world of geology that the results needed to be painstakingly peer-reviewed to make certain there wasn’t some mistake. Then there even seemed to be a period of stunned silence, but then there was an explosion of realizations all through the world of geology, for the MOHO expedition had discovered the sea-floor was spreading, which meant the continents were drifting apart, which explained countless mysteries. For a while every issue of Scientific American had a new article explaining some new aspect of Continental Drift. Hearing the excitement over this news, and absorbing the news like a sponge, put me in the shoes of being a teenager who knows more than his Geology teacher.
I have written about this episode so many times that I no longer am certain what actually happened, or even whether it happened during class or after class. (I am fairly certain a version I wrote wherein I am oppressed like Galileo is an exaggeration.) However what I clearly recall is the bewildered look on the face of my elderly Geology teacher, only months before her retirement, as she looked at the Scientific American I presented as evidence. It must be odd to see that what you have been teaching for forty years is wrong.
In like manner it must be odd for psychiatrists to see treatment they have been charging their patients for is harmful. It is even odder for the patient, and Audley Bine was such a patient.
Because I had known Audley for years I got to know more about him than he knew about me, which is neither normal nor recommended for psychologists. Before I describe how this came to be I’ll summerize what I gathered.
His family was gentility which had faded badly into a state near paralysis, financially crippled by calamities during the Great Depression and headed by a father emotionally mangled by the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific in World War Two. On their worst days they could barely get out of bed: His father couldn’t push himself out the door and his mother sometimes only got her lipstick halfway on. The house smelled, and also held a widowed grandmother crippled by painful arthritis who did manage to get her lipstick on neatly, and did manage dress nicely, and did manage to wash herself, who could remember running a house with servants and knew paralysis was not the way to get ahead. She doted on Audley, who was the only sign of what she called “spunk” in the home.
Audley was a tubby little child prone to tantrums, who was bound and determined to escape the quicksand his family was mired in, and to uplift them as well, in the process. He would rage at them to get off their butts, raging in ways that likely should have earned him a spanking, but all he got was sighs, sad looks, and “We will try.” His grandmother urged the little tyrant to be gentler, but also imparted the suggestion that, if he was going to get anywhere in life, it was going to be because he did it on his own. Thus he came to dislike the inactivity of the emotionally paralyzed fiercely, and launched out into the world recoiling from lethargy. He was a go-getter, and certainly had little time for laying about dreaming up at clouds. However the moment he stepped out the front door his face changed, like the mad Mr. Hyde becoming gentle Dr. Jekyll, as he firmly adopted his very-good-student expression.
When the field of psychology had gotten completely out of hand the politicians of Massachusetts belatedly decided to create some regulations, and Audley had to take a class which I took as well, but rather than paying the slightest bit of attention to the teacher I studied Audley’s face, slightly amazed to see how Audley looked as a very-good-student.
Audley didn’t notice my scrutiny because he gave the teacher his complete and undivided attention, pencil poised over notepad. His face wore a slightly deranged smile, with his eyebrows so high I was surprised skin didn’t tear. Every time the teacher made a point he’d nod and scribble. If the teacher spoke of a sadness Audley would pout sadly; if the teacher spoke of injustice Audley would stiffen with a look of fierce indignation, and when the teacher cracked a joke Audley would shake with laugher like it was the funniest thing he ever heard, tilting his head first one way and then another. As I watched I thought to myself, “What a complete and utter ass-kisser.” (Of course I would never be so rude as to say such a thing, but, as I mentioned earlier, Audley felt repressed-thought was wrong, and eventually he pestered me into telling him.)
Audley got straight “A’s”, for besides being an ass-kisser he had a retentive and brilliant mind. However, having given credit to his brain, I will also credit his ass-kissing, for it is quite a different thing from watching a person make such faces at another, to experiencing the full, blasting glory of such nodding and smiling raining upon yourself. Perhaps it is in the nature of flattery and vanity that ass-kissing doesn’t seem so bad when it is your own ass getting kissed. Teachers loved Audley, and gave him extra attention. But such success eventually landed Audley in trouble, when he won acceptance to Harvard.
