I can't remember more than that, really, just shards of semi-events and splinters of motion -- the Baker Mansion (photos here by fellow XQB Tom Foxmarnick, thanks, Tom!) was the grand heart of my Kubert School experience from September 1976 to our graduation in the spring of '78, and a bit beyond. I've no doubt my dream was inspired by recent events at The Center for Cartoon Studies; it's been a remarkable month or two this semester, and this time of year -- as fall grows colder, and winter's temperatures ease in, and it's ideal to stay in and draw -- is irrevocably linked for me with The Kubert School experience.
Today, the school is located in the old Dover NJ school building, down Blackwell Street, which I understand has been completely renovated this year, and the Baker Mansion is now a dorm. It must be sagging a bit under that duty. In our day, it was a glorious building.
Our classrooms were in the Mansion; first year, we were on the main floor, and with the arrival of the new class in the fall of 1977 (including John Totleben, Marc Vargas, Tom Marnick aka Tom Foxmarnick since his marriage, Tom Mandrake, Jan Duursema, and many more), we were bumped up to the second floor. There was an apartment above that: first year, that's where vet cartoonist and beloved instructor Lee Elias would stay during his one overnight a week; after our second year and graduation, classmate Ben Ruiz and his family lived there, changing the complexion of the Mansion further.
Rick Veitch saw a benevolent 'ghost' on that second floor the first week we were in the building, when he and a few others waiting for their half of the carriage house (which were our dorm rooms that first year) to be ready for them to move in.
It was a blessing, it seemed, and everything that followed was indeed a blessing. My life, our lives, were forever altered, and for me it was for the better.
I just hope CCS means something like that to its students. This all seems to be working, though when it's happening the rush of hours/days/weeks/months seems breathlessly rapid. This week was a breath of gresh air, a meditative pause. That's what my dream felt tied to, stretching back to my JKS experience and memories, I think. With Lynda Barry's workshop this week, and more visiting artists to follow, it feels like we're having our visiting spirits giving their blessings, sharing their gifts, opening new possibilities and new paths. It's all good.
That's how my dream, unremembered save in fragments, left me feeling, lying in bed next to Marge and our cats Tuco (laying by my shoulder, purring as I stirred) and Lizzie. It's all good.
The new downtown White River Junction presence of poets and writers like Peter and our fellow CCS instructor (and novelist) Sarah Stewart Taylor (with whom I teach Senior Thesis Workshop this semester) is another seed in the sorely-in-need-of-seed WRJ community, and Peter's one of the folks at the heart of that, too.
This brings to mind the similarities, too, between the late '70s-early'80s depressed downtown Dover NJ experience that was integral to my JKS years and the almost identical nature of downtown WRJ VT scene. The differences are many and striking, but emotionally they're very similar landscapes: the weight of the past is heavy, the light of new growth and future potential at times blinding, in short bursts. Let's see where it goes, and what I can do there as part of it. Kudos to Peter and Sarah and James (Sturm) and Michelle (Ollie) and Matt (Bucy) and everyone behind this change, this new presence in WRJ -- but most of all, the CCS students. It's their harvest, not ours.
My paleo crony Michael Ryan just fired off these two links to me to share with y'all:
Ahem, you mean "Mario Bava," I presume, Michael! A slip of the key, and you blow the evocation, like Ash in Army of Darkness. Bravo!
Thanks, Michael, for brightening our collective Saturday.
I think I'll go reread Armies of the Night...