Buzz's blog

2
loves

Back in the day, and perhaps still, some visitors to Esalen had NO idea that their cars might go down the hill with ease, but go back up with difficulty.  In the early years it was possible to drive to the other side, but that road is long gone. 

 When a visitor would leave a car, it was common practice to wait a week or two. If it remained unclaimed it would mysteriously disappear.  I drove a 57 Ford convertible, along with John Horler and a few others, for weeks.  It was just left and we figured nobody wanted it. LOL.

Buzz – November 17, 2013 – 10:51am
3
loves

In 1966, or so, Dick posted up a manifesto in the Esalen office.  Drugs were officialy not condoned at Esalen, nor was their usage encouraged. 

 Despite this stalwart stand, drug use at Esalen, was, how to say this diplomatically, ubiquitous.  I never head mention of Michael Murphy and drugs, and if he did them I am sure he was circumspect.  However, there were lots of drugs around and being used.  Mostly hallucinogens, including some splendid Sandoz Acid, briefly.   I'd name names, but what is the point. Ida and Fritz were not dopers, Michael was not, I slammed acid and smoked pot, and this was pretty much the status quo among most of the staff. There was, later, a cocaine contingent, and they were probably more disruptive and ill fated than any of the pot heads.  One of them shot himself over a large debt owed to the Las Vegas mob.  

Buzz – March 16, 2010 – 5:47pm
1
loves

Looks like one of my posts was removed for mentioning a non poltically correct event.  Too bad.

Buzz – March 14, 2010 – 9:33am
5
loves

This took place around 1967. IIRC. The years fly by.

 

To make the story complete, you have to understand Helmut Deetjen. Grampa Deetjen was a crusty old guy, to say the least. He was known for coming into the tiny Deetjen's dining room, spotting a man with beard or woman with beads and patchouli scent and going ballistic. He would get red faced and yell: "NO HIPPIES!" "GET OUDT",like some pre Arnold Terminator. At one point he put up a "No Hippies" sign. Ed "Guardian" worked there then, an extremely gentle man who gave away little bells. He could never tell someone to leave, so the errant hippie would come in, be seated by Ed, order and sit and enjoy the wonderful ambience. Mozart, Vivaldi or Bach would play in the background and the sun limn the leaves in the front window. Peace

 

Buzz – April 14, 2009 – 7:05am
3
loves

I had fun at the track, however came home to get a sad phone call. My friend Bess, whom I have known for 22 years, and who has played an integral part in my growth and spiritual journey, told me that her tumor count was sky high.

 

She was diagnosed three years ago with stage four pancreatic cancer, a disease that kill most within a few months. She has survived so far and thrived, finishing the Kaiser Half Marathon in San Francisco a month ago ( 13 miles). The day she called she was on her cell phone half way through a 12 mile walk. She has always been an incredible being of light and strength.

 

I have known for three years that the chances of her long term survival were small ( about 5% of similarly diagnosed make it three years.). She is in my thoughts and always will be.

Buzz – April 14, 2009 – 5:53am
5
loves

I must be catching up for lost time :).

 

In 1966, and I apologize if I have mentioned this, there were two Michael Murphys in Big Sur. One at Esalen, one at New Camaldoli, the one at New Camaldoli was the manager. Michael at Esalen was known by old timers as "chocolate Michael" because he was so sweet.

This was probably 1966. Michael was driving around the US drumming up interest in Esalen and meeting people and doing the networking and facilitation that made him who he is. He had a new Chevy Nova, IIRC.

Buzz – April 4, 2009 – 8:53am
8
loves

Dennis Murphy was Michael Murphy's brother, a Hollywood producer ( The Sergeant) and an amateur boxer. He and Michael were the children of John Murphy and his wife ( pretty sure it was John). I am sure many of you have read the story of Dennis chasing Dick Price with a pipe. It is true, I remember it to this day. Dennis felt he had a vested interest in what happened at Esalen, because the property was partially in trust to Dennis' kids. So Dennis (Denny) and Dick fought like cats and dogs.

 

At this time Denny was married to Daryl. She had a small very yappy dog named Zipper. Zipper was a major ankle nipper and troublemaker. Denny and Daryl were living in the Big House, Peter and Marya (Mickey) Melchior were living in the little house, where I dropped by every day for coffee. Marya boiled grounds in a big pot and threw in an eggshell. So I walked to the little house daily, and Zipper messed me with daily.

Buzz – April 4, 2009 – 8:25am
2
loves

I am going out of town to the racetrack for a day. I won't be around for a bit.

 

This really should be titled: "How Alan Ginsberg cured my vision"

 

When I first came to Esalen, before I worked there ( and for a few years on) the baths were open to the public. John Murphy's lease with Esalen (Denny and Mike's father) required the baths to stay open. Eventually a means of keeping them "open" by invitation for a short period at night was reached. In the meantime, the baths were open, and anyone could come down, pay a few bucks, and take a bath. The old regulars included Charlie Tuesday, an old gay man from Monterey who came down every Tuesday, though the gay clientele at the baths had pretty much disappeared by 1965, prior it had been a popular hangout.