It is one thing to be the most musically gifted person in a dumpy, working-class community where most don’t care a hoot about musical theory or classical music, but at Harvard Audley abruptly found himself among giants. He was among people who could play piano better than Audley now could, back when they were six-years-old, who had learned to read music before they learned to read writing. Audley went from being at the top of his class to being at the bottom, and in some cases had no idea about subjects others seemed to feel was a mere review. He had to work like crazy, as others breezed, and also had to toil at mundane minimum-wage jobs because he was under financial duress. Worst, perhaps, was the dawning awareness that others were more musically gifted, and that he might have less genius than they, and that he might be merely humdrum in certain respects, rather than the next Beethoven.
Under such relentless pressure Audley began to crack up, which was fairly normal for students at Harvard in the 1960’s, as far as I could tell. Just as men training for the military’s Special Forces are pushed to their absolute physical limits, students at Harvard were pushed to their mental limits, and just as the military didn’t include you in the Special Forces if you couldn’t stand it, at Harvard you didn’t get your degree if you failed.
One consequence was that Harvard students knew a great deal about going nuts. One of the topics I eavesdropped upon, as a young twerp, was chatter about various ways of going nuts, and, (if going nuts bothered you), of various schools of psychology you might study, and of yoga and diets and herbs and mushrooms you might investigate. (No one, that I recall, suggested laying down and looking at clouds.)
Audley’s manner of going nuts involved a symbol. The symbol was of a mummy, all bound up with strips of dirty cloth, and unable to move, with a ghastly face.
Even as I first began seriously writing poetry at age fifteen the interpretation of the mummy-symbol seemed a fairly obvious to me, (for it was how I felt doing any homework at all), and it seemed a particularly good symbol for Harvard Students.
But in Audley’s case the mummy didn’t just appear in a poem or a fantasy or trouble his dreams; it appeared as a hallucination in his waking life: A frightening figure standing in the shadows of a doorway or down a dark alley or in the unlit corner of a room or within the frame of an unlit picture. He saw the apparition as he went about his ordinary life, but didn’t let it stop him; he knew it was a hallucination; and also that if he stopped he’d flunk out of Harvard. But he didn’t like the mummy constantly distracting him as drove himself and was wrapped up in his work. He wanted it gone, and decided to consult a psychiatrist he could ill afford.
Apparently the psychiatrist did no good. In fact the mummy went from lurking in the corner of Audley’s eye to sometimes standing straight ahead, upsetting, vivid. It refused to go away.
I could belabor with my theories of why the treatment made things worse, but let it suffice to say things got worse.
Audley learned to interpret the mummy in Freudian terms, (none of which saw the mummy as a symbol of being too wrapped up in work). When the mummy refused to go away Audley was accused of “denial” and “resistance” and “avoidance”, and, when Audley protested his innocence, many weeks were wasted arguing about whether he was resisting or not. (If I was that mummy I would have started drumming my fingers.) In a sense the cure to too-much-discipline was more discipline, but being scolded for being irrational didn’t diminish the mummy, and in fact made the mummy’s face more anguished. In the end the psychiatrist came to look forward to Audley’s weekly visit, for he was amazed anyone could continue to function with such a gruesome sidekick. However the psychiatrist expected progress to be slow, for it takes eight years of psychoanalysis to arrive at whatever it is Freudians arrive-at.
This was what made the Audley I first met so creepy. I may not have been able to see the mummy, but I could see Audley wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. Where I looked up at clouds and smiled, he looked over his shoulder and swallowed hard.
I tend to see this period of Audley’s life as heroic, though the only thing anyone saw externally was a tubby youth plodding along with a face that looked strangely bruised, as if he shaved with a hammer. He may have eventually completely broken down, but in the nick of time everyone seemed to throw up their hands in revulsion over Harvard’s relentless pressure, and a revolution occurred.
