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Franklin lived at the Farm -part time 1967-68

Portrait of Franklin MacFie by Barbara Stevens (with zig-zag man, and a rendition of a Giorgione painting-the source for Manet’s painting of a lunch outside with clothed men and naked women and a tiny bit of Millet’s The Gleaners- a peasant farm scene.)

Franklin MacFie lived at the farm for seasons at a time, he was at the surrounding of the Pentagon October 21, 1968 . He was in the group that held on over night, spotted a agent provocateur the next day in at Fort Myer- who the night before had been urging the demonstrator to cause havoc and mayhem. We went to all the Demonstrations /Peace marches in New York City and Washington. Meanwhile we had wonderful “trips” at the farm and in NYC.

Sometimes Franklin would go up to NYC and come back to the Farm on the train or the bus. One time we met him and he had this story to tell: A woman sitting next to him , they hadn’t had a conversation, said as he was getting up to leave ” I have been to your Country and love your people” . We couldn’t figure out what she was referring too. But Franklin did dress wonderfully well as a Hippie but what country is that? Maybe it was a Arab type garb? certainly not Scottish or Portuguese, anyway I always loved that.

One of MacFie’s marvelous art /events there was an old Volkswagen bug body, covered with a army surplus Parachute. Making an incredible Night Light down at the Creek.

Ten years later he created a wonderful climbing place for the children, Susan and Clea ,at the place in New Mexico out of a army surplus cargo net.

This was the years of movies by Jean-Luc Goddard, which maybe inspired Franklin when he randomly painted many ordinary bits of the landscape, like posts and rocks, etc. a magnificent red, white and blue. (He did always tell us after his travels – that in spite of everything-America is great!)

Franklin lived in the old Spring house for a while, heating with coal,in the winter, then he took over one of the cabins. He kept changing things, making new kinds of Lights. He would do Yoga there – we all did Yoga.. one day when a lot of people were in various places doing Yoga, an Indian Man, a Swami, wearing white clothes and white rubber galoshes came down the hill in the deep snow to find out if we wanted to sell him the farm for an Ashram!

There were 16 buildings on this old Pennsylvania Dutch Farm, including a blacksmith shop, and a wonderful rock root cellar where the previous generations had kept their precious Applejack! They told us about that with misty eyes. They made apple cider which got hard and when the water froze in the winter, it was perfect, America’s easy way to distill.

There were three cabins, one was definitely meant for chickens. But two others were finished out inside, so we liked to think of them as having been used for the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. We put them to use that way in the 1960’s for a place for young men to stay for a while on their way to Canada during the Viet Nam war, thanks to my family connections with Lamar Hoover and the Dorothy Day Peace movement . Franklin helped us with this project.

Franklin decided to make the stream that ran from the Spring House into a pond across from his cabin and planted a cutting from a willow tree. Today the Weeping Willow is enormous, a glorious thing. The children played naked in the pond and the Muscovy ducks, living there, seemed like hundreds of them , used to take turns using the pond to make earth landings, though the pond was not quite big enough so they seem to dive bomb on the water run fast and fall on their noses…to land.

Franklin's Volkswagon Night Light with Amon Connoly

Franklin’s Volkswagen Night Light with Amon Connoly

frank's pond

raucus lunch with Farrar and other newyorkers

raucous lunch with Farrar and other New Yorkers

with susan in her year long tutu in the snow

With Susan in her year long Tutu, even in the snow

In the snow at the farm

Farm photos by Terry Stephenson

Dinner at the farm

dinner at the farm, left to rt- top Ray, Barbara and Franklin standing in the middle.

Christmas of 1968: Linda Epton Winrick remembers ……This was y-e-a-r-s ago, when I moved to Alton, Illinois — across the Mississippi — with my family & B and C followed

Frank  Macfie & Bill Farrar came from NYC for Xmas (Stevens were there too but did not take part in this escapade!). They  ended up pamphleteering the neighborhood -Catholic cathedral  — about birth control, yes. All my neighbors, of course, lived as close to the church as possible with LARGE families.

I remember Frank & Bill’s cold faces, all bundled up. (Don’t think my brother was directly involved, but he and Carolyn probably provided the hot chocolate — and a game or two of pool afterwards)
When I recently queried Bill Farrar about it, he was vague:” we protested everything in those days…
But I remember it as a worthy cause “– if misdirected in our ‘hood.
(a wonder they survived!)
Free Hubie, elect Eldridge Cleaver fm
One more new Find in 2015  is this  piece of Macfie Art  from 1968  when Hubert Humphrey was running for president  But our hearts and minds were with  Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. So this is Frank Macfie’s contribution!
ALMOST FORTY YEARS LATER in the summer of 2007 – less than a year before Franklin succumbed to all that ailed him, an image of Franklin in the trees appeared – a chance moment, a configuration of the trees and the breeze and the Light remaining in the sky at the end of a long, long sunset, outside our boat where we were living on a canal in the North of Amsterdam. I took the photo below. Seems to me to be almost a photographic reference to good old (sometimes very Christian) Frank MacFie and his beloved Arabs/Muslims/ Jews- represented in the profile that I manage to see in the still light sky to the left of the bearded Franklin image between the large tree trunk and the branches and the follage where also there is near the top . a strange “Guardian” or modern gargoyle figure which needed -as we all do- the light within to shine- which I hope I added and a Buddha for Good Measure. Barbara Stevens Oct. 15, 2009

P.S. If you are having trouble seeing this, a trip to Amsterdam is recommended.  New Versions of the Strange Big Dog in the Sky-implicating our great HUMAN PATTERN RECOGNITION

real f in trees

final f. Buddah

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One Comment

    • Linda Epton Wenrick
    • Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm
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    • Reply

    Yep, the episode of 2 NYC Merry Pranksters (above) accurate — and now that I see in context of his life story here — humorous and typical. An activist and performance artist of the first water…
    It’s wonderful re-membering Frank here…
    Now that I think about it, he told me about the time he sent his former psychiatrist a box of horse s… (or maybe hand-delivered it himself)

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