Partial Transcript: Student: Could you tell us about your childhood, where you’re originally from?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I grew up kind of — not quite inner city, but definitely city. I grew up in Quincy, MA, and just never really thought I was going to live in the country. Always was sort of planning on being a city person. So very weird for me that I ended up out in the country. Grew up in a blue collar family. I was the youngest of five, and my mom stayed at home and took care of the kids, and my dad was a ship fitter. Very middle-class, very blue collar.
Student: Did you attend college?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I did, and that was quite unusual for my family. Both of my parents were not college grads. I have a brother and a sister who have both gone back now and gotten their college degrees, but I was kind of the only one who went to college straight out of high school. And I went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. It kind of took me a few years to graduate. It started…I’m getting 1:00ahead here, but Bob had already moved up here. And we were dating, and I was kind of…I was coming up to hang out with him and visiting him in the summers, so the last couple of years of finishing school got pretty tough for me, because I already knew I was going to be moving up here, and I was thinking “Why am I even bothering to finish this college education when I know I’m just going to go up and live in the woods?”
Student: So how did you guys meet?
Arleen King-Lovelace: At UMass. My roommate, I lived in a suite, was Bob’s next-door neighbor.
Student: But he didn’t go there.
Arleen-King Lovelace: No, he did not. No, Bob dropped out of school. He went to Springfield College, in Springfield, Mass, and he dropped out of school because it was definitely not happening for him. He just didn’t want to be in school. But he went back years later and graduated from the University of Maine.
Partial Transcript: Student: So, I guess, what motivated you guys…you said he was already living here?
Arleen King Lovelace: It’s a pretty cool story. It was pretty serendipitous. I don’t know what the word would be for how kind of your life falls into a place. You know how like, life happens when you’re busy making other plans. Really pretty amazing. So I was in school. We were kind of on again off again dating, I was thinking I was going to live in a city somewhere. I was sort of thinking California. And he, the thing that attracted us to each other is that we were both really looking to engage life. And one of the very first things we did when we were first hanging out as friends and dating was we left and went on this crazy cross country road trip. We had a couple of broken down cars, we hitchhiked, we took trains. We were gone for over a year, and we were all across the United States and Mexico and Canada. And that kind of…we both have this real zest for wanting to do something different with our lives. Neither of us really knew what that was, and we were like 19 and 22 when we did that. Then we came back. I went back to school, and he came into a very small inheritance. Like if I told you the amount it was, you’d be like “Oh, that’s not very much at all.” But he knew, as like a 22-year old, that money was going to burn a hole in his pocket. So he said, “I’m just going to buy a piece of land with it.” Which is kind of like a real random thought. No, like, “I’m gonna buy a piece of land because I’m going to move back to the land. No, he was just like “I’m gonna buy a piece of land because I’m going to do something with this money.” And so he didn’t even know where to begin, and a friend of a friend of a friend, that’s how random it was, said “If you want a lot of land cheap, I know a realtor up in Central Maine.” And Bob was like “Oh, okay, didn’t even think about that!” So he and his buddies started going up on the weekends, and this realtor in Skowhegan, of all places — it was random, just totally random — started taking him around to pieces of property. And he was looking at old farms, and he was like, “Yeah, I just want a piece of land. I don’t want a building on it. I don’t know what I want to do, but I just want a piece of land.”
So he finally brought him here, and Bob bought it, and he was just saying “I’ll just come up here to camp, I’ll just come up here to hang out.” And around that time, I was thinking “Alright, good for Bob! That’s not what I’m doing! I’m going to go to California. But good for Bob that he’s doing this land thing. Cool. I’m really happy for him.” And I started coming up to visit him, and that’s when we started just meeting the people that were the back-to-the-landers. Meeting all of the hippies. Literally coming out of the woodwork. And we were just blown away. Blown away by these people. They were just so crazy cool, and everything that they were doing was just really spoke to our hearts. And I just realized, “Yeah, you know what? I’m going to move up there.” I graduated UMass Boston. UMass Boston I finished at. Literally graduated school, I loaded up my Volkswagen, and moved up here. And I’ve been up here ever since.
