Archive for May, 2016

memory march

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

two things served to jog my memory today: may 31 is the 51st anniversary of my father’s death and a facebook friend posted a pic of her family at weirs beach, n.h.

in mid-june 1965, a couple of weeks after my father’s funeral, peter weldon and peter ryerson, both motorcycle enthusiasts, were going to laconia, n.h. to take in the annual motorcycle rally on beautiful lake winnapesaukee. did i want to go? i didn’t think it was proper for me to go off so soon after my father dying but my mother encouraged me to take the trip. life is short, enjoy yourself, she said. the three of us drove down in the weldon family car, maybe because i was along, and we pitched a tent in a campground on the outskirts of town. the following morning i was up early. as I remember I was sitting smoking a cigarette at a picnic table waiting for the two peters to wake when this big dude on a throaty harley rode up and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. the early bird gets the worm. i didn’t hesitate for a moment and hopped on the seat behind him putting my arms around his foreign waist. we exchanged names before driving off through the fresh green countryside on well-paved american roads. the landscape is hilly around there and the ride was liberating. we must have been gone for a couple of hours because when we returned to the campground my friends who had naturally assumed that i’d been abducted were attempting to organize a search party. now they were aghast and just plain angry to see me astride the throbbing bike with a total stranger, and a menacing-looking one as i remember. i got a real talking-to, “are you crazy? what the hell were you thinking?’..something not very nice about strange men and much like a talking-to my father would have given me had he still been alive. later that day the motorcycle event and festivities on weirs beach degenerated into a full-on riot, at the time rumoured to be have been started by the hell’s angels (and later confirmed as such) and the national guard had to be called in. the two peters and i were caught in the melee down on weirs beach and had to take cover under a flatbed trailer to escape being hit by either rock salt, or tear gas, or bullets. what restraint the cops and guards showed. all of it was thrilling if a bit on the scary side. if that were to happen today, all sides would be armed and there’d be a bloodbath WEIRS BEACH MOTORCYCLE RIOT 1965

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