A Child of The American Dream

— Children raised in the ’50s shared both a dream of opportunity and a nightmare for the future!

Got my Hat, Grabbed my Pipe, Packed my Bag to Hit the Road!

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Located at Maine’s border, this is where I was born in October of ’49. I was raised there for the first five years of my life. My grandfather was in charge of the post office. Many of my relatives were around Portsmouth from back when the city was renown for its sea port and building the finest clipper ships in the world.

My great-great grandfather, John Stickney, crafted the enclosed diorama of 2 clipper ships and a schooner

Most of my family in the way-back times were employed at the shipyard on the banks of the Piscataqua River. During younger days, I worked there for a couple of months as a janitor. In my 30s, I returned to live in Portsmouth for a decade throughout the ’80s.

During my first five years I drove a cab, was a typesetter and sports correspondent for the local newspaper and taught myself how to play guitar, becoming a back bench folksinger. I also organized a top-notch softball team that played for a nursing home and we featured all-ages charity events such as landing the Boston Bruins for a softball game and featuring the barnstorming Queen & Her Court. The last five years saw me in politics where I served two terms as a state representative.

In 1990 I gave up wanting to become the governor, I ran for Congress calling for drug legalization — knowing I’d lose — and then returned to Cambridge, where I previously lived during the ’70s. My journey saw me become a Harvard Square street musician — a step up on my career ladder!

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

In 1955, my family moved to Hampton, located at the southern end of New Hampshire’s 18-mile ocean coastline. My father started out climbing poles as a telephone lineman and worked his way up the chain with New England Power. By the time he retired he was supervising construction of many of the power plants and power grids swathed throughout New England. Unlike so many folks today, my dad had a job of opportunity and he proudly retired with a pension.

He was able to buy a modest home, a couple of nice cars and he raised his family on one-income. I grew up in a healthy, safe environment and we summered at family camps on beautiful lakes near The White Mountains.

I had a sandlot baseball field, a nearby skating pond and the basketball hoop atop our garage. I was a budding star in Little League & Pony League baseball, Tid-Bit basketball and Pee-Wee football and played lots of hard hockey on the pond. I was the perfect Cub Scout and a Star Boy Scout and the Senior Patrol Leader. Although I never took advantage of it, my education was balanced and reasonable, my schooling well-organized.

Key to The American Dream Was Driving The Family Car! I Was a Fan of The Yardbirds Rock Band!

I think I would have gone on to play professional baseball as I had that sport down extremely well. But I ended up becoming an A+ student of counter-culture, eventually morphing into a ’60s Flower Child only to get drafted into the army the same week as Woodstock. Resultingly, I think I’ve lived my entire life as if in revenge for being deprived of attending Woodstock.

I’m guessing that on the day I die, I will finally arrive at Woodstock:

I left the Hampton Beach scene in 1970, moving into Cambridge and never returned. Today, at age 73, I remain a ’60s Flower Child — my mind is still in Cambridge, but today I live at Nantasket Beach (Hull MA).

Cambridge, Massachusetts

— Harvard Square, Central Square, Cambridgeport, Porter Square, Kendall Square and East Cambridge

Throughout the 1970s and 1990s I lived mostly in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the ’70s, I spent a lot of time working with Vietnam Veterans Against The War and The Legal In-Service Project which involved helping active duty soldiers who were part of the Anti-Vietnam peace movement. When the peace movement faded I went on to manage rock n’ roll bands, one of which almost made it to the big-time. One of our band members did become famous, Tom Scholz of the band Boston.

In the ’90s, I saw the best years of my life!

Having become a musician helped a lot. Also helping was being a pretty good ball player. My team was the Cambridge Tread Sox and we played modified ball on diamonds up and down the Charles River, from Beacon Hill to Brighton. Our team played for several different Cambridge pubs. We were like a cult, having a party at the beginning of the season where we’d roll the inky tire tread over our shirts to make our uniforms.

Cambridge Tread Sox: We played for The Cellar, The Druid, The Phoenix and The People’s Republic bars.

I also had a freelance transcription business where I transcribed academic, legal, medical and corporate documents. With the Internet budding, I became an online stock trader buying and selling IPOs in the open market. Also during this period I threw the greatest parties Planet Earth ever saw. With Cambridge as a very diverse community, its people knew how to conscientiously hoot and holler. With different themes for our major parties, we knew how to move the good party agenda!

We had a Bubba Party where everybody spoke in a ‘bubba’ dialect. I’ve never seen Harvard and MIT people undertake such great difficulty as they tried to convert their accent only to wind up in a linguistic twist. On New Years Day — not New Years Night — we had a huge French Toast Party that went from sun-up to sun-up. We had Raffle Parties. We had a Tailgate Party when I bought my camper. We even had a Sex Lay-Away Plan Party where the name you drew from the hat meant you had to have sex with that person 25 years later, or get lumped into the orgy pool. We knew how to have fun!