So his story. He was up here. This was his property. This house wasn’t here. There had been an old farm that had burnt down, and the only thing that was on this road was this sort of shack. And he was sort of living in this shack. Still going home to Massachusetts in the winter to do carpentry and work and make some money. And one day, literally, he was up here, and there was a knock on the door, and this hippie type guy was just like “Hey! I drive by your house everyday. Why don’t you come have dinner with me?” And so Bob, they just drove a little ways up the road, turned down this driveway that you would not have even known. The driveway just looked like a path through the woods. They went like a half a mile down into the woods, and they came to this amazing house that this guy had built. And he’s got a wife, and they have kids, and they had this amazing dinner, and he’s like “Ah, you know, I’ve been up here for 12 years, and I’m kind of living back-to-the-land.” And Bob just went “Woah.” And he just realized…like I said, it just really spoke to his heart. And he went, “Okay, I want to do this too.”
Keywords: Childhood; College
Partial Transcript: Arleen King-Lovelace: But we were definitely on the end of the curve. Because we came up here in the late `70s, early `80s. A lot of the hippies that were up here were 10 and 15 years older than us, because they had moved like in the `60s. The `60s and the early `70s. So everything was like already established. To say we were moving back-to-the-land is really a falsehood. We were just moving in with a community. And then we realized, “Oh, this is the back-to-the-land movement. These are the hippies that dropped out. How lucky for us that we just bought a piece of land in the middle of these people!” We had no idea. And they helped us. They taught us how to build, how to do electricity, how to grow a garden. When I think about that now, we moved into this area, it was just in its full blossom of the real, totally, working back-to-the-land movement. People were not using money, people were bartering, people were driving really junky cars. Everyone was just living incredibly minimally. And when we came in, it was just at the peak of that. And we were blessed with all of those people and all of that help, and probably five or six years after we moved here, the decline started.
It started very slowly. And it wasn’t just that they went back into society. For a lot of them, it was that their kids were starting to become teenagers, they didn’t want to be home-schooled anymore. The kids were getting sick of living out in the woods without electricity and running water and any of that stuff. There was a lot of pressure, I think, for a lot of those people, to move into Waterville and get a real job and that kind of thing.
Student: So, since you say that you didn’t know you were going back-to-the-land, would you consider yourself a back-to-the-lander now?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Bob and I met this community, and they embraced us so wonderfully. I think part of our zeal and our zest for wanting to live differently was what, how we really attached to them. We hadn’t consciously thought, “we’re moving back-to-the-land.” But when we met back-to-the-landers, we said, “Oh yeah, that’s what I want to do.” I mean, we were a little bit younger than them, but we were still a product of the sixties. Growing up, we got the Boston Globe, everyday, the front page would be just covered with the Vietnam War and atrocious pictures and Water Gate and that movement of “Okay, we’re dropping out because this is messed up. The government is crazy, and we’re trying to fight the Vietnam War, and nobody’s listening to us, and now students are getting shot at colleges because of things that they believe in.” We were not physically there, but we were aware of it, because that was our junior year in our high school. So we were primed to be people that embraced it.
Student: We read a lot about these people who are like anti-war or anti-government. I was wondering if that kind of fed your disillusionment. Do you think that, had you found another community, that was alternative, that you would have embraced that, or is there something about emphasis on farming?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I think, I mean, it’s hard to say in retrospect, because we didn’t meet that other community.
Partial Transcript: Arleen King-Lovelace: But potentially. I think the thing Bob really fell in love with was that there was a community up here that was being self-sufficient. That was dropped out, you needed to be a part of the commerce a little bit…when we first moved up here, we didn’t even have a car. We would just head out to the street and put our thumbs out. We were like “Okay, we’re doing this without money. Totally. We’re back-to-the-land. We’re bartering for everything. So yeah, growing food was part of that, because you had to feed yourself. I totally think that you’re right. I think that no matter how much you believed in the idea, if you didn’t dig being a gardener, if you didn’t really get into…which a lot of people didn’t. A lot of people came up and were growing food and were like, “You know, growing food is really hard. I don’t want to do this anymore. But Bob like totally fell in love with growing food. So it was very easy for us to continue the lifestyle because we loved farming. And we loved that idea of being self-sufficient. Still to this day, we sit down in the middle of the winter for a meal and everything on that table we have produced. And we just feel like our impact on society so far as our trash and our plastic and all that stuff, it’s minimal. Our carbon footprint is nonexistent. Other than me driving to Colby now.
