Monday, September 09, 2013

Afterwords (my gap year, part 7)

To the best of my recollection, following are the names of those who took part in the fourth group of Shnat Hachshara, Sept 1973-June 1974: Stephen, Ian, Carol, Ruth, Trevor, Barry, Alan, Janice, Gill, Andrew, Mike, Lawrence, Jane, Diane, Moshe, Robin, David, Elaine, Lawrence, Karen, Lesley, Simon, Erica, Abigail and myself. I don't think that I've left anyone out, but I don't remember everyone's surname.

Of the above, Karen spent three years in London studying, then emigrated on her own. She married an American and, as far as I know, still lives on Kibbutz Grofit, in the far south of Israel. We spent some time together in the first year after our return. 

Janice, Gill, David and I emigrated to Kibbutz Mishmar David (Gill in 1977, the rest in 1978). Gill and David still live there, whereas Janice returned to Britain in the early 80s and I moved to Kibbutz Tsora in 1989. Obviously, I was in close contact with these three for years. 

I have a picture of some of the members of my emigration group, taken at the end of 1977. David and I are in the picture, along with Ruth, who must have joined at some stage. She dropped out a little later; we were never friends.

I spent most of my London years with Simon - he played drums and I played guitar in the little rock (or even punk) group that we had. I last saw him in 1977. I think that he became some kind of academic, and wrote a book about the history of British football grounds.

I once met Ian - to our mutual surprise - in Tsora around 1991; we hadn't seen each other since 1974 and haven't seen each other since that meeting. 

Alan lived in the same communal house as I during 1975-7 but didn't emigrate. We didn't get on well together and I don't know what happened to him. I met his sister once in Israel, at the end of the 80s. 

I have a memory of meeting Trevor in London in about May 1975, when Peter Hammill's "Rikki Nadir" album came out. I don't know whether we had been in contact before that but I very much doubt that we met at all afterwards. 

I remember seeing Robin around for a few months after we returned but he disappeared shortly afterwards. Similarly, Diane was around for a few months in 1976 when peculiarly she became my best friend's girlfriend for a time. 

The rest - vanished into thin air. I understand now what happened: either one was "on the bus", to use Ken Kesey's phrase, or "off the bus". "On the bus" meant buying into the Habonim ideology, probably being a leader in the youth movement and preparing for emigration. The year was very much a litmus test, and obviously many people felt that this kind of life was not for them. The youth movement had little to offer to senior members who were not involved with younger groups (this happened to me in my final two years) and those who lived outside of the major cities didn't have any real contact. 

I realise that I've glossed over some events and forgotten a great deal. As I wrote at the beginning of this series, this was very much a watershed year for me, a year in which a great deal of things changed.

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