Summer of '71 Chapter 19

So, you may be asking, did this really happen?
Yeah, it happened, alright.
I and a bunch of friends went out for an afternoon of fun and instead we got caught up in a murder-suicide; a personal tragedy with really bizarre overtones.
A young man my age was so troubled that he was able to convince himself and two of his closest friends that he should die, and they made it happen.
I was troubled that summer too, and so were many young men my age who still worried that their lives would be cut short by being sent to Vietnam.


Summer of '71 Chapter 18

Michael. That was his name, the name of the young man who convinced himself that he needed to die a violent death in order to serve Satan and command a legion of demons. He not only convinced himself, he managed to talk his two friends into tying him up and throwing him into a lake, and then walk away from it like nothing happened.
So I had found the body of a Satan worshiper who wished to die a violent death.
He died a violent death with the help of his friends.
Think about it.
Think real hard.


Summer of '71 Chapter 17

It was hard to believe the truth, but there it was. A 20 year old young man was dead, and I had found his body floating in a lake in an abandoned sand quarry.
This young man was murdered, but not murdered.
It was a sort of suicide, but with a little help from some friends.
I couldn't believe what the newspapers were saying.
This guy from Vineland had convinced his two teenage friends to tie him up and throw him into a lake so he could die a violent death. He needed to die violently, he told them, so he could serve Satan and command a legion of demons.


Summer of '71 Chapter 16

Think hard, real hard. How persuasive do you think you could be? How much influence do you have with your closest friends? Could you get them to believe something supernatural? Could you convince them that another world exists, and that they could help you get to that world?
Think hard.
Think really hard.
The newspapers are hitting the pavement.


Summer of '71 Chapter 15

Usually you don't have much to say to your parents when they ask you how your day has been.
Of course my mother didn't believe me at first when I told her I found a dead body floating in the lake we went to swim in. She had been just as perplexed about us all going there as the police had been. What's the big deal, anyway? If we had all decided to go down the shore for the day nobody would have questioned that now, would they?


Summer of '71 Chapter 14

So here we were watching the Vineland/Millville area's finest investigate what appears to be a murder at the Menantico Sand Wash. The sandy soil is making life difficult for the patrolmen and detectives. They slip and slide down the incline towards the body, and several of them lose their footing, and they tumble towards the water's edge. They take photographs and scour the scene for clues, and then they wait for the coroner to arrive.


Summer of '71 Chapter 13

The day wasn't going as planned. What was supposed to be a day of fun in the sun had suddenly turned into a murder mystery.
It had to be a murder, right? You can't tie your hands behind your back.
We had to go to the police. Which police? Were we in Vineland or Millville? Who could tell? None of us even knew where the police stations were around here anyway.
Wait a minute. Those two boys hanging around, they're local kids, they must know where the police are.
So Sherri and I and the local kids are in my 63 Fairlane heading for the police.


Summer of '71 Chapter 12

A beautiful summer day in June, and I'm getting ready to swim out to a dead body in a lake in an abandoned sand quarry somewhere near Millville or Vineland.
A dead body?
What am I doing here?
I'm pretty tired from swimming out there and back from before, so I decide to take a small inflatable raft, you know, the little ones you use in swimming pools.
Sherri Ehlers says she'll go with me for support.


Summer of '71 Chapter 11

No one believed me. Not John or Keith or Lynette or even Sherri.
"He's pulling our leg," one of them said.
"Yeah, you're just trying to prove what a good actor you are."
"You just want somebody to swim out there and make a fool of himself."
"It's just a log with some moss on it."
"Yeah, or just a turtle or something."

"I tell you it's a body," I said. "I don't know for sure if it's real or not, but that's a body out there."


Summer of '71 Chapter 10

So I'm swimming across this lake, and it's a lot farther to this thing floating in the water than I thought, so my arms are getting tired. I'm getting closer to it, but I still can't make out what it is.
It's round and dark, and it sure looks like moss of some kind in strands floating off of it.
My arms are tired, and I'm tired, but I'm determined to see what it is. Good thing the water isn't very cold or else I'd never have made it this far. They're calling out to me from the shore, asking if I can tell what it is yet.


Summer of '71 Chapter 09

We found a lake that had a relatively flat beach area, and a level enough spot to park our cars. The lake was pretty big, and the opposite shore from us rose up in a steep incline. The volley ball net was set up, the grill was ready to be fired up, and some of us were thinking about testing the waters of the lake.
The water was clear, with that tint of cedar so common here in South Jersey.

As we were playing volleyball, I kept noticing something bobbing up and down in the water way out past the middle of the lake, somewhat closer to the farther bank.


Summer of '71 Chapter 08

Two young boys walked out of a sand quarry on a moon-lit night in June. What did they talk about? How did they feel about what had taken place? What was on their minds as they headed for home? Only they knew what happened and what they had done, and what they had left behind.

Three carloads of teenagers entered the sand quarry on a beautiful day in June.
"Man, you were right, John," one of them said. " It's the perfect place. Yeah, it's the perfect place."
"Now let's get goin'!"


Summer of '71 Chapter 07

It was hot, too hot for June, and humid too. Down in the woods and sands of Millville three young boys were talking in the glow of a full moon.
The oldest of the three was doing most of the talking. He was telling his two friends what his future was to be and how they could help him achieve it.
Who knows what they were thinking as their friend explained what it was he wanted them to do.
How convincing he must have been to get them to go along so willingly.
Who knows how long it took to put his plan in motion.


Summer of '71 Chapter 06

Sex, drugs and rock n' roll. The mantra of our generation. Truth was, for me anyway, no sex, some drugs-mainly alcohol, and plenty of rock n' roll. This party John Marcone was putting together might mean I'd experience some of the sex I'd been missing. Wishful thinking, but one must always have a positive attitude, musn't one?


Summer of '71 Chapter 05

John Marcone had a plan. He knew of an abandoned sand quarry down near Vineland and Millville, and he wanted to get those of us who hung out together and go down there for a cookout and a day of swimming and volleyball. He also alluded to the privacy the area afforded for the possibility of "romantic interludes" for those among us who had female company.
"It's the perfect place for us," he said. "The perfect place for us, if you know what I mean."


Summer of '71 Chapter 04

It was April and I was warm and working inside. A shift in the dish washing room in the kitchen of Underwood-Memorial hospital went like this:


Summer of '71 Chapter 03

So there I was unloading tractor trailer loads of magazines at the Philadelphia Post Office. Heavy, heavy mailbags full of magazines. You opened the trailer and there before you was a mountain that you pulled down by hand. If I was lucky, I mean really lucky, the Post Office guys didn't have much on their plate, and I could use more than one of the portable conveyor belts. Some days I couldn't even use one of them, so I had to drag the sacks of magazines from the truck to the hole in the dock that the bags were dropped down into.


Summer of '71 Chapter 02

I didn't like college. I decided early on that I wasn't going to complete my first semester. The only class I enjoyed was my acting class, and I even cut that one a lot. I auditioned for the college theatre production, a serious work by Henrik Ibsen, called An Enemy of the People. I managed to get a strong supporting role, and that's all I lived for. My classes meant nothing for me, all I cared about was my performance in the play. I completely stopped going to gym class, which was mandatory at Rutgers Camden, and I was called into the Dean's office to explain my behavior.


Travels Out West

Patty and I traveled throughout the desert southwest of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.
The contrast between the lush greens of New Jersey and the rainbow colors out there is remarkable.
We went to the Pacific coast for a few years as well, discovering the beauty of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Victoria Island in British Columbia.

Washington and Oregon are GREEN. The rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula was simply amazing. Huge Sitka Spruce trees, moss and ferns, the air rich with oxygen.


Best Teachers

I think we should honor those souls who affected our lives the most during our tenure at Gateway.
For me it was The Big Three.

Mr. George W. Stoll- Junior and Senior English



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