Frost Valley #16 – Final Days
Bud was back in school, summer work was wrapping up on the Frost Valley estate, and I knew it was time to move on before winter made hitchhiking miserable. But there wasn’t a rush, so one day when there were no chores to do I decided to visit the Autumn-colored trail to Slide Mountain one more time. I went alone, so Bud was probably in school.
This time I encountered other climbers on the ledges overlooking the Catskills. They were young guys, mid- to late-teens. Long haired and dressed in jeans and t-shirts, they presented the perfect youthful hippie look of 1969. And they were interesting—talking of things from the planet to the stars, from books to road trips.
It was the middle of the week and well into September so I was curious about their not being in school. AHA! they assured me, but they WERE in school!.
It was a school based on Summerhillian principles named Buck Brook Farm. The school taught by doing, not lecturing. And camping in the Catskill forest was certainly something being done!
The more we talked the more they encouraged me to come and join the staff at Buck Brook Farm. The more I listened the more I came to think the Travel Gods were lining me up with a place to spend the coming winter.
One comes to trust the Travel Gods. I made sure to get directions.
Within a week Stan and Bud drove me the fifty miles from Frost Valley to Roscoe, New York, and seemed to know the maze of backroads to Buck Brook Road and the unmarked drive at Buck Brook Farm. After fond fare-wells to Stan and Bud I hopped out with my pack and walked up to the old farmhouse across a small brook.
The headmaster happened to be in. Yes, the boys had told him about me. We chatted a bit. I was assured we were not there to be friends with the kids but to be the adults in the circus. And with that I was shown back across the small brook to the largest building in the compound. There I was casually introduced to staff and kids on my way to the second floor and a room overlooking the front drive.
I would stay for a winter and a summer.