My Father and the Beatniks

My Father and the Beatniks

I missed everything...

When I was in High School, one of my English teachers was often raving about Allen Ginsberg.  As one of her top students, Mrs. W. was constantly prodding me to read his books.  At that point in time, I had never heard of the guy.  Bringing the subject up at home, I was more than slightly surprised by what I heard.


If I must complain about anything regarding my childhood and growing-up years, it's that I missed everything.  Everything interesting or important seemed to have occurred either before I was born, or when I was too young to be involved.  Allen Ginsberg and his band of poets was in the second category.


When my father was between his two main jobs, he did masonry and construction work for quite a few years.  One of those jobs consisted of working for the poets on their East Hill farm.  As a schoolkid, I could hardly believe he not only worked for these people, but had never said anything about it.  I was just absolutely amazed.  When Allen Ginsberg passed away years ago, it was not like some famous celebrity one has only heard about in the media, but someone he had actually known. 


Considering the laid-back, middle-class, community-oriented way of life of Cherry Valley, New York, it seems an unlikely place for people like Ginsberg to live.  In thinking about it, though, perhaps that is what they liked about it.  Although I, personally, have not been in that particular area for many years, I can understand why the famous and the average alike would choose to live there.  I just wish I'd had the opportunity to meet some of these literary greats while they were living only a few miles away from me.