Student: So you still grow all your food today?
Arleen King-Lovelace: We sure do. We have tried different things for about fifteen years, maybe even a little bit longer. We were really growing commercially. We were supplying to farmers’ markets and CSAs. And Maine has an amazing apprenticeship program, through the Maine Organic Farmers Organization. And we used to do the Skowhegan farmer’s market. All the years that we were here I always had a part-time job at Colby. And about seven years ago they offered me a full-time job, which was like a huge change for me. And right about that same time, we started to scale back on the farming, too. When we originally farmed, we were farming for self-sufficiency. And then we moved into the commercial farming for 15 years, and now we’re back to farming for self-sufficiency. Saying that, we do a little bit of sales. We have a lot of chickens, so I sell my eggs at Colby. So during the school year, I’ve got seven or eight customers at Colby that I bring my eggs to.
Student: Are you guys vegetarians?
Arleen King-Lovelace: No. We’re both meat-eaters. One of the things we did right off the bat was we learned how to grow and raise and butcher animals. We have never moved into large scale, though we have plenty of friends that do pigs and cows. For about five or seven years we did lambs. We just did it for ourselves. We weren’t butchering and selling meat. Just yesterday we butchered eight chickens and put them in the freezer. I truly believe, and I feel really good about the fact, that if you choose to be a meat-eater, being totally part of the process and understanding everything about that process and raising those chickens from baby chicks and giving them an amazingly good life and then taking them down really quickly and as humanely as we can and just really honoring the fact that when we sit down to a chicken dinner in the middle of the winter, it is the best chicken. I mean, I would never get a piece of chicken in the supermarket, because we’ve just got fresh, farm-raised organic chicken that is just the absolute best meat in the world.
Student: Would you say your diet is mostly plant-based, though?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I would say it’s probably 75-80% plant-based. We used to eat lamb, but now we don’t have lamb anymore. So yeah, it’s mostly chicken and if a neighbor gives us some beef or some pork or something…but mostly plant-based.
Partial Transcript: Student: You said how the hippies taught you all this stuff. Can you talk a little bit more…like did they help you build this house?
Arleen King Lovelace: Uh, yeah. It was like incredible. Like I was saying, when we first moved up to this area…we were just so fortunate to just move in when the back-to-the-land movement was just really cranking. It was full-blown and it was really successful. And it was…people just embraced us. There were work parties. Like you’d expect, the old barn-raising days. You would have a day, and it would be a work party, and everybody understood that they were coming because we were mixing cement and we were pouring a foundations. And everyone showed up with their babies, their food, and lots of beer, and all kinds of different non-alcoholic things to drink. But it was a party. And it was happening all day. Houses got built because everybody came in and it was all trade, all free-trade. People just worked together. It was, “You’re going to help me build my house, and I will promise you that I will be there to help you build your house.”
We had a ton of friends that I can think of, you know, looking at this ceiling. This ceiling was done by two friends of ours, with Bob and us. It’s really funny, when we were first building. We, for a long time, we always had running water but it was just a hand-pump. It was one of the first things we did. We dug a well. People will say now, “You literally dug your own well.” But when we came, we so embraced that idea that we weren’t spending a penny on anything, that it was all coming out of our own labor…so yeah. We spent a summer digging a hole in the ground until we hit water. And that’s still the well we use.
We kind of went back and forth about electricity. And I was thinking, “you know, no. I really want electricity.” So we decided that we would get solar panels. Because we were trying to not have bills. Any bills coming into the house at all. So I was the one that learned how to wire the house. Because Bob was like, “Okay. You want electricity, you wire.” And I was like, “I’ll do it.” You know? Which was kind of the cool thing about it. Because there wasn’t anyone that said, “You can’t wire a house. What are you thinking? You don’t know how to wire a house.” The whole community was like, “Hey, we’re all..get a book on wiring and learn how to wire a house.” A couple of guys came by that had a little bit of an electrician’s background, and they helped me, and I wired this house. I did all the electricity in this house. And it hasn’t burned down yet.
