Part Four – The Summer of 77

Yes, yes, yes, I said I’d write about being an unemployed Art Education Major at Delaware State. Well, this leads up to that.


Rachel asked me to move out in May of 1977. I really thought she could’ve given me another month. I mean, in another month I would be out of the service. Oh, well.

I ended up moving in with a few other guys still in the AF. I’m sorry to say, I can’t remember any of their names or even what they looked like. I knew them, but it wouldn’t appear we weren’t very close.

I do remember that one of them had the complete collection (complete at the time) of Steely Dan. I’d never listened to Steely Dan. I really like Steely Dan. Thanks, whoever you are/were.

Shortly after getting out, I moved to a very strange little trailer park in Camden Wyoming, Delaware. That is a real place. We called it the “Ozone”. My friend Dave and his girlfriend Sheri lived there. Actually, Dave and his wife had lived there first. Hmmm, considering Dave and Sheri got married, Dave and his wife lived there again. I ended up sharing a very beat up trailer with a great although seriously insane guy named Marty.

Since I mentioned it, Dave and Sheri got married. I performed the wedding, in a forest. And just how would that happen? Years earlier, while in basic training, I saw an ad in the back of an astrology magazine. “Lifetime Ordinations. Five Dollars”. How could an excommunicated Lutheran resist? I got a beautiful certificate and an ID card to carry in my wallet. It was great at parties. Anyway, Dave and Sheri decided to get married. They weren’t members of any church and getting married at City Hall didn’t seem like a lot of fun. “You’re a minister, Dean. Find out what you need to do to marry us.” It was pretty easy once I got to the right department of the State of Delaware. I had to sign a 3×5 card and give them the name and address of the church’s headquarters. Ab-bra-ka-dab-bra. I had “the power vested in me by the State of Delaware.”

I ended up performing all sorts of weddings after that. My standard fee was to be invited to the reception to have all I could eat or drink. Having no other means of income, free meals came in handy.

That’s not exactly true, well, the income part, the rest is true. I collected unemployment that summer. I believe it was something like $90 a week. I had to go look for a job every week. I was a highly trained computer operator in a place and time unfit for that particular set of skills. Funny, the local 7/11 didn’t need any computer operators.

I met a lot of people that summer. A lot of musicians for some reason. Marty and I had some adventures.

And then there was that field of marijuana Dave found on his birthday.

Okay. Next time my own version of “Stranger in a Strange Land”. Dean goes to Del State.

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