I’m almost done with chapter 4 of my autobiography “Fishing”. I am trying to find a publisher that will bring my manuscript to book form. If any of my readers of this blog know of a publishing company that would like to bring this proposed non-fiction work to fruition, please let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the beginning of Chapter 4- “Fishing In The Underworld”.
Chapter 4- “Fishing In The Underworld”
When I graduated from high school in June of 1964, I prepared myself for entering college in the Fall. Having been rejected from entering Brown University, I took a last resort course and started my undergraduate work at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. With no idea of what I wanted to major in or do with my life, I pursued a liberal arts course. At Hartwick my new friends and I did a lot of drinking on the weekends. Most Friday and Saturday night were spent downtown drinking beer and wine. “Sam’s” was our favorite haunt, where we consumed a lot of beer, pickled eggs and women. They had a table shuffleboard there to add to our entertainment.
I had never delved into the world of illegal drugs, but several of friends did. In my sophomore year I succumbed to marijuana. My roommate, Harry, and I drove down to New York City on one Friday to stay at a girl’s apartment overnight. The girl’s nickname was Pepper. I’d met her in a Go-Go joint in Oneonta where she was dancing in cage stage with very little clothing on her. I was captivated by Pepper and talked a lot with her on her breaks. She invited Harry and me to Manhattan when she was done with her month long stint at the bar. We decided to take her up on the offer and two weeks later we were traveling south. I drove us down with my Triumph TR-4A and we talked about the adventure of visiting the biggest city in the states. The drive took about two and half hours. We arrived at Pepper’s apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan after negotiating the heavy traffic of The Big Apple. Pepper suggested we go down to Greenwich Village and take in some music spots. We saw The Blues Project at the Cafe A Go-Go on Bleeker Street. They didn’t serve liquor there, but Pepper whispered to me that we would get some grass after the show.
When we got back to the apartment, Pepper produced a corncob pipe with some pot in it. This was Harry’s and my first use of drugs. We each took a puff and held the smoke in our lungs for as long as we could. Harry and I both coughed a lot. After another two or three drags on the shorty pipe I could start to feel the effects of the dope. Pepper led us to her balcony on the fourth floor. I immediately became frightened about being near the edge of the building. Everything started to spin as I was consumed by total disorientation. Hanging on the arms of my chair, I turned to look at Harry. He seemed to be as out of it as I was. It was very hard to judge time, but it seemed like hours before Pepper asked us if we would like to go bar-hopping.
It was very hard to concentrate on anything and also difficult to speak. The three of us managed to get through the apartment door and started down the stairs. I can still to this day remember the experience of my roommate babbling nonsense as he struggled to the ground floor. I was as paranoid as I had ever been and swore I would never do drugs again!
The rest of our stay in New York was spent returning back to normalcy, if you can call it that. When we came down from the effects of the pot, we decided to start our trip back to Oneonta. Driving that Saturday night somehow made me realize that I would never be the same as I was before the pot. Little did I know that the next eight years would bring more involvement in drugs of various kinds. Those first few puffs of marijuana were the beginnings of my decent into hell!
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In the second term of the trimester of my sophomore year at Hartwick, I decided to establish my major in psychology. My main reason for doing this was that I hoped I could learn something that would help me with my psychological makeup. And if I could accomplish that maybe I could help others with their problems. My far off plan was to become a psychiatrist or perhaps become involved in advertising psychology. In my junior year I decided to move to New York City and study my major at New York University. At the Washington Square College of Arts & Sciences (NYU) I soon established very good grades in my course load. I was on the Dean’s List for the last two semesters and was elected into the National Society For Psychology (Psi Chi). This was a lifetime organization that would in later years become the International Society of Psychology. During my stay in New York I smoked pot about every weekend. This habit soon evolved into an everyday occurrence. During my senior year at NYU I started experimenting with LSD. That was mostly a positive experience, although I did have a few ‘bad trips’.
I met my future wife, Pam, who was attending Bennett College in Millbrook, New York. On weekends she would come down on the New York Central Railroad to my apartment at 515 East 75th Street. After she graduated from Bennett in the spring of 1967, she moved down to the city to live with me. She was an avid drug user also. We fostered each other’s habits as we tried things like DMT, peyote, mescaline and in later years cocaine. I guess we both thought that we were doing drugs to better our lives. After graduating from NYU in October of 1968, we travelled in my Porsche 912 to California where my parents and brother lived. All thoughts of pursuing my psychology ideas faded into oblivion. During this era of Flower Power and Hippiedom, Pam and I surrounded ourselves with other drug users. It was the ‘in’ thing to do.
I did very little actual fishing from the time we left New York until I got sick of California, the drug life, and fell into mental troubles. My whole world seemed to fall apart after coming back to New York State (where I grew up). I gave up the pot and cocaine, but I thought it was too late. I fell into a metaphysical psychosis during which some very strange occurrences took place. I thought I was in heaven at times and in hell at others. If you’ve never experienced some of the more debilitating mental aberrations, you won’t really fully understand what this occult world is all about. In the ensuing chapters I will try to impart what underworld fishing is about and how it has led my on a path of first, losing my self, then rediscovering my psyche and eventually arriving at a point where I could, in fact, help God save souls. This may disturb some of my readers, but I just decided that I had to tell my story of descending into a world like Dante’s “Inferno”, and then, over a period of some forty years, climbing out of that awful hellish world into salvation.
God is on top of everything. There is nothing greater in this world or the world to come than God. Jesus Christ descended to the deepest levels of hell during his ministries in his mortal existence, and eventually rose above all the world, to become the Savior of all mankind. It is He who saved me. It is God’s Plan of Salvation to save everyone.
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While in California I did do some fishing (with a rod and reel). In Marin County I lived in several towns over a period of about five years. All of these towns were in view of the highest peak… Mount Tamalpias. My wife and I spent many hours hiking the ridges and valleys of Mt Tam. Alpine Lake was located about halfway up the north side of this majestic mountain. Pam and I fished for rainbow trout up there. It was mostly a ‘put and take’ lake (the hatchery people put the trout in and fisher people took the trout out… by rod and reel. My spinning rod was a simple glass Fenwick and my reel was a tiny Alcedo. A small trout put a good fight on this light weight outfit! The Alcedo was an open face type with a bail that had to be opened each time I made a cast. The reel was made in Italy. My favorite lure was a gold Phoebe, a tiny spoon that had a bend in it which caused it to wobble as I reeled it in after each cast. It was a deadly lure! Many trout were caught on that outfit.
My son, Seth Holden, was born on September 12th, 1971 in the French Hospital on Geary Street of San Francisco. When Seth was a little less than two years old, he accompanied Pam and me on one of our outings for trout on Alpine Lake. In later years, when my son was fourteen, he landed a landlocked salmon out of the Newfound River located in Bristol, New Hampshire. He caught it on an Orvis graphite rod (2-weight) and an Orvis CFO II reel. This was the lightest setup available from one of the top fly fishing companies in the world.
My friend, John Ruzich and I fished for rainbows up in northern California on Lake Berryessa. John and I rented a twelve foot, V-bottom boat with a six horsepower Johnson motor. We were quite lucky on Berryessa, catching some nice rainbow which were cleaned on shore, taken home and fried in bacon fat, salt and pepper. Generally John and I would smoke a joint before fishing. As I look back on those dope smoking days, I figured I was the fish instead of the fisherman! I needed to be caught and saved. I knew, even back then, that God was watching over me. Even though I was taking drugs, I believed it would pass. I just didn’t know when. Only God knew that. I have faith in God!