Exhuming Bob IX, Pensees 7: Into The Lost Land

July 6, 2008

 

Exhuming Bob IX, Pensees 7:

Into The Lost Land

by

R.E. Prindle

Texts:

Dylan, Bob, Chronicles Vol. I, Simon And Schuster, 2004

Prindle, R.E.   Exhuming Bob, VIII The Walls Of Red Wing, idynamo,wordpress.com 2008

Thompson, Toby, Positively Main Street, U. Minnesota, 2008, reprint from 1971

http://www.hibbing.org/dylan1/story.html  Life In Hibbing: Hibbing Chamber Of Commerce

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/85-dec.htm  Bob Dylan Is Not Like A Rolling Stone Interview, Spin Magazine, Volume One, Number Eight, December 1985

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/play78.htm  Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan 1978

http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/66-jan.htm  Playboy Interview:  Bob Dylan  February 1966

                                                                               1940

Abe And Beattie

Abe And Beattie

     In attempting to put together a reasonable facsimile of Bob’s life in Hibbing and Minneapolis, Minnesota and New York City as he mythologized it in his chapter of Chronicles, The Lost Land, I have come to the following tentative conclusions.

     Bob was born in Duluth, Minnesota on 5/24/41.  In 1943 he was taken to Hibbing where he lived from then until graduation from high school in the Spring of 1959.

     Within the concept of normal Bob had a fairly advantaged childhood.  His parents were indulgent buying him anything he wanted while providing adequate pocket cash.  Bob’s family was one of the more important in town both within the Jewish community and the town at large.  In what appears to have been a tight small town social scene Bob either excluded himself or was excluded from the dominant social groups within which he had a right to be included.

     Perhaps Bob’s conception of the Hibbing period could be best interpreted from his favorite movie, Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean.  Bob is said to have seen the movie several times.  This was unusual as few people ever saw a movie more than once. He would have been a very impressionable fifteen at the time.   Most of us didn’t have the money while quite frankly few movies, if any, were worth watching twice including Rebel Without A Cause.  I was seventeen when I saw it and while I was in awe I wasn’t submerged.  Of course Bob’s relatives owned the theatres so he got in for free.

     As he set up a Dean shrine in his basement which greatly offended Father Abe we may be justified in assuming that Dean was a controlling influence in his life from the time he saw the movie.  It is of interest that Abe was to remove the Dean shrine from the basement after Bob left replacing it with a shrine to his own son Bob Dylan ne Zimmerman.

     Abe Zimmerman (1911-1968)   worked for Standard Oil in Duluth when Bob was born.  According to the C of C he lost his job in 1943 moving to Hibbing where his wife’s family, the Stones, could help the young couple.  Why Standard Oil should lay Abe off in the middle of the war during a manpower shortage seems to pose a question.  As can be seen from the photograph of Abe and Beattie above borrowed from the Flickr photostream of <drineevar> he was a well set up handsome man.  He appears to be exceptionally self-possessed, sound in the eyes.  Beattie appears to be a haughty high fashion queen which would accord with later facts.

      Abram Zimmerman, for such was his name.  Usually called Abraham, the name on his tombstone is Abram, and his two brothers Maurice and Paul bought the Micka Electric Company in 1943 changing the name to Zimmerman Appliance.  In 1968 Paul Zimmerman told Thompson that they had been in business for twenty-five years which would mean 1943 although the date seems odd.

     According to the C of C Abe came down with polio in 1946 requiring a lengthy convalescence.  The C of C says that the Zimmermans bought Micka’s after his convalescence but if Paul Zimmerman is accurate it would have to have been 1943.  There would be no record of what Abe did for a living then from 1943 to 1946.  As Bob says both his uncles served in the Army it would seem that they bought Micka’s going into the Army shortly thereafter leaving Abe to tend the business.

     Maurice and Paul became President and Vice-President of the corporation while Abe siginficantly assumed the controlling post of Secretary-Treasurer.  Managed the money, paid the bills.

     During the fifties at least Abe spent a fair amount of money on both Bob and Beattie.  Angel Marolt whose family bought the Zimmerman residence after Abe’s death was trying to tell him of Beattie’s several fur coats, diamonds and Cadillac but Thompson says he wasn’t paying attention.

     Thompson quotes Echo Helstrom as saying that the Zimmermans had stores in both Hibbing and Duluth.  Having a customer base of approx. 250,000 makes more sense when one considers the amounts of Abe’s expenditures and the fact that the profits had to be split three ways.

