Friday, March 18, 2016

7934. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 196)

(pt. 196)
In my life I've probably gotten any
number of things screwed up, but
that's OK. The things I've mis-read
or concluded wrongly about, they
have, nonetheless, allowed me to
stay comfortable and operate well
with myself. I've felt that a person,
in whatever endeavor  -  and I guess
that means good or bad, Stalin to
some total do-gooder  -  has to feel
110% convinced of the rightness of
their cause, whatever they're doing,
or then what's it worth? It's like having
a blinding commitment to one thing.
It allows a total concentration. Better
to work intensely, I think, then to
work within a bunch of doubts.
One time, about 20 years ago, or
more, I found out about this guy,
Charles White. He was a Broadway
actor from the old days, might have
done some films too, I can't remember.
He was living in Perth Amboy for his
dotage  -  old age. That might not seem
like much, but there are  few elevated
waterfront parts of Pert Amboy, over
above the yacht club area, that are
stunning. Huge old homes, overlooking
the old harbor, and everything still
redolent of other times. He died some
time back. The thing about Perth Amboy
is that it's filled with stuff you never hear
about. All now has been turned to shreds,
run-about and beaten down, but if you
know how to intuit things, ferret out the
information, it all comes to you. The
past is alive, and it's real; you can walk
into it, feel it and be there. And return,
sure. There are many levels to this
existence, and they are accessible if
you make the grade and the effort,
and know how to reach. There's a whole
college of spirit guides there for you.
The point here is that Perth Amboy still
exists in its past. Charles White was at
work, when I first met him, (by the way,
you can look him up by just going to
'Charles White, actor', and clicking on),
with a historic review of what once
was called Raritan Bay Union, later
Eagleswood. In the spot by the river,
now a car wash, believe it or not (idiots!),
they tore down the once beautiful old
home of Hudson River School painter,
George Inness, about 1985. Now, Amboy
Avenue right there is a dastardly, stinking
mess. But once, long before, people
arrived by coach, and stayed for its healing
spring waters (now polluted, stopped up,
and taken underground in pipes), and
lingered for the healthful heights and
atmospheres. It was actually considered a
healing atmosphere and a healthful spa.
There's an old 1920's building crumbling
there now, engraved on its concrete top
with 'Perth Amboy Water Works' built
right over the spring waters, and next to
the present day's, large, car wash and
waiting areas. Pretty gross. The old Inness
House was great. I used to go there just
to gaze at it and imagine, and feel the life.
In its last twenty years, also, sadly, it as
used by an auto-parts/junkyard. They used
it as their storage building, and it was just
filled with car parts and metal heaps,
wraparound porch and all. High across
the roadway, some nice heights, were 
once the grounds, farm, and buildings 
of a utopian community, called 'The 
Raritan Bay Union.' It was renowned, 
visited by any number of the 
Transcendentalist School people of 
the day, carried forth an educational 
and idealist program befitting the 
wealth of knowledge and growth 
then prevalent. Utopian ideals. 
Elevated thinking. This was all 
hard for me to take; the way it was 
all slowly wrecked and just all 
ignored and taken down. These 
were grand and royal days, mental 
and cerebral days, and they'd all 
once been right there, now gone.  
I was angered. Up atop that hill,
facing the Raritan waters, was once
the Utopian community of its day.
Charles White was researching it, 
finding it. There really wasn't much 
there; underfoot was nothing but  - if
you can believe this  -  layers of asphalt
shingles over the dirt, from years of
dumping (the property was part of 
US Gypsum Company in its later 
days). Cast-off, seconds or bad or 
used shingles were just layered down 
over the soil  -  which had over time 
managed nonetheless to grow grasses 
and stunted trees. There were pathways 
and open fields and  -  if you didn't 
know, and if I hadn't just told you  -  
you could get away with thinking it 
was nice, grassy highlands. Where 
the grand, old buildings once were, 
you could only surmise. There were 
etchings and photos of ruins and old
maps. We went to the Perth Amboy 
Library once, about 1988, to find 
out what we could. The place was 
a shit-hole; stuff falling out of broken 
bindings, the local history collection
all unkempt and dirty, the local maps 
and reference books all wrecked. The 
rest of the place looked like some 
horrid Spanish schoolroom  -  plastered 
up window frames, ruined doorways, 
noise everywhere. It was hardly befitting 
a library, especially an old one in a 
nice building. Amazing how everything  
-  from their own 'Utopia' to their once 
proud library  -  was left to dissolve 
away to nothing. No one on staff knew 
a thing of what we were asking. Charles
White died a little after all this, sometime
in the 1990's. I forget. I don't think he ever
finished his project, though he may have 
made a short film or slide show about 
all this. A few developments occurred
right after his time there, which we
noticed. All of a sudden our 'fallow,
abandoned' land I guess picked up 
some importance. A new bridge went 
up, replacing the beautiful, old 'Victory
Bridge', with its watchman's house, and
its control tower for opening and closing,
(one of my motorcycle buddies was a
bridge-attendant right there, back in
those days). The new bridge is an overly
high arc, modern in its junk-use of space
and design. And, to make matter worse,
whoever it who does this stuff put a 
roadway right through it all  -  wide,
paved, smooth, and little or seldom 
used. It goes, really, to nothing  -  just 
a still decrepit, old waterway. But it's the
main entry point now for some sleazy,
junky harbor-cruise dinnerboat crap that
runs out of there. Really despicable. The
past is just thrown to the dungheap of
time. After the utopian community
failed, sometime around  the turn of 
the last century, what had been The 
Raritan Bay Union was 'taken over'
and re-utilized as a military school.
Can you believe even that! I often 
written about how Moloch, in the 
guise of Government, takes over, 
hides and conceals, places where
the real spirit of freedom of liberty 
exist. This is a perfect example. They
squash anything real with their own
Lucifer concepts of rank and order.
Rationality kicks you in the face, 
thanks. I'm glad I was free of all 
those fetters early on.
There's lots more to all this Perth Amboy
stuff, and I'll be getting there eventually.
Avenel to Perth Amboy is, maybe, 7 miles.
Lucky number, that '7'. Oh, one last thing,
and this too is true. Long about 1969, I 
was working some for New Jersey 
Appellate Printing, that place I've written 
here about, in the current Bitting's Brewery 
space, back when it was still the original 
granary and rail siding. There was a 
singer of sorts named Marvin Gaye. He 
came to Perth Amboy to give a small 
series of concerts. It was Black Power 
days, back then, and everyone  -  even
R&B singers  -  were getting all 
psychedelic'd up, hippiefied. We did 
all the printing for those two concert 
nights  -  program booklets, tickets,
flyers, etc.  Marvin Gaye was staying, 
for about a week in one of the duplex 
garden-apartment things they'd built 
across from the big car-wash, where the 
Inness house was when it was still there.
Marvin Gaye and his little possee, 
angry-looking black dudes all, they'd 
skipped out without paying their printing 
bill  -  maybe 700 bucks, as I recall.
They answered no contacts, nothing  - so 
I was selected to go there and retrieve, 
or attempt to retrieve this money due 
from their receipts  -  these angry black 
Stokley Carmichael type black dudes
all angry and juiced up on their black-power 
rant and riding high. Little old white-boy 
me, sent to collect. Perth Amboy here I 
come! I got there and they glared at me. 
I mean glared with a glint. I could sense 
the carbines and stilettos coming out
(and, ladies, I don't mean heels). I said 
my piece, feebly I guess, got turned away, 
went back to Woodbridge, told my tale, 
to Ron Anzivino, my boss, and we 'wrote 
off' the bill. Just gave it all up.

No comments: