When Wavy Gravy Gets High

Earth People's Park and Hog Farm ambassador gets back surgery and works on a book

Wavy Gravy, circa 1970. Credit: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

CAMBRIDGE — Wavy Gravy, Earth People's Park and Hog Farm ambassador, has just completed a good-vibes mission along the East Coast and is now entering the hospital for surgery on a bad back which has plagued him often in the past.

Mr. Gravy welcomes messages to him at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is currently working on a book for Simon and Schuster which will deal with the Hog Farm voyage up until April 1st, when he enters the hospital.

The good-vibes mission took him and his entourage of Hog Farmers, Park people, and various others to such points as Harper College, Washington, Philadelphia, and Harvard. The diplomatic party has been traveling in four buses. Everywhere, the reception was the same, as the masses flocked to get a look at the intrepid ambassadors.

At a conference for college editors in Washington, outspoken anthropologist Margaret Meade studied this strange strain of mankind. Author Ken Kesey, a long-time acquaintance of Mr. Gravy, visited the group at Harper College. In Philadelphia, an Earth People's Party was staged at the Electric Factory.

In New Haven, there was a wedding and a tiddlywinks contest leading up to the spectacular Great Farting Contest at Harvard. The Hog Farm graciously donated 2000 pounds of beans, and then judged the fierce competition for the longest, loudest, and most original farts.

It was in Cambridge that tragedy struck the group. According to "Wavy," police entered the room where a movie was being screened for the guests and said, "If we find one seed, everybody goes." Anxious to be of help, the gathered people provided a sound track for the police search, and helped look under the rugs.

When what was allegedly marijuana was discovered in an upstairs room, everybody (except the police) was put in the back of a paddy wagon and maced. They were informed that the charges against them were "frequenting a disorderly house," which, sometime during the night, was changed to "breach of the police." Both charges, the arresting officer told his hostages, "cover a whole lot of things."

When they appeared in court the next morning, close to 1000 people had thronged outside to protest this political bust and to demand diplomatic immunity. Charges were dropped on everybody except Mr. Gravy's sleeping bag (known as "home plate"), which was lined with a bunting that police considered to be a desecrated flag.

Wherever they went, "Wavy" and his staff talked up their idea of Earth People's Park. "The idea keeps changing. Like we all started out with one big piece of land, and now it's lots of little pieces," Mr. Gravy told one reporter. "Let's take all the confliction and get it together. That's the difference in our age. What's happening is the change between competition and cooperation; we're into cooperation. It's happening everywhere I go. I feel people getting behind it, finding what it is, and coming together on it."

The park will definitely not be in New Mexico, Mr. Gravy emphasized, due to opposition from the people already living there. As it now stands, the plan is to create two, three, many Earth People's Parks around this nation, rather than just one big one.

There are those who fear that Mr. Gravy's back ailment will make it impossible for him to continue with his mission after the operation. "Wavy" sought to dispel such fears by stating the exact nature of his injury, and what will be done to correct it:

"When I get high, the energy sort of plugs up around my asshole, and I really gotta grunt to get it off. It's like having a piece of wire and a bad splice with just some shoddy adhesive tape, and what we're into is getting it hooked up."