     The C of C describes Abe as a ‘big man’ in town partial to those big thick long cigars.

 

The Dylan Home

The Dylan Home

    The couple had enough money on arrival to buy the large nine room house that Bob grew up in so Abe must have been well paid at Standard Oil before he was laid off.  Both he and Beattie are well dressed in the picture while Beattie is actually overdressed.

     Bob was entrolled at Alice School for his kindergarten year in 1946 at five years of age.  The status of Alice School is unclear.  Perhaps it was closed the following year or consolidated with the Hibbing High complex as Bob was transferred.  Hibbing High housed kindergarten through twelve as well as the Jr. College.  Thompson describes it as a huge and rambling building.

     So from first grade to graduation Bob was with the same group of students.  I sure wouldn’t have wanted to move into town in tenth grade and try to break into that one.  While he wouldn’t have known them all well he must have known the entire student population on sight.  This presents the problem then of why Bob, who was the son of the Big Man in town, wasn’t included in the top social cliques.  Those cliques undoubtedly formed early persisting through graduation.  If Bob was in one he was either forced out early or found it uncongenial to remain for whatever reason.  Perhaps he thought his Jewishness excluded him.  So if something happened we don’t know what it was and won’t; unless Bob tells it’s going to be difficult to trace.

     Growing up in a small town anyone with any ambition looks around and sees very limited opportunities.  Working for his father wasn’t a viable option.  Not everyone wants to be a doctor or lawyer either.  Nuclear Science is OK but a lot of those guys are out of a job now too.  My next door neighbor when I was a kid for one.

     Bob’s mind turned early to music and then to Rock and Roll.  While Rn’R went on to conquer the world and become as respectable as such a spectacle could it was definitely considered discreditible and low class almost volunteer outlawry in the fifties.  At the very least it was ‘pimple’ music.  It took a certain amount of courage to say you liked Elvis Presley.  Pat Boone was set up as his rival and you had better say you liked ol’ White Bucks.  If you don’t think Elvis was considered a social criminal check out a couple of his movie roles like King Creole or Jailhouse Rock.  What was the Colonel thinking?  Clown roles, that’s all Elvis ever got.

      And then Bob chose as his hero and model Little Richard.  People looked at you funny if you said you

Young Bob On Harley

Young Bob On Harley

liked Little Richard!  I mean, Bill Doggett was a respectable Negro with music you could understand, Fats Domino was as lovable as a chubby ten year old but Little Richard!  They hadn’t even created the ghetto he could come out of.  His band might have passed but then he opened his mouth.  If there was ever a direct challenge to middle class sensibilities Tutti-Frutti was it.  Not only was the song incomprehensible it was about queers.  Nobody ever quoted the lyrics correctly, while I’m walking around saying ‘Tutti Frutti, I want Rudy?’  What does that mean?  I hope no one overheard me.  So when Bob gets up, ignoring Pat Boone entirely,  and launches into some screaming vision like Rip It Up or She’s Got It or God only knows what, was the crowd taken aback?  Chuckle, chuckle.

     So Bob having opted for the lifestyle was forced to associate with the hoody crowd or have become a loner.  Besides Colin Wilson’s book The Outsider  had appeared in 1956 that began a cult of The Loner that peopled the early sixties.  These guys, who were by no means rebels but deep thoughtful guys who had a line on the truth denied anyone else and that  penetrated sham and hypocrisy sat alone ever ready to resolve a situation setting things right were highly romanticized fellows.  There were as many Loners in those days as there were Hawkeyes a couple generations later.  So Bob wouldn’t necessarily have been thought of as weird, strange but a Loner.  A Loner was next door to weird and strange.  Thin line if you get my meaning.

     On the other hand the C of C describes the L&B Cafe as a regular jumping Bop Street right there in the heart of Hibbing, Minnesota.  Bands set up and played continuously.  They knew how to party in Hibbing.  The C of C even says there was a radio station in town playing Bob’s kind of music thereby contradicting every other source even Bob.  He says he had to go to Shreveport on the radio waves  to get his kind of music.  In this case I’m betting on Bob.

     The C of C  tells of Bob’s musical debut like this putting the best possible face on it:

Described by fellow students as polite, easy to talk with, and somewhat introspective, it was a total shock when he pushed back the piano bench and stood up to pound the first notes of a song into the auditorium, electrifying the student body.  Kids jumped up, stared at each other open mouthed not knowing what the reaction would be.

