Rewiring the System


Looks Like the Island of the RedHood website is Down

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on July 5, 2009
Tags: ,

Someone found my site for some stories I wrote about my days at the Island of the Red Hood.  Those were times of peanut butter by the spoonful out of the jar.  In fact, I learned that style right there in a circle of intelligent creative people.  I would never call any of the people living on that scrapple land Hippies.   In fact, I was a high achieving person with real artistic skills who chose to languish among the relaxed as an experiment in rural living community.

Richard Chalfin was following Maryhelen there because his penis directed him there.  I did not have a penis pointing at or into me the whole time I lived in a closet off the Kitchen.  My favorite memories are about the tin tub carried into the kitchen for an old western style bath.  Wish I had a special drink while I soaked in twice used warm water.  Did I ever get to be the first in the bath water?  I guess, since I came with big handfuls of real cash, from my teaching job at Girls High in Philadelphia and the Parkway program, they acquiesced to my primary bathing position so that I would go along to the store and pay for the coffee and such.

What a time that was.  People had direct contact with Owsley acid and seemed to float near the tips of the endless fields of green grass.  I got letters from around the world because I was included in a Genius group. Imagine getting the amazing stories about mind reading in a 8 x 11 heavy brown envelope!  What a treat.  Though the whole thing was right out of a comic book, I took it all in stride.  The real artists made pottery and the famous porcelain buttons.  I have in the bottom of my sewing basket a paper card with a few white with green triangles handmade buttons.  Did Mary Clair Richards make these buttons?

She was the real sophisticate in the circle.  Wherever she was, she became the timber of the place. In the subways of NY City she seemed the upper east side and in the mountain folds of Hinton West Virginia she was a total mountain girl.

There was a nanu second when I looked around for a stone smith to learn how to shape the local stone so I could build a house that the big bad wolf would not blow down.  But when some mountain men threatened my life if I wanted to learn their sacred mountain skills I thouoght twice and remembered that there were houses already built in the cradle of liberty that I called home before I took that first class red velvet train ride.

Going to the bathroom meant wrapping up and walking a while to the outhouse whose door was complete with a gibbous moon cut out.  Grand vistas of clear crystal sparkling icy bold stars dusted the space every night.  There was some important comet; I forget the name that fired across the night sky for several nights in a row. I am sure if someone was interested in knowing just which comet I saw the dates could be overlaid with the comet history.  I do not have the time or interest I would lay on the grass wrapped in my heavy wool blankets and just look up.  Serious, the most beautiful star was my favorite companion during the dreary uncoupled nights.

Whoever did the search for Island of the Red Hood did me a wondrous favor. Floods of stories have come splashing in my consciousness so there will be more scribbles.  Would you please contact me since I would love to talk about the place and those times.  Poets, painters and many sorts in between came and went in fashionable mint Saab convertibles as well as other more mountain worthy vehicles.  I was so naive that I actually thought I was part of the group but found out rather quickly I did not have the right stuff.  To this day I am marginalized by those still in semi contact with me!

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18 Responses to 'Looks Like the Island of the RedHood website is Down'

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  1. ken said,

    I grew up not far from Hinton in Bluefield, which you may have heard of in your time on the “island.” I caught the tail end of the sixties, graduating high school in ’69 and going off to a large state school in the Midwest where I abandoned God (a mistake) and everything my Dad ever told me (a correct choice).

    From the looks of me I became a hippie and lived in semi-communal arrangements for a time that were actually a condition of homelessness more than anything. Yes, I figured out a way to kill Nixon and get away with it, tripped on acid to a point where it got kind of boring, smoked acres of pot in my time, and devolved to barbituates and amphetamines that should have killed me and almost did on two occasions. John Lennon also became my leader and also the one who pointed me to the fact that this, whatever this was, wasn’t getting it, and there had to be something else. The smugness of being hip and different and tuned in and turned on etc. was largely a load of crap.

    Trips home to West Virginia brought me into contact with old friends who had embraced the waning counter-culture movement at the time. Fiddle conventions brought us together to smoke dope and ogle hippie chicks bathing nude in lakes and ponds.

    It was on those trips that I heard about the Island of the Red Hood. (I’d love to know how it came to be named that.)

    As a native West Virginian it fit into the life that most people, blinded by stereotypes out of “Deliverance,” don’t know is there: Volvo-wagon driving earth mothers and cleaned up hippies usually from D.C., but also points east as well.

    Ok, it all went away. The McGovern volunteer who seriously contemplated throwing a brick through the nearest bank window on election night voted for Reagan the second time he ran; the runt who ingested incredible amounts of anything he could find felt a little silly tripping at age 27 and today at 57 can’t tolerate a Contac cold capsule; and John Lennon, for a time in his life as I later learned, had a serious heroin addiction.

    Did all that and did the Island make you and me what we are? I can only speak for myself, of course. I wouldn’t trade any of it.


    • this note takes me back. It is lovely to see the trails I circumnavigated since birth.


    • how are you doing today and where are you living?

      • Janice Starke Blocker said,

        We got the name from an actual red hood on an old jalopy. There was no jalopy just the hood.

  2. MSN said,

    How strange.

    In a conversation I was having today about an aquaintance whose name I could not remember but knew her from the Island of the Red Hood.

    With the touch of a key I find this blog. Of course it does not help me remember the name of the artist but it was still fun to find.