But that kind of feeling. There wasn’t anything that you couldn’t do. Hippies that were ten or fifteen years older than us. They just took us and they mentored us and they were like, “Yeah, of course you can wire your own house.”
Partial Transcript: Student: When you say hippie, what’s your definition of a hippie?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Okay, so when I first moved up here, it was guys that had their hair long, with beards. People who were very comfortable just in their own bodies. Like you would show up to a body in the summertime and people would just take their clothes off. It was that whole, that sixty sense…they’re gonna try everything a little bit differently. They’re going to push the norm. A lot of summer nudity, I guess. People didn’t get married. It was a lot of people switching partners. Kids grew up in this area and there father is now with another woman, and she’s just right down the street. Kind of just blended families. Everything was questioning the norm. They’re artists, they were 19:00musicians. They were kind of funky people and they just were questioning every mooring and value. I guess that’s what I think of when I think of a hippie.
Student: Do you distinguish yourself when you think of the hippie?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I did.
Student: You did.
Arleen King-Lovelace: I did. When I first came up here, I was like…well, the hippies were before me. I wasn’t a hippie generation. Like, where did the hippie generation stop? Did the hippie generation stop at the end of the Vietnam War? Because if hippies stopped being hippies at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, I didn’t graduate high school until 1977. But yet, my nieces and nephews would say that I was a hippie. Just their memories of spending the summers up here in Maine with the hippies. And that’s what they, you know, we hung out with the hippies.
And I don’t use the term hippie in any negative way at all. It’s a very positive term for me. I truly believe that the hippie movement ended the Vietnam War. That that group of people that believed that anything was possible. That if enough of them were on the streets marching, they could end the war. That sense of power. Which came…which I think came when they decided to drop out. When they dropped out, it wasn’t like they dropped out because they felt like they couldn’t do anything. It was like, “We’re dropping out because our potential is limitless, and we’re gonna show the world what we’re gonna do.”
Partial Transcript: Student: Did you guys have children?
Arleen King-Lovelace: We didn’t. We did not have kids of our own. But one of the things that we did, we raised foster kids through Foster care. We couldn’t have kids of our own, so we kind of said, “Oh, let’s get involved with the kids out there 21:00that nobody wants.” So for about twenty years we raised foster kids. The other thing about kids, too, is the community up here, because it was so inclusive, nobody was working, nobody was doing the 9-5 thing, people would just kind of drop over. Everyone was just kind of hanging out. They’d come over, and maybe you were working in your garden that day, so they’d help you in the garden. Or maybe you were working on your house, they’d help you on your house. The kids were with them. The kids went everywhere with these guys. The community raised these kids. There was never a party here that the kids were not a total part of. And that, that’s even when…there was a lot of drugs, a lot of pot-smoking. They weren’t taking the drugs, but there was nothing that they didn’t see. That I think…I think it was just part of that lifestyle and part of that belief. They truly believed in what they were doing, and they didn’t think 22:00what they were doing was wrong. Of course they’re gonna see them smoke dope, because they think there’s nothing wrong with smoking dope. Some amazing, amazing kids grew up in this area. We talk about that a lot. Like a lot of them have now kind of moved away and they live in the cities, but I think it’s sort of a reaction to being raised in the woods.
Like this one kid who grew up north of us over in Solin. He works in the White House. He works for Obama.
