SO I CHRONICLESnSo I dropped out of school in gradensix and became a drifter till, many yearsnlater, I happened to read about the littlenisland in Newfoundland. I moved herenwith the intention of building a homenwith thick stone walls, of planting applentrees and gooseberry bushes, of havingncows oi- goats and Old English sheepdogs,nof filling my home with books andnpaintings and nice mugs and a few cats.nI was able to buy here a one-acre lotnwith a grand view over the sea and withna brook, for $50 — the seller wanted 20nbucks, I wanted to give at least 100; wensettled amicably.nMost of the residents of this islandnhad moved away during the precedingnfive years under the Resettlement Program,nbut a handful of families were stilln”hanging on.” I got the job of postmaster,nwhich nobody else wanted becausenthe salary amounted to barely $100 anmonth and the job required waiting twonnights a week for the early morningncoastal steamer.nA young fellow sold me, on a daynwhen he wanted money for boozenbadly, 40 lobster traps of which 25 werenstill serviceable. I obtained an ancientnrowing dory and started to fish fornlobsters in the mornings, before officenhours. I also took a job as a bartendercum-bouncernat a tavern in the nearestncommunity on the main island.nOne Sunday evening when I wasnbehind the bar, two heavy nailed bootsnand a huge bearskin coat walked in. Innthe upturned collar was a face, pale,nwith nervous brown eyes, which lookednludicrously out of proportion andnseemed almost as small as an orange.nThe personage in the coat labored tongive me a firm handshake and to saynwith a basso profunda:n”Hi! I’m Paul. You’re the guy whonlives on Woody Island, right?”nHe had something of the apostlenabout him: a nonentity raised to greatnconsequence as a bearer of a messagenfrom a higher being. He imparted thengood news to me:nA certain folksinger, who then wasnhaving a little more than the 15 minutesnof fame supposedly allotted to allnof us, had bought the 70-foot hull of anschooner which had been rotting for atnleast a dozen years on a ten-milendistant sandbank. He and his friends —nPaul among them—planned to haventhe hull towed to Woody Island, therento rebuild and refurbish the schooner,nand sail with it to tropical islands somewherenpast Tahiti.nA few days after meeting Paul Inpicked up several hippie-esque mennand women with my boat—an oldn21-foot punt with an even older onecylinderngasoline engine. It was a verynwindy day. I kept the boat and passengersnas dry as possible by steering intonthe wind and then letting the boat runnahead of it, following a zigzag coursento the island.nMy passengers were not pleased. Inwas informed that Paul had captained ansailing schooner in California, that innone great storm he had tied himself tonthe mast and steered the schooner tonsafety when everybody else aboard wasnsure of disaster. So Paul took over thentiller and steered a straight coursenacross the wind, which had all of usndrenched before long and some of usnrather green in the face. By the timenwe arrived at the island, Paul and thenothers were very angry at me and mynstupid boat.nThe former mayor of Woody Islandnand I had together bought — veryncheap — a three-bedroom house withntwo bay windows and a great view,nsimply to keep it from being left tondecay or vandalized. We put the housenat the disposal of the newcomers. Theynsettled down to await the coming of thenmessiah who would take them tonparadise—the Folksinger was on tour.nHe sent his friends frequent spiritualnsustenance in the form of pound cakesnof marijuana.nI really cannot remember anythingnthat these people did other than sleepntill 11 or 12, and then have breakfastnwhich merged into lunch whichnmerged into supper. After supper theynplinked a bit on guitars, and got readynto write poetry that was never written,nand talked about geodesic domes, andndrank herbal tea, and smoked up. Onnnice days they came outside for a whilento sun themselves and watch the localsnwork. One of them started a collectionnof scrap metal, which he laid out innfront of the house till it covered part ofnthe road. And they filled a calendarnwith outraged comments about autumnnrain and fog, and winter snownand ice.nThey drove Paul away long beforenthe Folksinger showed up. They couldnnot tolerate his incurable hankering fornjelly beans.nnnHe went. Others came. Heavynboots, bulky coats, strong handshakes,nand fake folksy speech (like sayingn”purty” for “pretty” where one wouldngenerally say “interesting” or “nice”)nwere de rigueur among them. Theyntalked about erecting a 30-foot-highnteepee and living in and around itnnaked, and complained because nonorganic rice and beansprouts werenavailable at the little island store.nFor whatever reason, I became verynfond of a fellow who liked to be callednthe King and who described himself asna “published poet”—his work turnednout to be about 20 typewritten pagesnstapled together. He was probablynclose to 40, for he was a deserter fromnthe American army. He always sportedna red woolen scarf that was at least tennfeet long — the ends touched thenground — and a toothy FDR grin. In anpeculiarly American manner, he knewneverything and nothing. He could dismissnany topic with a couple of sentences,nbut could not maintain annintelligent conversation on any subject.nStill, the fellow was wonderfully enthusiasticnwhen I lent him my volumes ofnLord Macaulay’s History of Englandnand spent hours repeating to me whatnhe had read.nThe girls had no doubt that theynwere liberated and spiritually far abovenNewfoundland women. But theyncooked and slept with men whonshowed very little sense of obligationntoward them. At 19, Barbara had alreadynhad two abortions, because, asnshe said, she did not believe in interferingnwith natural sex, while on the othernhand her man said that he was notnready for fatherhood yet. She was eatingnseveral prescription pills a day tonrepair the ravages of some fad diet.nLindsay’s tales could fill a wholenbook. She was a slender girl in her laten20’s, with a somewhat adolescent bodynand a Cinderella air. Among her manynpeculiar habits was that of showing allnand sundry a photo of a shallow pondnand trees beyond; she stood knee-deepnand naked in that pond, surrounded bynhalf a dozen naked bearded fellows.nLindsay had found her prince: thenFolksinger. She had born him a daughter,non the kitchen floor of a commune.nOf course, she told me, thencommune members had cooked thenafterbirth and eaten it. And now thenprince had graciously conceded thatn