Cambridge in the ’90s was utterly fantastic!

I had a thinktank of very bright and creative brains as my close inner circle and I hung out with folks who were half older and half younger. It seemed everyone I knew wanted to make the world a better place. It was the perfect blend of intellect and ideal party mix of people. It was exactly how the world should be! I think it all worked for me because as a believer in seasonal romance I never got bogged down into a relationship, so hosting it all was easy.

When 2000 hit I made the fatal mistake of falling in love and moving to New York City.

How this happened:

By the time I got to NYC, it seemed all influences from the ’60s and ’70s had perished. The city reeked of Trump money and had become stale, plastic or rehearsed. I only found joy when rollerblade-dancing or playing ball in a softball league in Central Park. NYC’s neighborhoods weren’t fun anymore. Way too many rock n’ roll clubs had been shutdown by the GOPwinger stop and frisk mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

To me, an uptight New York City was no New York City at all. So I made it back to Massachusetts.

Nantasket Beach — Hull Massachusetts

Now 50 years old, this kid from Hampton Beach — in order to become a kid again — moved to Nantasket Beach (Hull, Massachusetts). Having always done paperwork and being tied to a desk or driving a cab, I felt it was time to finally do physical work in life. I got a pick-up truck and closed out my working career as a painter of beach houses.

Pretty much a backbench folksinger, I finally put my first rock n’ roll band together at age 62. Now 73, today I continue to live at the beach and I’ve got an all-original rock n’ roll band called Climate Change.

Below is a YouTube Playlist of original Climate Change tunes. Make sure your YouTube autoplay is on.

When medical issues, mostly heart-related, placed me on disability I spent my time organizing charitable concerts for fire victims, veterans, opiate awareness, animal shelters, social service groups and the local high school music department. I grew aloe plants to help raise money at the events. Overall, I helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars by bringing high school-aged bands together with musicians in bands my age.

I still live at Nantasket Beach in Hull.

Hull is a Peninsular at The Mouth of Boston’s Harbor (City in Background)

I live with my two cats Winkles and Twinkles in a nice pad with a sound proof music studio and we are graced with a very nice outdoor tall tree-covered deck and ocean and bay views. Until Covid hit, musicians would frequently visit. Indeed pre-Covid life was very great! Today, with Covid fading, it’s beginning to improve. But take my testament: As a people person, it’s been no fun being a hermit!

Gettin’ Old, But Still Clamming!

Video of Nantasket Beach:

Concluding The American Dream

I was born into it, I was raised within it, I’ve lived it and I’ve gained from it … I know it can exist! But I was a lucky one. I was extremely lucky. Most people in the world never got to experience this. Sadly, so many never will.

After three successive Republican presidential administrations created The Great Depression, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with his New Deal policy. This created The American Dream. John F. Kennedy later tried to expand FDR’s Dream into communities of color, but he was assassinated. His brother Robert also sought this goal, but he too was shot. These deaths were coupled to the assassinations of Civil Rights leaders, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, et. al.

America changed and the Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush Trickle Down policy began pounding the nails into the coffin of The American Dream. What’s sad is Republicans got so bad at controlling the US government many of the Democrats joined them. Democrats never should have given up on the principles of George McGovern!

I’m fortunate to have experienced the Civil Rights Movement during my critical growing years of young adulthood. This movement became an important prelude to the Vietnam Peace Movement. It was from these two strong political movements where I gained my consciousness, my heart and my soul to do good in life. I learned, at a young age, to live in the spirit of living for others. I’ve remained on this path ever since.

My only regret is I never raised a family in the traditional sense. Instead I marched to the beat of a different drummer as I discovered Thoreau, Voltaire and others who helped shape my conscience throughout my journey. And it’s almost as if, in my own dream, I got to meet the great poet: Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Then there’s the downside. For too many, The American Dream has gone down the tubes.

It certainly has today become out of reach for most Americans. Those attempting to live it today have become riddled in deep debt. They’re just trying to hang on. They try not to collapse and fall through the cracks, but hope has become thin.

Those who’ve collapsed or never got to The Dream now live within an underground economy. They suffer deadbeat jobs, high rents, bad health and little to no hope for a decent education. It’s become where their best hope for a new day rests on a drug deal gone good, a lucky scratch ticket or a win on a meat raffle. The Drug War has enveloped too many into too much misery, leaving 12% of all Americans with felony convictions!

It’s become a changed world. It’s much more greedy, more violent and certainly more polluted in all kinds of ways. America has become an oligarchy, a hegemon power where its huge military threatens war all over the planet in order to extract precious resources and geopolitical control. The US has even forsaken its international anti-nuclear treaties.

In short, we are not living the way we should be living!

The American Dream Collapsed:

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Michael Weddle

Founder of Boston’s Climate Change Band; former NH State Representative; Created Internet’s 1st Anti-War Debate; Supporter of Bernie Sanders & Standing Rock!