  3. Marcy said,

    good lord, who might y’all be? i hear the stories you tell and that I recall so well but do not know who speaks. ah, ken, you were ronald’s friend, yes? my recollection is that the red hood of an old car or truck was on the land when ronald arrived, hence, and simply, the name.

    i must get up early so can’t keep writing now. still, i will share that it was carol’s birth of robin that inspired me to become a (homebirth) midwife. i was on the farm from 69 to end 71. (age 17-19.). a BIG and precious time…love, marcy

    • Janice Starke Blocker said,

      Hi, Marcy, Janice Starke Blocker here. Hope life has treated you well. I remember how cute you were and Peter always teasing you about your huge bosom.


    • Hi Marcy..I do think I remember you. My mom’s name was Gay LaVersa and she would visit with all of us…5 kids. I was the oldest of them and was 15 at the time. I remember a few people…Carol and baby Robin. Do you remember my mother and her tribe?

  4. Kathy Solomon said,

    Ah, Ilsa! Kitchen sorceress who could make frozen white fish fillets taste like anything but frozen white fish fillets. Almost to the point that when there was precious little left in the larder but fwff, we could imagine we were eating chicken, or pork tenderloin, or maybe, when marinated long in tamari, roast beef.

    Ilsa, who told Sol it would be good for him to abstain from reading for a month, and he tried, but when Kathy arrived with Niki they thought it would not be breaking a trust if Sol were to be read TO, and so they bundled in the loft for nights and nights on end, reading the 2nd book of Gormenghast. Kathy and Sol are still bundling together at night, but not reading Gormenghast. He is usually watching basketball and she is falling asleep on the sofa.

    Niki still lives in the WV mountains, and the only reason I’ve found this site (so soon after you, Marcy!) is that I was talking on the phone w/Niki an hour or so ago, and she told me she’d heard that someone had written a book about the Island and that Ronald and Scottie were in it, and I was trying to find it online to see what it might be.

    I am going to forward this to Sol (he’s at home; I’m away). He tried for a long time to get a Red Hood reunion set up. Everyone’s too busy. And to Anita, who lived in Peter’s Chateau Rouge, downstairs from Marcy.(“my floor is your ceiling; no! my ceiling is your floor”). Anita is in Paris, aaah.

    Love, Kathy (Kay) Solomon


    • I really Loved Mary Clair Richards. I was fortunate to meet her again at Kimberton. I have a packet of her buttons at the bottom of my sewing basket and a few items she made. One is a lump of clay she squeezed right in front of my face into a seated Buddha. I have it here where I can see it every day.
      Cunningham and Cage and all the creative genius of our time. I look forward to a reunion!

  5. Marcy said,

    and me, young child that i was, recall those farmmates who mosied down from Philly as they referred to Ilsa as goddess or witch or venerable wisewoman. what penis, then, even in these heady days, would dare point in the direction of this level of womanpower?

    but, then, EVERYWOMAN there was mother-sister to me. When I never cooked dinner the women gathered me around and asked “why don’t you ever cook?” it was MaryHelen who gently asked me what I knew how to cook, what my mother made that I liked. Beef Stew. So she guided me, as if I were on some cooking-trip, with each carrot and onion and beef chunk—did we eat beef??—and that was the dinner I proudly prepared, probably the only one in my 2+ years on the Farm.


    • what fun! so the men were afraid of my sweet pussy! if I had only know my own power then. I am ready for the last great love of my life and still find men thinking I am too powerful. what a crock! I just do not see myself as other see me. thanks for the insight. I live and work in Berkeley California…
      Are you cookin’ now Marcy? hugs, …. and respect!

  6. Marcy said,

    yes, Ilse, I do cook, but my 17 yr old prefers Subway Sandwich for dinner. (At 17 I was on the Farm). I lived in SF from ’72 to ’88, now in Brooklyn. I ‘catch babies’ as my lifework. Two sons, one almost 18 and one almost 37 (the age Ronald was when I got to the Farm), 3 grandsons, the last of whom I ‘caught’ in a blowup tub filled with warm water as he floated out. I, too, look for my love; then, I was ‘floaty,’ now, invisible…love and blessings, m

    • Kathleen said,

      I found a letter just last week that you wrote me when I was pregnant with my first child, and Tim and I were moving to San Fran!! Would love to share it with you after all these years. – Kathleen (Kathy Starke)


      • Oh wonderful! Send me your number or?

  7. Don said,

    I was 12 years old when we visited my step brother and his family there. At that time, (roughly 1971 or thereabouts), the outhouse was a two-holer, with a great big picture window (no glass, of course) facing the central garden so you could watch the birds or chat with passersby as you pooped.
    Well, to a “with-it” hippie, that might have been just peachy, but this 12 year-old preferred privacy on the pot! I “went” as little as possible.


    • yes the out house was cosmic and in fact I sat there one afternoon/evening and watched an actual comet, Kehutec.


  8. Oh wow..this is exciting! In late 72…my mom, Gay LaVersa met some of the people from the Red Hood. I remember names..Marty, Micky? Or was it Nikki? A couple of Richards..one with a woman named Carol. I think they were from upstate NY which is where I am now. They had a baby named Robin. My mother, Gay had 5 of us. I was the oldest. We visited many times….and I have some good memories of the place and people there. I would love to hear from anyone.


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