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The MOST Newsletter   Summer 1999 Volume VI #2

The Next Morning Star New Mexico Installment
by Pam Read Hanna -- 5/9/99:

"Yes, You guys definitely need to at least see the new Morningstar!" Lou said when he found us in our little Arcadia. We were camped in the wilderness of New Mexico by the Pecos River.
Lou had come down with Larry's brother Fred, who'd lived with us in Wheeler's Canyon where Psyche was born. We were all sitting by the bubbling río and Psyche was in my lap now, nursing. She looked around, wide eyed but contented, as babies do. Larry was picking out glittery chords on his guitar and blending them with the song of the río. Siddhartha was running circles around us, hiding behind trees and peeking out and laughing as three-year-olds do. He was pleased and excited by Lou's visit and Lou was delighted that Adam Sid, #1 Hippie Kid, seemed to remember him. Lou was always so great with kids.
Siddhartha had probably forgotten his winter birthday party in the snug old adobe, but now he remembered people. He knew his Uncle Fred and when Lou came, he gazed raptly at the maestro for the longest time and then when the adults started talking, he pranced back and forth on the log that spanned the water. Lou noticed him and commented, and our little dandelion-thatched Siddhartha stood there beaming at us all from the middle of the log.
"Careful now..." Lou started (he himself had come over that log most gingerly, slowly, and carefully with the río boiling underneath).
But Larry put out a staying hand to Lou. "He knows what he's doing, man," Larry Reggie led, shaking his head back and forth the way he does. I remember thinking at the time about something Joanie had said once: "This is a perfect moment. I must remember this moment and keep it forever."

Siddartha, Psyche and Larry Read at Servilleta ghost town"
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
Lou grokked the whole scene the way he does and carried on. "Love divine," he intoned, singing, "I am thine, thou art mine, love divine."
He had learned the mantra in India from his guru Chiranjiva, We wanted to know all about Chiranjiva and Lou's and Rena's stay in India, but that was already in the past. Now the maestro was into the moon landing (Lou was the one who brought us the news about "the giant leap for mankind" and we buzzed about that for awhile). But what was most on his mind in that particular now -- was Morningstar.
"They're building an adobe pueblo and they need the spirit of the tribe. They need families. They need you, dear hearts, to come home to Morningstar."
"Are there any other children?" I wanted to know.
Lou thought that Michael Duncan had a friend with children. He and Michael had met through Larry Stein Jane's brother, who was not only an alumnus of the California M*, but was among Michael's select circle of friends. Michael owned some 400 acres north of Taos, near Arroyo Hondo. His friends, Larry and Pat Stein, and Findley Hanna with his wife Cathy and four kids, were living in a dome at the bottom of the mesa (built by a character named Tahiti who rode a horse and wore a turban) like the famous domes of Drop City, Colorado, and Placitas, New Mexico, after the pattern of Buckminster Fuller. Lou had turned on the Gottlieb charm for Michael and told him about the concept of "land access to which is denied no one," emphasizing the tribal character of hippies and how we were going to build a new great society.