 

Buzz – October 28, 2007 – 6:39pm
4
loves

At the start, Esalen was separate and distinct from The Lodge, or Big Sur Hot Springs Restaurant, which was run by Jimmy Sellers and Peter Melchior. Bob and Rosa Nash were not there when I started, though still in Big Sur. Joe Adams was peripherally connected to Esalen ( sweet man).

 

The restaurant served meals to seminarians and staff. As is often the case, restaurant workers are not strangers to hard partying and drugs. There were many days when the breakfast cook would wander into the restaurant 30 minutes late and terribly hungover. Ron ( whose last name I forget, big fella), John Horler, Alan Romero and a couple others were cooks at the time. You can see John Horler's batiks in the Big Sur Folk Festival video. I also have one on my living room wall.

Buzz – October 28, 2007 – 8:51am
4
loves

I have had several requests for more stories from the early days at Esalen. I intend to keep posting as long as I can remember the rich variety of experiences. It is my pleasure to provide this transitory window into a history of a place that remains unique. My viewpoint may be fairly unique, I was an "outside" worker at Esalen, and thus like a fly on the wall. Staff was inside and outside at that time, office, housekeeping, etc, and construction and maintenance.

 

Anyway, any requests will jog my memory, so feel free. As I age, my memory has begun to fade. Hopefully I can get this down.

Future posts will include:

The Omellete

Alan Ginsberg, Peter and Julius Orlovsky and I meet at the baths.

Fritz meets his match.

Michael Murphy and tuneups.

Dennis Murphy punches me out.

The Grateful Dead at Esalen.

Undercover

Ecologically unsound

Big Sur Folk Festivals

Buzz – October 28, 2007 – 8:39am
5
loves

Gia Fu Feng was certainly important at Esalen, his practice was a wonderful counterpoint to the often rowdy and loud encounter and gestalt therapies that were so vibrant in the early days.

Gia Fu was probably the embodiment of the " inscrutable oriental " ( no PC comments please, today it would be the Asian with cultural differences), and that would be almost certainly because he found himself the single Asian at Esalen at the time ( as far as I remember) and also foreign born and not at home with the language. I admire him for his struggle to keep his own presence and being in that time. I liked him, I was a kid and he was kind and seldom angry. I remember seeing him angry once, arguing with Dick Price over money, said arguments happened a bit back then, when money was a scarce commodity. I started out at $200 monthly, room and some board.

Buzz – October 28, 2007 – 8:23am
3
loves

I have posted a couple more stories about the early days on my Blog

Buzz – October 25, 2007 – 7:45am
5
loves

I was a kid at Esalen, the next to youngest person there, and many of the older staff were quite kind to me, especially some of the older women (sigh).

Fritz Perls was an irascible sort, he and Selig were quite close, both European Jews, both smart, tough, and leery of the charlatans of the world. He was never very friendly to most.

 

Once, when I was helping him move into his new house high above the property, I jumped out of a moving truck and sprained my ankle. He came over and told me to sit down and stop being a fool. He then said: "I used to be a doctor, let me see it." He gently probed the ankle, said it was sprained but ok, and again remonstrated with me about my recklessness. He was to do this more than once in the time he was there.

 

Buzz – October 25, 2007 – 7:36am
8
loves

In the sixties, many social and cultural trends were undergoing profound change. There was a war in Vietnam, and a huge anti war movement. Esalen was never an antiwar nexus, it was then a quite apolitical place.

 

In the winter of 1967, IIRC, a typical Big Sur rainstorm was coming in from the south. High winds and blustering rain were beating on the grounds. At this time, the area to the west and north of the parking lot circle was just a big empty grassy field. The original Hot Springs cabins were all that were there, several below the staff housing, and probably 20 above the lodge. No Firo ( the "new" building above the path to the baths), no new cabins anywhere. Staff lived in tents, cabins, treehouses, and whatever.

Buzz – October 25, 2007 – 7:28am
7
loves

In 1965 I was studying at UCSB, had changed my major to Physics or Chem, I forget. I had a friend named Jerry Paulsen, a skinny geeky kid from the midwest who was insanely smart. At the time, and still , UCSB was a pretty preppy place. Jerry told me about this place called Esalen, where George Brown, his prof, was going to give a seminar. At the time Big Sur Hot Springs (IIRC) was still he business name of the Lodge, and the sign at the top of the hill, possibly carved by Jay Kipp, still said Big Sur Hot Springs.

So I made the trip up with Jerry, and that was a huge turning point in my life. I LOVED the place. The people were great, and different LOL. Jerry introduced me to Dick Price, and I started bugging Dick every day,"Dick, do you have a job for me yet?" Finally he took me to Selig (Captain Slag) and said: "Selig, this is Buzz, give him a job."

 

Buzz – October 24, 2007 – 1:16pm
6
loves

I heard that expression from an old time Big Sur resident about 1965 or 66 when i was at Post's for the tuesday night mexican dinner cooked by Rudy. That was the old Post's Restaurant, gone now for 35 years or so.  I doubt anyone here would remember it.    I worked at Esalen in the sixties, when it changed over from "Big Sur Hot Springs".  Selig and I carved the sign that still resided at the top of the hill. The stab wounds in the sign were courtey of "Robot" an ex carney who wa an employee around 69 or 70.

Buzz – October 24, 2007 – 11:54am
Syndicate content