It was fortunate Audley steered clear of LSD, (perhaps because he needed no help hallucinating and was trying to stop,) for while Audley attended Harvard a Harvard psychiatrist decided psychiatry was a complete waste of time and that instead one should “Turn on, tune in, drop out”. Where intense discipline might result in benefits in the military’s Special Forces, or in the study of Law, Geology or Music, in the field of psychiatry intense discipline resulted in patients getting sicker, so Timothy Leary basically trashed much he’d been taught in favor of “experiments” with mushrooms and LSD. He was then booted out of Harvard for failing to teach scheduled classes and leaving the grounds without permission, (but in fact his habit of conducting “experiments” that sometimes involved pressuring young, female students to experience LSD with their clothing removed may have had something to do with his expulsion). He set himself up as a sort of guru, quoting the “Tibetan Book Of The Dead“, (1962), and the rock group Moody Blue wrote a hit song with a wonderful flute solo glorifying him called “Legend Of A Mind”, (1966), and he became so influential that President Nixon called him “The most dangerous man in America”(1970). Literally thousands wound up in mental institutions due to his influence, as he insisted losing control was gaining control. I never met the man, but knew many who had, and I disliked him because I took a dim view of men over forty competing for the beautiful girls my age. Audley avoided him, as Audley felt the way to gain control was to become more controlling.
Rather than abandoning discipline Audley tended to seek further discipline, reading books such as “The Power Of Positive Thinking“, and it was while seeking further discipline he heard about a discipline which the Beatles, and especially George Harrison, popularized, (1966), involving a book by Parahansa Yogananda called, “Autobiography of a Yogi“.
Personally I found this an enchanting book, because it contains a miracle every two or three pages. True, for a miracle to be scientific you must be able to replicate the miracle, and I could never manage that, but I found it wonderful to believe the impossible was possible. Also I didn’t have to actually read the book at first, because it seemed everyone else had read it and talked about the miracles, (some as being established facts, and some as being impossible). The book encouraged many to quit drugs and sex and eating meat, but I wasn’t attracted by such things at age fourteen. (It is hard to be attracted to renouncing sex when you’ve never had any).
Audley heard about the discipline of Yoga due to another thing that likely saved him from being institutionalized, which was the compassion of his fellow students. They would drag him away from his study and his relentless discipline and his yoga for a beer they would pay for, because they greatly enjoyed the very-good-student face he put on when facing superiors. Truly great, young composers liked to hang out with him.
By this time Audley had discovered there was a far kinder word for his very-good-student face than “ass-kissing”, and it was “appreciation”. When he appreciated others, or appreciated music, people liked having him around. This was especially true when he tilted his head first one way, and then the other, and simply laughed. The only one who didn’t seem to like his laughter was his sidekick the mummy, who made himself scarce when Audley was badgered by his buddies to join them for a beer.
Another rescuer in Audley’s life at this time was a merciful old man who somehow knew how hard and how long Audley had worked, and simply said, “It would do you good to take some time off and think”, (though the old man may have used the words “reconciliate your learning” rather than “think”), and then handed Audley enough money to take a sort of sabbatical for six months.
The most significant rescuer was a psychiatrist who had completely rejected Freudian psychiatry in favor of Gestaltian approaches. This boisterous and flamboyant man apparently heard about Audley’s mummy-sidekick, and rather than attempting to help Audley escape the mummy, he advised Audley to “be the mummy”, and to “act it out”, and to approach the very thing Audley wished to flee. Audley somewhat reluctantly pretended to be the mummy, ventured something along the lines of, “I’m all wrapped up. I can’t get free,” and then Audley abruptly burst into tears. It was a “breakthrough”.
Audley then went through a remarkable change, which I could not fail to notice as a casual onlooker. He went from looking scared to looking confident, and from looking frightened to roaring with appreciative laughter. It was his appreciation that was most obvious, as he appreciated the blueness of the sky, the music of the songbirds, and being free from his sidekick the mummy.
Of course, that was 1969, “The Summer of Love”, and it was now 1975. As I drove my Toyota over the wonderful, new, superhighway-bridge from Maine into New Hampshire I was jolted awake from my memories, dazzled by the view of the lights Portsmouth to the left and Pease Air-force Base to the right. The bridge hadn’t existed in 1969, nor had interstate 95; when I had to hitchhike north I took Route One over the Piscataqua River, and when the Navy raised the drawbridge there were incredible traffic jams. Building the new bridge was a great improvement, but, as I drove down into New Hampshire, it occurred to me a lot of bridges had crumbled, since 1969. What happened?