Siddartha, Pam and Psyche at peyote meeting - 1969
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Duncan and his friends had come to this land to start their own commune founded on the spiritual principles of their guru, Master Subramunya, but they had all fallen from grace with the latter because they couldn't seem to resist a little taste of the "sacrament" from time to time, and Subramunya had said, "no drugs, no alcohol."
I remember the conversation Larry and I had that night about going to Morningstar. We knew from experience that we got along just fine when we were alone with the kids in the wilderness, or in a house by ourselves -- but community complicated our relationship. It was certainly more interesting with other people -- and a lot better for the kids to have other adults to bounce off of -- but for some reason, in community, we would both suddenly start happening faster and our separate happenings didn't always blesh. ("Blesh", like "grok" is a science fiction term. More later about that). Nevertheless, our fearless leader had summoned us. We had to go, as Lou said, and at least see what was going on. [drum roll; music swells]
So we packed up our camp and our kids and stashed our books and winter clothes and my sewing stuff under a big tarp (to be retrieved later) and we were off with Lou in his rented car to the New Mexico Morningstar. We never called it "Morning Star East," by the way. The California M*'s did. We were east of them, but as Cindy said about the town of Truchas, "It's the wild west -- the old wild west." We knew from the get-go that we were the "out west" New Mexico Morningstar.
We arrived late with both kids asleep, stars blazing bright under the vast inverted bowl of the night sky. We bumped along the dirt road with Lou to a little kitchen camp stove with familiar faces around it -- and real coffee brewing! We hadn't had coffee in months, and there was Charlie offering me a cup of the richest and blackest coffee on the planet. I savored it, even though I knew that I wouldn't sleep that night. ["No blame" says the I Ching]. Lou stayed with Michael that night, but we put our sleeping bags out under the stars and slept on the prairie in among the sagebrush. There were no trees in the way and we drank in the stars, letting them penetrate our thirsty eyeballs.
And what a wonderful smell is sage -- satisfying and soothing and exhilarating to inhale, just like the bay laurel in California, only different. This narrative isn't a quilt -- or beads and feathers, I've decided -- but a mural sprawling across the upper Sonoran mountain lands of northern New Mexico. Hippies invaded this old and complex society peopled by Chicanos and Indians and the old Anglos. We invaded with our beads and our feathers and our mantras and our tipis -- and our kids. Ultimately, that was what clued the old people that we were people too. We had kids.

Psyche, Pam, Sage, Siddartha and Findley Hanna - 1969
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
Jeff & Laura (Al's sister) and Barbara and Reggie and Al and Jane (before they were a couple) and Larry Stein (Jane's brother) and a new (to us) person named Byron and Joe Cota and Wayman, and a couple of Indians I didn't know -- were all there around the fire and Larry brought out his guitar and we started singing "Hand me down my walkin' cane" and we were -- home. We had come back to our tierra natal of the soul -- Morningstar.
The next day, we walked all around the land and saw the intended site of the pueblo with Lou. Immediately, Larry got interested in the logistics of building with adobe. He started working with a new couple -- Paul and Rose. Paul was as much into architecture as Larry and they hit it off right away. Lou flew back to M* in the redwoods and we were on our own.
Before our family arrived, Jeffery Horton and Charlie and Joe Cota (who had once been stabbed by Pachucos in Truchas town) and Findley and Wayman and Paul had gone up into the mountains with a mule (the famous Des Montes) and brought back trees for vigas and lattias. So when Lou convinced Michael of the nobility of this social experiment and that it had spiritual precedent, Michael decided to go for it. He had already let a bunch called the Reality Construction Company come live on the land closest to his adobe 'mansion' (not really, when compared with the hippie-made adobe mansions that now exist all over northern New Mexico). Reality was more or less led by Max Feinstein, a beat poet who thought that "land access to which is denied no one" was a crock" -- and not of gold. But they loosened up and we became friends as the year progressed. Later, I would deliver a couple babies at Reality (one to Max Feinstein's daughter, Rachel) as well as babies at Lama and New Buffalo.
New Buffalo was off the mesa to the West of Morning Star. They were there before us and we admired them a great deal. Rick Klein started it with money from a family trust fund. Some of the main people were Justin and Joanne Case, George and Joyce Robinson, Cowboy Bob, Ben Eagle and his wife Chipita, Freda, and English Jane. I remember parties at Buffalo in the big kiva, and one of the babies I delivered there has become our godson, Michael Jonathan Case. Since Buffalo had a bathtub, we used to go there to bathe -- usually in the winter when it was harder to do the hot springs number. But the times that we did go with the kids to the hot springs in winter were very high indeed.
I remember an acid trip at New Buffalo. People were standing on the roofs, singing and playing music. David Pratt and Findley got into a very high rap about the web of connectedness in all things. I saw their conversation visually -- the words spinning out, creating patterns in the air.
Lama was the sophisticated commune -- the Lama Foundation. Later, Jason and Beth and I would take karate lessons from Rollo Silver. Rollo gave the lessons for free because, he said, he had to give it away to keep it. That was where Lama was at in those days. Very high. We went to Lama a couple times for specific events. Subramunya's disciple came there, and when he saw my red-headed Psyche and Findley's red hair, he said, "Ah yes, we can see whose child this is." Somehow, we didn't have the heart to tell him that Psyche was not Findley's child (but she's always looked more like Findley than Larry). I never even met Findley until Psyche was a year old. Go figure.