Partial Transcript: Student: Would you say that drugs played a large role in the culture?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Yeah. Everything was a-go. Everything was OK. Nobody was like, “You shouldn’t do that.” at There wasn’t that level of hard drugs that there is today. There wasn’t Heroin. There was heroin, but it wasn’t out here in the woods. I think partly because people didn’t have the money for it. There wasn’t cocaine. But there was dope. There was tons of dope. There was a lot of people that that’s how they were making their money. They were growing a crop and selling a crop of dope. You get way more money for dope than you would for carrots. When we first moved up here, we were kind of blown away with that. And then there was a huge shift in the state of Maine. There was a lot of infiltration in the school system about getting kids to resist drugs. So that was really hard for these kids growing up in the woods. They were going to these parties…Maybe they weren’t being home-schooled. Maybe they were growing up in the public school system. And the authorities in the public school system were saying this kind of stuff was wrong and not to do it, and yet they were like living out in the woods where everybody was smoking pot, and they all seemed okay. So a lot of people went underground at that point. They either stopped doing drugs, or, if they were continuing to grow for-profit, they totally went underground. And all of the sudden you were at a party and nobody was talking about it anymore. It was off the table as a discussion because people were getting busted. It was bad. And the helicopters were coming over, and yeah. People were going to jail. And that shift was like in the late eighties and early nineties. Sixties and seventies, they didn’t care if people were growing dope. And then there was a change in the law where if you were growing dope, they could confiscate your property. The law enforcement was making money on busting people.
Student: Did you see resistance for the hippies?
Arleen King-Lovelace: No resistance, really. People got really fricking scared. When I say it went underground, it really went underground. Because I knew that I was not a threat to people, but I stopped hearing about it at all. Could there still be people in my neighborhood that are growing dope? Possibly, but I know nothing about it. And I think people are probably not doing that. I mean, now there’s that whole shift of those huge pot-growers who are just growing high-end weed. So people that are just growing a little bit of dope in their backyard, they can’t even compete. So that goes back to your question about the hippies. Like everything was out and on board. Everything was okay. Nobody came down anybody else for whatever their lifestyle was. Nobody was saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t grow dope.” There was no judgment.
Student: Was there any reason that the spiritual experience to be like partaking in these drugs, or was it just like I can do this and it feels good?
Arleen King-Lovelace: I think it was the second one. Historically there was, it was the hippie movement. And part of the movement was experimentation. Experimentation with free love, experimentation with living a different lifestyle. And drugs were just a part of that experimentation. Along that spectrum, there were people who did it and got really into it, and then there were people that did it recreationally. And then there were other people who were just like yeah that’s not for me. Was it spiritual? No. I mean I do not partake at all. I stopped partaking many many years ago. But it was a personal choice, and I have no problem with anyone that chooses to smoke recreationally.
Partial Transcript: Student: The hippies that lived here when you first moved, are they mostly gone now?
Arleen King-Lovelace: A lot of have gone. A lot, they’re actually becoming our elders now which is really pretty fascinating. So the history of central Maine, just north of Waterville — Skowhegan, Solin, Athens, Brighton. There was the Skowhegan 27:00School of Art, which was started in the late `40s, early `50s, so there was this really kind of Bohemian counterculture of artists who would come up and this school was…which now, the Skowhegan school of art is actually, you apply to go to the Skowhegan School of Art and it’s actually very hard to get into. Some of those first artists that knew of this area because of the Skowhegan School of Art bought old farms and they were living here. As with anything, people would maybe spend a summer up here and then go back to school and go “Oh, you know, I just spent the summer up in this really cool town in Central Maine. There’s all sorts of groovy things happening up there.” So people would come and go. It was a very fluid community. When we first moved up here in the early `80s, 28:00like I’ve said, now in retrospect, I realize it was the height of it. Maybe already the beginning of a little bit of people moving away and going on to do different things. But yes, there’s still a good amount of people that are here.
Partial Transcript: Arleen King-Lovelace: The other piece, too, which is really kind of cool about this area. Have you guys seen any of the footage of the Athens parades? So when we first moved up here, that was like full-blown. The parade was going, and it was crazy, crazy counterculture. If you weren’t in the parade, then you were watching the parade. And if you weren’t a part of the play, you were watching the play. It was just this amazing community of people. And kind of the history of West Athens is that West Athens was already a bit of a notorious town. Historically, 29:00they were rum-runners during the Prohibition, so there was already this community of West Athenians that kind of took care of themselves. They were already considered a bit lawless. Like people in the area even would be like “Okay, yeah, that’s West Athens, right?” That’s like back in the `50s. So the story…this is the story before my time, but the story I’ve heard from many of the old hippies is that when they landed in West Athens, partly because of the artists that had been in the Skowhegan area, and they were trying to buy pieces of land. It was cheap cheap cheap cheap up here. You could buy a house for nothing. When they first moved into West Athens, which I think is not true of other areas where people tried to start communes or start moving back-to-the-land, was a lot of resistance from the locals. In West Athens there was no resistance. I’ve heard stories of people moved to West Athens and there 30:00was a knock on the door from a local who said, “Do you guys smoke pot? Can you teach us how to grow some of that?” Because they were right into that. They were like, “We’re going to grow this illegal thing and make money on it.” There was this combine of the culture, of the locals, that I don’t think happened in a lot of other places. Which is why I think this area got really huge, because the counterculture was embraced by the Brighton people, the Athens people, and they were just already…I hate to say odd, but they were already just a very different kind of people. They were not like, “You can’t be in my backyard! You can’t be next to me!” They were like, “Yeah! Bring it on!” They were loving it.
