1972: A Hole In The Bucket

other implements of destruction

me and Leslie, Feb 1972

My diary notes a fight I had in February 1972 with my girlfriend at the time, the Okie. It involved the song A Hole In The Bucket.

The tune has a bit of history in my family. My father used to sing it, playing both the put-upon Henry and the, er, strident Liza. But by the time we were teenagers, my sister Leslie and I had taken over the song in the Green Family Singers shows. It was our tour de force. I did the cowering bit so well that once, I nearly rolled into a pond at a campground. And Leslie was also very good in her role.

I suspect I had in my mind our version, or maybe Dad’s, or Harry Belafonte and a female singer. Here’s one with Odetta. The Okie’s rendition couldn’t compare. I’m guessing that I was wrong here, overly and unnecessarily critical. One does get a certain version of a song in one’s ear. BTW, here’s a Sesame Street take.

And other things

Besides going to class at SUNY New Paltz and the like, I used to write letters, to Leslie and to several friends I had gone to school with at Binghamton Central High School. I played 8-ball quite often; you’d think I’d get better at it, but not appreciably so.

To no surprise, I listened to a lot of music this month, Led Zeppelin III, Beatles, Donovan, plus whatever was on the college radio station, WNPC.

Feb 4 – read Ms. magazine cover to cover, even the ads
Feb 5 – The Okie tried to teach me to drive her Saab. The manual transmission did me in.
Feb 6 – The Okie, a guy named Steve and I went to see the movie Carnal Knowledge, which I thought was a good film
Feb 7 – the assigned readings to Intro to Black Studies were Before the Mayflower [which I still have], Blues People [ditto; it’s by Amiri Baraka, then Leroy Jones], Soledad Brothers, and an anthology
Feb 8 – I put a check in the bank to put my checking account $4.39 in the black
Feb 13 – Saw the movie Yellow Submarine
Feb 14 – I bought as Valentine’s Day presents two Kris Kristofferson albums, Me and Bobby McGee, and The Silver Tongued Devil and I
The Sunday News (NYC newspaper) editorial thinks this “Women’s Lib” has gone “far enough” and that we need to get back to “normalcy”; no female at Annapolis, e.g.
Feb 17 – Leslie took the bus from Binghamton to visit me; on the 19th, she went on the bus to NYC. [The out-of-focus photo is from that trip.] Later, the Okie’s car got hit, although not seriously. Leslie and the Okie’s roommate slept in my bed, with the Okie and I sleeping on a sleeping bag on the floor. “A lot of laughing and joking for quite a while.”

The snow event

Feb 20 – Digging out several cars after yesterday’s snowstorm. There was a community spirit, but also the more cars we got out of the parking lot, the more additional vehicles could be freed. Where the Okie’s car had gotten stuck the day before on Route 299 was a huge pile of snow. But eventually, we [Uthaclena, the Okie and her roommate, me and my roomie] dig into the pile with our buckets, sticks, and “other implements of destruction.” [Yes, I quoted Arlo.] But we discovered the car wasn’t there after all.

We went to the police station. The older guy there Uthaclena thought was going to keel over, and frankly the Okie and I agreed. He said the car was at Tantello’s Texaco, so the Okie wrote a check for $15.75, but we looked and the car wasn’t there.

It was actually at Uppy’s Gulf. After the woman there told the Okie how to spell Uppy’s, she announced they didn’t accept checks. So we pooled our money to pay the $15 towing fee and the $2 for “parking.” [I have the Uppy’s voided check in my diary.]

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “1972: A Hole In The Bucket”

  1. Roger, You and I met at a national SBDC function while worked at the James J. Hill Reference Library in Saint Paul. (It no longer exists.) Thank you for your post. In February of 1972, I lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and I was madly in love with a poetess. Madly in the sense of the Greek word, “maenad,” except that maenads were exclusively female. In July 1972, I bought copies of Ms. Magazine’s “Wonder Woman” cover, the first independently published issue for my Mother, my sisters, and her. I kept one. Recently, a niece visited (I live in Minnesota now) and I gave it to her. She treasured it like a precious artifact she had always coveted. I was running the McGovern campaign on campus and advising the County’s Democrats about how to market to college students to the dismay of the Humphrey Campaign’s supporters. (I am no longer a member of the Democrat Party, but I identify as a Humphrey Democrat circa 1968.) The poet Robert Bly came to read at our college and I went to a party for him at a faculty member’s place. He was like an ancient bard acting out his poetry as he recited. We were a primitive audience, imagining what the words made us see. He was jet planes strafing Vietnamese villagers and we were the gods responsible for launching them. We were in agony for what we had unleashed. In May, Nixon mined Haiphong Harbor while Russian warships were docked there. The madness took over. I dropped out of school and the poetess left me as she finished classes responsibly. I went back to working in factories. That fall, I’d flee to Switzerland and work as a janitor. So much of the worldview that influences what I believe now began as seeds planted that spring.

  2. What I wanted to tell you but got distracted is that I bought “Before the Mayflower A History of the Negro in America” by Lerone Bennett, Jr., based on your list. Thank you. — Jim

  3. Jim – I surely remember you! We talked on the phone a few times a year until we lost the national contract to San Antonio in 1998, and maybe later when we were just the NY SBDC library. We met a couple of times in person and it seems more recent than ’98, maybe the early 2000s. A least one time was at a lounge near a bar. You were a great guy to talk to. In May, I’ll write about my reaction to the mining of Haiphong Harbor.

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