After working at Voyage House for a year and getting lots of kudos for how well I was doing my street work job, I decided it was time to have a party so everyone would get to know my fun side as well as my serious side. I invited all the Voyage House counselors, group-home parents, and alternative high school teachers. Even invited the Board Members. I invited all the kids I had gotten to know on the streets. Even invited my sister Fred to come in from the suburbs and bring her high school friends. I had this very small 3rd floor efficiency apartment at the corner of Chestnut and 19th in the heart of Center City. I invited the lady across the hall and the folks who lived downstairs. (The first floor was a flower shop.)
Because my apartment could not nearly hold all the expected guests, I put a gang plank out my back window and this got us onto the roof of a movie theater; maybe a hundred guests could fit on that roof and basically not be seen from the street below. To make sure invitees understood this was legit, I put the keg of beer on that roof too. I also bought a lid and rolled 75 joints to pass around. (Everybody smoked marijuana in 1973, even in public, like right in the back seats of the trolleys.)
Well, the party was a big success. The early arrivals were mostly from the younger set, including my 16 year-old sister and her friends. Not a single Board Member or staff person had shown up yet when I realized this was likely to get out of hand, so I stationed myself at the front door (the only way in or out) and warned each and every entrant that I expected the cops might eventually show up, so if that would cause you a problem, then maybe you don’t want to attend. Several Board Members decided not to go in.
The street was crowded because the movie “Woodstock” was showing at midnite
and the line to get in stretched around the block. Well sure enough, some lady from a couple buildings away, was yelling “Hey! Get off that Roof!” and must have called the cops. The police thought the entrance to my place was on Chestnut and so the first I saw of them was when a half-dozen came charging around the corner with their night sticks out beating a path to my 19th St. entrance. “Open the Door!” the first one yelled.
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