Completed kitchen and horno (oven) Morning Star New Mexico - 1969
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
The Hog Farm took up residence on the Talpa Road east of Taos for awhile and hog farmers came to M* to party. For a while, they were the Christian contingent (as odd as that may sound). Five-Star was a huge old white house near the Ponce de Leon hot springs. They were as loose as M* was and even poorer. People were generally younger and more transient at 5-star. I never went to Libre, north of us in Colorado, Peter Rabbit's domain, but did stop in at Placitas once when Cindy was living there, and was most impressed with their domes and their organization.
Michael had hired some local Indians, headed by Henry Gomez, Little Joe's son, and Frank Zamora (also from Taos Pueblo) to erect an adobe kitchen for M* -- so we could have a central meeting place and shelter until we got the pueblo built. The Indians were there every morning making bricks, skinning the vigas and lattias for the roof -- and they were an invaluable help in giving us pointers about our own pueblo. (Many years later, I heard that the Indian men were amazed but amused by all the nudity, in particular, the naked ladies, and I also heard that their wives, by common agreement, weren't told about the nudity until after the casa was built). Why was that, do you suppose? (grin!)

Psyche and Siddartha - photo by Dr. Manny Bomse
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The Tiwas had shown Morningstars how to make bricks. We used wooden molds and primitive pit trenches (instead of a wooden mudboat) to mix the abode. Bricks 16" long, 8" wide and 4" thick were made to the Indians' specifications. (Indian bricks are bigger than Spanish bricks.) Soil on our mesa was excellent for adobe. Fresh straw had to be chopped up fine with a small hatchet, mixed with earth, then stirred with a hoe while water was added to the right consistency. Water, we got from irrigation ditches that had to be dug from the little main acequia.
The trick was to get just the right mixture so the earth would suck water out of the bricks and the sun would boil them from above and they'd harden just enough so you could jiggle the mold up and off and start again. The bricks had to dry completely before they could be stacked, ready for building. Some broke of course, but we got better at it as the summer progressed.

Findley, Pam, kids and Dr. Manny Bomse
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
We had a routine. Women (usually) would chop the straw and after the mixture had been stirred with a hoe, one or two of us would get in barefooted and trample the mud like grapes. (Charlie was always game for mixing mud). We did this every day of that long and blessed Indian summer of 1969 -- to the tune of "Good Vibrations" and "Satisfaction" on somebody's battery-operated radio. We would get up with the early morning sun -- the smell of sage and the sound of a magpie or a sparrow hawk in the air. We would fetch water from the irrigation ditch, gather firewood and start cooking for the whole pueblo. Usually cornmeal. There's nothing like roasted and ground corn in the mornings with coffee. Later, when we had goats, there was milk for the kids. Somebody with money often sprang for a big jar of honey, but as the population increased during the summer, there was more of a run on the money for the honey and it was a land of milk but no honey. No money for honey.

Adobe bricks drying for Morning Star pueblo construction - 1969
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
Anyway, in the evening, we would have beans and rice, tortillas and chiles. We fell into the habit of only eating two meals a day because the stoves had to be fired up each time, and there was always cornmeal from breakfast or tortillas and beans from the night before for a mid-afternoon snack. Sometimes we had pumpkin seeds which we roasted and sprinkled on our cornmeal. (Roasted pumpkin seeds are way better than popcorn.)
We weren't hyper about it, but the earlier the start, the better. Sometimes we would start work first and then break for breakfast. We would take off shoes, roll up pants, and have a mud-mixing party. As the sun got hot, clothes were discarded and it was just like the old days at the old Morningstar -- everybody naked in the sun -- only now we were working and justifying our existence. We found that it was much easier to wash mud off bodies than it was to wash it -- especially after it had caked on -- from clothes. There were a couple hot springs fairly nearby, and as time permitted, we'd all pile into Joe Cota's truck with the kids and take off for the hot springs. Activity in those days was frenzied but companionable. If we learned anything from community, it was that as long as the whole group was pulling together in some kind of cooperation and communal goal, there was harmony and good vibes. It was only when all was done enough to sock in for the winter that the trouble usually started. Morning Star is an idea. We all know that. We got it and then it got us. Free land is a very high and basic concept. The fact that now it's a "concept" instead of a reality -- as it used to be -- is disturbing to me. The world has changed, even if homo sap hasn't. But the spirit is still alive. Maybe the reality will cycle round again.