Partial Transcript: Student: Were there parts that you didn’t like about the community?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Yeah. Let me tell you this, which I thought was really fascinating. There was the hippie movement. There was the anti-war movement. There was the feminist movement. There was the black movement. A lot of those…the feminist movement came out of the anti-war. And so there were a lot of men when I first moved out here. And realize that I’m like 10, 12, 15 years younger than them. I was really steeped in the feminist movement. Because those older women who had started the feminist movement, they had already…like when I was in high school, I was already hearing about that, and it was being really embraced. That whole burning of the bras and women being able to do any job that a man can do. So I was already very steeped in the feminist movement. I really kind of. I made this huge misnomer that every hippie was also going to be a feminist. And when I first moved up here, I was kind of blown away that there were a lot of older men that I considered, like, anti-war, anti-government, free-love, all those kind of hippie things that you would think that they were very liberal…but they were also incredibly mysogynist. Like women were kind of like second-class citizens. And I remember being like, “No! I’m not okay with that!” Like, how can you have embraced everything else but not this? So that was really. That was an eye-opener to me, because I was kind of like, “You can be a hippie but you can still have your issues. You can still have your preferences.”
And then also too I would have to say some of the people were a little bit more free-love. Some of the people were a little bit more, yo it’s cool to sleep around and stuff. That was just not my thing. Not my thing at all. Bob and I are very monogamous. So that was like I didn’t want to judge people for that, but that was not something that I was going to get involved.
So I picked and chose what I was going to embrace. Because it was a very large back-to-the-land movement up here, and a very large counter-culture, so it was easy enough to pick your friends that felt the same way you did. Like we definitely ended up hanging out more with people who were in a long-term relationship. When you were at a party, everybody was there, and everybody hung out with everybody, but there were core groups of different people.
Partial Transcript: Arleen King-Lovelace: Oh, it becomes much harder. Much, much harder. I think that we’re really witnessing that now, is that the original back-to-the-landers, the original homesteaders are now leaving the area. And they’re partly leaving the area because Maine is such a tough place to survive in the winter. And if you still live in a house that you’re heating with wood, maybe you don’t have running water, maybe you don’t have electricity, it’s going to be much harder to survive a Maine winter than if you’re homestead in North Carolina or if you’re homesteading in Florida. So people are leaving during winters. Some people are selling their property outright and leaving. And actually, what’s a really interesting thing that’s happening right now…we kind of have not paid that much attention to it because we’re not there yet, is that there is now a little bit of a movement of really starting communal places to live as they age. Like we have some friends that are part of a very intentional community that they built over in Belfast, where people are kind of retiring too, but it’s kind of old hippies. So it’s still those same values, and they are moving where they’re sharing a grid.
So what will we do in ten years from now? We talk about that a lot. But Bob’s always like, “I don’t even want to think about that.” Because, god forbid, if he hurt himself or blew his back out or something, we’d be in very tough straits. Because it is a very physical lifestyle.
Partial Transcript: Student: Especially with couples, did you see any disintegration?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Oh totally.
Student: Some of the tensions?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Oh, yeah. And some of it is so, I mean, I hate, I feel like I’m gossiping and telling stories about the community, but there’s been some pretty bizarre things. Maybe they happen out in the suburbs and people just keep it under wraps, where out here, it’s kind of, everybody knows everybody’s business. It’s been really interesting to watch the children who have evolved from that. Because you really kind of want to say, “These kids are going to be messed up. Like, oh my God.”
