We drove the seven hours+ from northern Vermont, and much to my Dad's initial disgust, my friend Scott Sampietro
from Johnson State College
tagged along with us. Scott
was a thoughtful, brash, outspoken Italian, a few years older than I, prominent among the circle of JSC friends I'd bonded with doing theater with Dick Emerson.
had lived life more fully than I: already married and divorced, a world traveler, someone who told me he
had once reached such an impasse in life that he
had painted on the walls of his
apartment with his
own blood in a grand and glorious evening of despair and near-disaster.He'd survived that, but he
sure missed that painting.But that was then: now, Scott
was eager to get to NJ and connect with his
then-girlfriend Patty, another of our JSC circle. Scott
had none of the countercultural baggage my father loathed: no long hair, no love beads, no granny glasses.But he
did have a beard, and that particular day he
wore an insane set of overalls with a big, green frog sewn onto the front.This was enough to have Dad sputtering after Scott
introduced himself.But Scott
was nothing but respectful, calling my father "Mr.
When it came out during conversation that Scott
had served in Vietnam, Dad's demeanor toward Scott
visibly changed.Still, though, there was that fucking frog on his
So we three travelers hit the road and shared the driving to Dover.Suffice to say it was an unexpectedly pleasant trip, and Scott
even booked a room at the same motel on Route 46 Dad and I stayed in that first night.There's more to tell, but this is neither the place nor the time; next morning Patty arrived.It was a joyous reunion, and Scott
and Patty headed out as Dad and I headed to the Baker Mansion, headquarters of the soon-to-open Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Inc.