First party at newly completed pueblo - 1969
(Click on thumbnails for full picture)
Michael's friends, Findley and Cathy Hanna, had four children -- 8, 6, 3 and 2 -- David, Michelle, Corrine and Raja Deva -- two boys and two girls. During the summer, Findley and Cathy and kids were living in a tipi pitched near the adobe kitchen, so now Psyche and Siddhartha had some other kids to relate to. Findley's family didn't move down to the dome until it got cold. Now as the piles of bricks grew, there had to be a plan for the pueblo proper. Several of the men got together -- David Pratt, Larry and Paul and Wayman, among others -- to calculate how many rooms we could make, who needed rooms the most, the dimensions of each room, and how many more bricks we would need. New people were coming in all the time and we absorbed them during the summer, but we only had enough bricks for nine rooms and a kiva (mostly underground so the kiva took fewer bricks) and a round tower that was to be the kitchen with a studio loft above it (later known as "David's Folly").
When we built the pueblo, it was in five sections or areas. On the south side was an L shape containing six rooms -- Barbara & Reggie's, Rose & Paul's, Byron's (with Charlie and Professor and any other single males), Roseanne and Ernest's, on the corner, then ours and then Larry and Pat's on the end. There was some contention over Larry & pat's place, mainly because in nobody's memory had either of them helped with brick making or related activities. The decision was made (this is how I remember it anyway) by default. We had barely enough bricks to do it and the alternative was to turn Larry and Pat away, which was too painful to the collective consciousness of Morning Star. Besides, Pat was pregnant.
Once we decided to pitch in and help them build, all negative feeling evaporated, and Larry got into planning his place according to Pat's specifications. On the NW side was Wayman's place (later, Beatrice and kids would live there), David & Penny's in the middle and Joe Cota & Kathy's on the end. The round tower (David's folly) was at the northeast side corner, between Joe & Kathy's and Larry & Pat's rooms. All the rooms were different. Ours had three Gothic arch windows on the outside (Larry's folly, but oddly enough, they never fell) and Japanese Plexiglass doors on the inward courtyard side. Some rooms had lofts, some had stoves, some had fireplaces. Roseanne and Ernest's was partially a pit house so that the roof was lower (I believe that was the warmest place; it was like a little rabbit warren). Joe Cota had a piano in his airy room. The plans were all drawn up and one windy day a group was out by the stove looking at them when a little dust devil came up and scattered all the papers to the winds. It was a sign they decided -- that we just needed to stop planning and start building. Vintage Morningstar.
The kiva, in the courtyard of the pueblo, was somewhat of a miracle in its own right. My brother, Bret, and his friend, Professor, got some dynamite from the local feed store and they blasted out a pit to break up the caliche for the kiva.
It was Larry's idea to set up slim vigas that would be interlocking, similar to a tipi but with more poles. They were notched and carefully positioned so that when they were raised they would snap into place. Several men took their places at each pole and then snapped it together -- like a tinker toy -- without nails, only notches. It worked! Larry claims that when he drew up the plans, nobody could understand or believe that it would work, but when it was done, Jason stood on top of it and even jumped up and down, and then people said, "Now we get it!" But Chris West, a local hippy, climbed up on top of it and said, "I still don't believe this!"
Artist Morris Graves gave us a painting for the kiva. Four valentine hearts with coals of red fire in three circles. I wonder what ever happened to that painting. I'll ask David. After the pueblo proper was built and Jeffrey had already built his own house facing Reality, BJ would later come and build a hogan on the north side and Al and Jane would build their own house to the east, and Jason and Linda would come and make improvements to Larry and Pat's place and a guy who called himself Throttle and his pretty black wife and child would build a pit house toward the mesa to the north, but for now, we would all live in the nine rooms of the pueblo with the finished kiva and the half-finished kitchen tower. It truly amazes me when I think of it -- that it was all actually finished enough to live in by the winter of 1969.
(next: Morningstar Pueblo Town)

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