Tomorrow I am going to a memorial for Dave Wakefield. I haven’t seen Dave in forty years. I just recently added him to my friends list on FaceBook. Each time I find someone I knew long ago it triggers memories, emotions and imagery. When I added Dave it felt like I was back on Old Fort Jupiter Road.
Old Fort Jupiter Road on Pennock Point had all the best of Jupiter in one place. Jupiter was a sort of redneck surfer sportsman American dream community. Any ambition was easily rewarded there in the 60s and 70s and if you lacked ambition you could just settle down and coast on the success and ambition of the community’s movers and shakers. I’m not even sure if growing up in Jupiter is a unique slice of the baby boomer experience, but we sure feel special today. At the time it was just life. We knew nothing different. We could go surfing before school and fishing after. On Pennock Point the families who lived there had it all. They had the river and a bit of acreage and privacy without encroaching zoning and HOA restrictions. The dirt road kept the traffic down. Still, I remember ruining several tires driving irresponsibly out there. It was hot and humid and jungle like. South Florida wildlife thrived out there. The families who lived out there seemed to also.
As I turn onto Old Fort Jupiter Road I pass the Horne residence on the right. Wilson Horne was strict and demanding. As a retired military officer his presence was respected and feared. On a lighter note, it is my opinion that Billy and Dawn learned about rebellion from their mother Alma. I learned the value of diplomacy from Alma Horne. She also taught me to appreciate Mexican food. As I continue driving down the street I pass the Adnot family home on the left. John and Ginette raised a brood of achievers. I’m pretty certain that no Adnot partook in any activity that they weren’t destined to master. I remember learning to love French pancakes at the Adnot home. As I continue down Old Fort Jupiter Road I eventually arrive at the Wakefield home. Cheryl was my age. She had a bunch of brothers. They were tall and blond and all American looking. They were a fun loud and friendly bunch of down to earth folk.
I remember my father asking me if I was going to Wakefield’s party one night when I was about fifteen years old. He told me that if I was going, he wouldn’t. My dad hung out at some of the teen parties and we avoided being at the same parties because it was just weird being at a party and having your dad show up. I did my first hit of acid at Wakefield’s party. I remember Doug Brooker doing a comedy routine on the back porch. I also remember sitting on the sofa with Dennis Gelsomino and asking Fanger for a cigarette. He offered to light it for me and then threw it to me. I watched the lit cigarette twirl through the air from the kitchen to the living room and I became fixated and enthralled by the sparks that crackled on the end of that cigarette. By the time it landed in my lap I was completely hypnotized until Dennis yelled at me that I was getting burned. Sure enough. I had a lit cigarette laying on my right thigh and a hole had already burned through my jeans and was working on my flesh. I still have a small scar. But no regrets.
There was something pure and innocent about those years. We really were oblivious to our own mortality. We watched our classmates die untimely deaths and we mourned our losses, but we still felt somehow invincible. And somehow we were and are.
RIP Dave. It was a great run.