But you know what? It’s intriguing, because they’re not. And I think part of the reason that they’re not, even though there were a lot of adults that were switching partners, the kids were loved, very much. The community loved them. 36:00There’s a real standard that everybody was taking care of each other’s kids. And that kids were gonna be raised with love and openness and with honesty.
There was a couple hippies up north of us, a man and a woman, who had five kids together and then he just kind of…he never even left her. He just moved in with another woman and started having another family. So like when we like moved up here, there was this guys who kept two families. That’s really weird. Now we’re kind of talking mormonism stuff. I mean, polygamy. But that was part of the hippie movement. You didn’t come down on other people. You didn’t say, “You’re wrong, I’m right.” So everybody was just like, “Okay, this is pretty strange.” So did I approve? Maybe not. But it’s also really interesting to be part of a community and watch the fall out of that. And there 37:00doesn’t seem to be any.
So societally we say that it’s wrong, and I think it’s wrong, but yet I’m watching that, thinking, “Well, now there’s going to be a major fallout.” Like lots of people who came up with a partner moved to a different partner, moved to another different partner, but they’re all still part of the community. So a guy will have had children with three different women in the area. Four different women in the area. A lot of that was going on. People were fine with it. There was nobody saying, “You can’t do it. That’s wrong for you to do.” But did everybody do it? Did everybody partake? No. There were a lot of people who stayed in single, monogamous sort of relationships.
Partial Transcript: Student: I was also wondering about the education of the kids, and how that evolved,and how you educated your foster children.
Arleen King-Lovelace: So because we were part of the, we were, part of the Foster Care system, so our kids were all in public schools. It was a little before my time, but there was this, the very first hippies and back-to-the-landers, they made their own school. You talk to a lot of the kids who went to that school, and it was like your mothers friend who taught you math, your mother’s friend who taught you science. And then there was a lot of homeschooling. And that was before the state really got involved in homesteading, and it was not illegal. And then at some point there were some things that had to be done legally to prove that you were educating your child. And then at some point, because hippie parents were very much into free-will and kids were like “I’m so sick of being home-schooled, I want to be out in the world and out in school where I can at least hang out with other kids during the day.” There was a lot of push back from the kids. I think that’s how a lot of kids ended up going to school. They were like, “Okay, I’m sick of this. I’m in sixth grade, and I want to go to school.”
But I’ll have to say, and Bob and I say it all the time, we have the most…the kids that grew up in this area, they are the most amazing human beings. There’s been some amazing stuff. I’ve just watched them head out into the world and there’s nothing they can’t do. I think it’s because there were limitations, but there weren’t many. They wrote their own rules. I think the fall out from that is I think that created a lot of incredibly free people. Like one of those kids that I was just telling you of, who came out of that combined family, he lives in Upper State New York and he’s growing his own hops and he’s making beer and he’s got a huge beer business now where he’s bottling and he’s got a microbrew. Another kid is down in Washington DC. Some kids went down to the coast and now they’re lobstering. Just a lot of skills. They knew how to work with their hands. They were very self-sufficient. Really, if you were going to be stranded on a desert island with someone, you’d pick one of these kids to be stranded with. I think it’s created a really amazing group of young adults. I also think that it’s over, for lack of a better word. Because these kids are not continuing. They have gone away.
Some kids, I know one girl who grew up in a community in Solin, she lives in Cambridge, MA now, and her girls are in high school going to college, and she’s really hot to move back and to move back on to the land. And she’s one of the first second generationers who’s decided that she wants to come back up here.
Partial Transcript: Student: I was going to ask about that. So most of the children, did they leave?
Arleen King-Lovelace: Yeah, for sure. They all loved it here, and they love coming back here. Like they all come back for the fourth of July, because the fourth of July is a huge party, and they all come back for that, because it’s kind of the tribe coming back together. But none of them live here. They’re all gone. And funny enough, most of them are in cities. But I think that’s kind of that immediate reaction. It’ll be interesting to see what they do as they grow older. They’re mostly in their 20s and 30s now.
Student: Alright, I think…thank you very much. This was great.