     Well, yes, they were electried but did they like it?

Rockin' Bobby Zimmerman

Rockin' Bobby Zimmerman

     According to the C of C, looking back fondly, Bob went over real well with his fellow students.  If you like this version don’t check the other sources as this is at variance with every other known account but then this is the Chamber Of Commerce  speaking.  Up to this point in the C of C account there is no reason for Bob to be as bitter as he is about Hibbing at all.

     A note of interest is the reoccurence of Fourth Street in Hibbing, Minneapolis and New York City.  Quite a coincidence, I knew there had to be some association with Fourth St. in Hibbing.  So far we learn that Bob attended Jewish shule there.  Whether the synagogue was also located there isn’t clear.  The synagogue Bob attended is no longer anywhere at any rate.  Tore it down.  It was in the way.  Had to go.  Even though Bob’s father was the most prominent Jew in town, the President of B’nai B’rith and ADL as well as his business interests, and even though Bob had a mega Bar Mitzvah with four hundred people in attendance some say at the most prominent spot in town, the Androy Hotel, some say at the synagogue, he wished to conceal he was Jewish.  This attitude may have contributed to his renouncing the Jewish fraternity house to which he pledged at UM while also hiding his religion in New York.  The attitude was strange since he seemed to prefer Jewish musicians around him to  the exclusion of goys.

     Bob’s father Abe, was quite frankly a marvelous provider, spending very large sums of money on son Bob, wife Beattie and his second son, David.  When he died in 1968 the house on 7th Ave., now Bob Dylan Ave. was sold.  The owners at the time of Thompson’s visit were the Marolts.  Angel Marolt who was at home when Thompson called offered to show him around.  One thing he learned was that Bob had a clause in the sale’s contract that allowed him to stay in his old room in the Marolt’s house whenever he was in town.  Too weird.

     What quirk in Bob’s mind compelled him to live in other people’s houses?  Perhaps Rebbe Maier back in 1954 impressed on Bob that Biblical scripture presribes that Jews would live in houses they never built.  As an article of religion that injuction is a mind boggler.  One can’t predict how anyone’s mind will interpret instruction.  Bob who functions out of his subconscious very heavily must have accepted such teachings in literal ways.  Rebbe Maier was a definite turning point in Bob’s life.  Imagine getting out of school, going upstairs at a Rn’R cafe to sit before the only bearded man you may ever have seen, dressed completely in black with a black yarmulke perched on the back of his crown intoning things like:  The Jews shall live in houses they never built and then go downstairs to boogie.  Pretty spooky, don’t you think?  And then as Bob says, he disappeared like a ghost.  Let that roll around your brain for little while and see what you come up with.

     Mrs. Marolt was trying to tell Thompson something about Mrs. Zimmerman’s multiple furs, heaps of diamonds, I’m sure all the latest fashions and her own Cadillac.

     Bob was indulged to the extent of apparently more than one motorcycle, a car, lots of amplifiers and electronic gear for his bands, whatever he wanted plus free movie admissions and plenty of pocket cash.  He must have had a large record collection for a kid as he spent his spare time at Crippas record store ordering the odd title.  You can bet Crippas didn’t discount either, charging full bore.  At the time (after 1958)   stereo was 5.98 and mono was 4.98.

     As the profits from a sole Hibbing store divided three ways could not have supported this sort of expenditure, having a store in Duluth could account for it.  It is significant also tha Abram died in June 1968 and the store closed a few months later.  Was the store a losing proposition for the last few years?  Did Bob provide the difference so Abe wouldn’t be embarrassed by going banko?  Then with his father gone there was no reason to support Uncles Maurice and Paul?

     There really is something happening here, isn’t there?

     Also as a petty expenditure for Bob (it would have been huge in my life) according to the C of C:

Almost every day Bob came in after school for his regular snack: cherry pie a la mode and coffee (or Coke.)

     And then to dinner?  No wonder the young Bob had all that baby fat. 

     If Echo bought those hot dogs for Bob and bought his story that his dad didn’t give him an allowance she was had in more ways than one.

     So, Abe was nothing if not a generous father and husband.  Beattie as President of Hadassah as well as a Stone must have made the Zimmermans the most powerful Jews in the syngogue while actually giving she and her husband the means to be petty dictators of the town,  I saw something like this in Eugene, Oregon in the sixties and seventies, or, as the C of C says a Big Man and big people.

