Wednesday, May 17, 2017

the last book I ever read (David Talbot's Season of the Witch, excerpt three)

from Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot:

In this febrile environment, no minister with Edward Beggs’ restless spirit could sit in suburban stupor for long. When Beggs heard that Glide Church was establishing a shelter for the growing teenage runaway population in San Francisco, he knew this was his pastoral calling. He left his life in the church and became the founding director of Huckleberry House. The name was Beggs’s idea; his homage to American literature’s most famous young runaway. Beggs saw Huck Finn as a “revolutionary” who hit the road with his black friend Jim rather than bow to the cultural values of the day, just like the young people pouring into San Francisco. When Huck decided, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” rather than condemn Jim to a life of slavery, Beggs believed it was one of the great moral epiphanies in the American odyssey. Had Huck and Jim been living in 1960s America, he surmised, they would have kept heading west, directly for the Haight-Ashbury.

Emmett Grogan thought Huckleberry House “was as lame as its name,” calling it a “nice, mild, safe, responsible way for the church to become involved in ‘hippiedom.’” The Diggers made an effort to take care of the boys and girls washing up on the shores of the Haight. “The city was telling all these kids—our age, a lot of them younger—to get lost,” Coyote recalled. “And our feeling was that they were our kids. You know? This was America; these were our kids.”

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