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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

State College 2004

1st Finglish trip August 2004 #5

We drove from Sudbury through Niagara Falls and Amish Pennsylvania to State College. This goes way back to 1972. That summer I stayed with my brother's family in State College. My brother was studying exercise fysiology at the Penn State University and I got a chance to be there a long three-month summer vacation away from my high school. Instead of living in my brother's small house I lived in a dormitory and shared a room with a track and field sprinter from Bahamas, Mike was his name. First thing he asked me what is my hobby, I said comic books and records. He showed me his hobby, an album full of passport photos of girls, his hobby was dating girls. I did not ask what it included. Mike was a nice guy and went later that summer to Münich, to take part at the 1972 Olympic Games. He was the first ever Olympic flag bearer for the Bahamas. At the competition he was a quarter-finalists in the 100 metres and ran in the heats of the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay.

I spent my summer mainly lazing on the university lawn, some wine and dope (I did not inhale), watched films outdoors, listened to the bands playing, bought a guitar from Sears (with my brothers financial assistance, thank you) and attended a blues guitar workshop. But I also followed my hobby and bought some nice comic books: Gilbert Sheldon's The Fabuolous Furry Freak Brothers, Robert Crumb's Big Ass Comics, Zap Comix and so on. I was 18 so it was legal. I also bought some records: Firesign Theatre, Derek and the Dominoes, Manassas, John Fahey.

State College was a different city from 1972, nice and clean. My brother's small house was gone and so was the dormitory, university lawn was empty. 70' was the era of counterculture, Vietnam war and anti-war, movement, Nixon and his Plumbers. A lot of things were happening, or so I remember it..

Next Kaleva Michigan USA, 2nd Finglish trip.

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