Esther Tela Free speaks

You woke me up

October and Novermber 1995 were months of loss and change

I thought maybe moving to Brattleboro, Vermont was the answer to ease the pain of losing my father. I had the insurance money and I could go and do anything I wanted to anytime I wanted to. I didn’t owe anything to anyone. I figured that I might as well start checking out the rest of the country. I had never thought to having a future in the city I grew up in and so I figured this was my time to start taking my money and traveling with it. I’m not quite sure how Vermont came into the picture but it did .I met Heath in the Grateful Dead chatroom. The internet was still pretty new to the average person like me at this point. I had just gotten a computer in August and found a whole cyber world of people who liked the same bands that I liked.   At this point in my life, I was a hard core Deadhead.  Lucky for us, after Jerry dying, there was a need for all of us to be together as much as we could be. There were festivals in just about any state during the first three months of a Jerry-less world. Thankfully for us newer deadheads,  The Grateful Dead had their own forum on America Online.  This was the early days of AOL. YOu didn’t pay by the year, you paid by the hour. I can’t even count on two hands the amount of fake screennames my friends and I would use in order to not pay AOL because paying by the hour, when you are a mourning deadhead in a chatroom of deadheads is not one of your top priorities. I remember people having hundreds of dollars of bills every month. Needless to say, the Aol dead forum was where I lived those first three months after Jerry died and that is where I met Heath.  He was a hippie kid, like me, who lived in New Hampshire, just outside of Vermont. We decided to hang out in real life and possibly get an apartment together  in Brattleboro.  I packed up my backpack and hopped the greyhound bus to meet with Heath and spend a couple weeks looking for an apartment. If everything worked out ok then he would come back with me, help me pack up my shit and then help me drive the UHaul back to Brattleboro.

The greyhound bus motored up through the mountains and I gazed at the beautiful fall leaves of western New york.  I ended up in New Hampshire where Hearth was waiting to pick me up. The bus pulled up at night time to this small building with 2 plate glass windows and a plate glass door that opened up as the bus pulled up. It was this tall skinny guy wearing a knit hat with a ball at the end the swung as he walked towards me. He was also wearing dark brown cords and a very thick sweater in dull colors based mainly in the maroon color wheel. I came down the steps of the bus and Hearth was nice enough to give me a hug.  We weren’t there as  a couple and in fact this was the first time we were meeting in person. In 1995, meeting people off the internet was not a common thing. I usually had to lie to mom when I would tell her where I was going and who I was going wtih.

Heath’s parents were kind enough to host me for the 2 weeks we were taking to find the right apartment. Heath and I spent days searching the apartment ads in Brattleboro and scouted out the grocery stores, music stores and other various small shops that generated most of the business in the economy of brattleboro.  There were plenty of kids like us. We had no problem finding people who had things in common. After seeing a picture of Phish playing in Brattleboro around the same time I almost moved there I to this day still wonder what would have happened if I had gotten into phish in 1995 because I had moved to brattleboro.

Coincidently phish just released a new livephish download from december of 1995. I am listening to that while I write this story.

Back to the Vermont story:

We spent quite a few hours in the music shop and I ended up buying an accoustic guitar. I really wanted to learn how to play it and figured that at 21, I was still young enough to pick it up. Eventually we found the apartment that we felt most comfortable in and placed a downpayment on it.  It was the second floor of this cool house. It had a very windy short stairwell (which would mean lots and lots of fun carrying up our belongings). I knew that we were going to have the times of our lives living in this place. There were so many nooks and crannies and the place was definitely big enough for the two of us to have our own separate lives as there was never a love interest between the two of us. After finding the place, we headed back to his parents house, packed up my stuff and I returned to Michigan with Heath in tow. It was impossible for me to move an entire apartment without help and I just couldn’t find anyone who was willing to help me move, including my future roommate.  All i needed was help moving boxes and here i was seeing what my roommate was made of and it seemed like he wasn’t made of much. I decided this was a trait in a person that I was not willing to look past.  I really wanted to move to Vermont. I wanted to start my life there. But when I saw what kind of person Heath was I sent him home about 3 days before the RV rental was to be picked up.I returned all the money he was owed, and I decided to stay in Michigan.

March 24, 2007 - Posted by | 1995, America Online, AOL, brattleboro, greyhound bus, new hampshire, phish, vermont

1 Comment »

  1. Oh wait. Yes, I have. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have it in me right now to type it all out again. Besides, it was just ramblings anyway. You didn’t want to hear me go on and on about this, right?

    Comment by Boy George | May 25, 2007

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