By Peter Livingston
I brought Chai Wallah gear home from India. In 3 weeks I will be preparing chai for maybe 50 people at the BackToLodestar camp reunion.
For some reason, I've become fascinated by, and a little obsessed with the chai wallahs (a person who makes and/or sells tea) who work on the streets of India. I want to be a chai wallah. In California. Not a whole new career. Not even a part-time retirement endeavor. But maybe for one or two events a year. Like a music festival. Or the county fair. Or a few special annual once-a-year events. I like the taste of chai. I like the sound of the flame heating the water, milk, tea, and spices. I like the way the liquid bubbles up, froths, and is then knocked down (or in this case, partially removed from the intense heat), only to boil again, steam issuing forth from the big aluminum pot. I like the pouring of the mixture through the strainer and into the little cups; the captured tea and spices put back into the pot to serve as the base for the next batch.
I like the ritual of it; the drama of it; the art of it. I like the visuals, the kinetics, the sounds, the rythms. My souvenirs from India will be various components of the chai wallah trade. I want to be a chai wallah; in California.
I better get to practicing my Chai Wallah skills now. The pressure is on....
By Robert Stetson
"What you want, honey, you got it...And what you need, baby you've got it...All I'm asking, for a little respect..."
And did I/we respect her? I say we do and did! What a tremendous musical life force she was in our lives...her spirit and music will live on in our Lodestar hearts...forever!
And if we don't show up to the BTL reunion playing her music to sing and dance to? Well, I think we all should fold up our camping tents and just go home. And if there was no Aretha to be heard and celebrated? Well, I do know that Mama dos Remedios Litke will be quite verklemp and maybe even apoplectic over the musical slight...
Aretha mattered to us all in one way or another. Otis, too. They made us think through their musical gifts and poetic words. They were magical to be sure. I will miss them. Forever. And that's as long as I can still fog up a mirror.
Come back to Lodestar! Sing and dance your hearts out, Campers!
"I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is."
"I always felt rock and roll was very, very wholesome music."
By Tom Trutner
After dinner one night at Lodestar, I was walking by the kitchen in the lodge. The familiar music of "Sgt. Pepper…” was playing (by the way, Ringo was knighted today by Prince William 3/20/18), and I popped open the door to see all the kitchen crew doing dishes in a spontaneous, but almost perfectly choreographed dance. I stood in amazement with a huge smile on my face, and now, some fifty years later, that memory still has a warm and wonderful hold on me.
My fond memories of Lodestar are, for the most part, memories of you, the many kids I got to know over those years. Your lives - individually and collectively - gave me some of the most unforgettable and satisfying years of my life.
This is why I am so excited looking forward to our reunion in October. There are so many smiles and hugs to be shared, so many stories to be told (some of which, I’m sure, you now will finally tell me!) and so much fun to be had. I hope you can make plans to be there; I’ll be so happy if you can.
The event is called “Back to Lodestar,” but to paraphrase a book title by a favorite author of mine, “Come Back to Lodestar Again for the First Time” seems to be the theme. It will be a brand new adventure, but every moment will be infused with the indelible memories we all have of those incredible times together.
Looking forward to seeing you,
Blessings and Cheers!
Saying it out loud, or even thinking it quietly, the name Lodestar conjures up powerful memories and reflections. And meaning.