     Bob must have a quirk in his mind to misrepresent his childhood so.  He was the Fortunate Son John Fogerty only sings about.

     In Thompson’s interview with Beattie he quotes her:

How can you know you have a genius in your house, when all my time is spent trying to feed him and keeping his clothes pressed.

     In Bob’s story, The Lost Land, Chloe Kiel is shown ironing Bob’s shirts and at the end of the chapter she ‘slaps’ a plate of steak and fried onions in front of him just before he darts out the door to begin the next chapter, A New Morning, just as in the old days when he returned home from school for lunch and was fed by his mother he darted back to school.

     Ironing his shirts and providing free steaks was a signal service for bare acquaintances like Ray and Chloe.

     Chloe comes across as cold and indifferent and indeed there is a tinge of resentment and anger beneath Beattie’s statement.  Motherly, of course, but there.  Still, she doesn’t impress me as any Yiddishe Mama of the Mrs. Goldberg variety.  Whether Bob was a good boy or not he does have an ambivalent attitude toward his parents.  But then he claims that he was really raised by his grandmother, whether Stone or Zimmerman isn’t clear.

     I believe the big change came over Bob with his Bar Mitzvah and I’m not talking puberty alone.  According to the C of C Bob attended Jewish shule during his young years.  This was done after public school hours.  Then in 1953-54 when his Bar Mitzvah was approaching Father Abe sent to Brooklyn, New York to have an ultra-orthodox, almost certainly a Lubavitcher Rebbe, sent to Hibbing to indoctrinate Bob in untra-orthodox teachings.  It can’t be any surprise that when Bob exhibited his Jewish reverence after his Jesus indoctrination with the Vineyard Fellowship he chose to show himslef as a Lubavitcher.  Welcome home, Bob.  The C of C tells it this way:

According to a 1985 Spin Magazine interview by Dave Engel, Bob said it was above the (L&B) Cafe that Rabbi Reuben Maier stayed while giving Bob Hebrew lessons in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah.  The Rabbi and his wife showed up one day and stayed for a year while Bob got ready for his big event .  The article quotes Bob as saying he would learn Hebrew after school or in the evening for an hour, then go downstairs and boogie at the L&B.  After completing his Bar Mitzvah the Rabbi just disappeared.

     In the interview Bob tells it this way:

There weren’t many Jews in Hibbing, Minnesota.  Most of them I was related to.  The town didn’t have a rabbi, and it was time for me to be bar mitzvahed.  Suddenly a rabbi showed up under strange circumstances for only a year.  He and his wife got off the bus in the middle of the winter.  He showed up just in time for me to learn this stuff.  He was an old man from Brooklyn who had a white beard and wore a black hat and black clothes.  They put him upstairs in the cafe, which was the local hangout.  It was a rock n’ roll cafe where I used to hang out, too.  I used to go there everyday to learn this stuff either after school or after dinner.  After studying with him an hour, or so, I’d come down and boogie.  The rabbi taught me what I had to learn, and after conducting the bar mitzvah, he just disappeared.  The people didn’t want him.  He didn’t look like anybody’s idea of a rabbi.  He was an embarrassment.  All the Jews there shaved their heads and, I think, worked on Saturdays.  And I never saw him again.  It’s like he came and went like a ghost.  Later I found out he was Orthodox.  Jews separate themselves like that.  Christians, too.  Baptists, Assembly of God, Methodists, Calvinists.  God has no respect for a person’s title.  He don’t care what you call yourself.

     The C of C knows the Rebbe’s name was Reuben Maier and Bob Dylan doesn’t?  There were enough people in Hibbing to have a temple and shule but they didn’t have a Rabbi?  The Rebbe Maier showed up in time for Bobby Zimmerman’s Bar Mitzvah but what? it was the first Bar Mitzvah in Hibbing’s Rabbiless history?  No wonder four hundred people showed up.  The Jews in Hibbing shaved their heads and worked on Saturday’s?  I presume Bob means they didn’t wear beards but shaved their faces unlike the Lubavitcher in white beard and one of those funny round hats.  I serously doubt there were three hundred or more Jews walking around Hibbing with shaved heads in 1954.

     They took one look at Rebbe Reuben’s weird beard and outre attire and told him to get out of town?  Now that I can believe.  Beards in ’54 were a sign of great eccentricity or a psychotic desire to draw attention to oneself.  But why in ’85 the mysterioso act?  He just showed up to teach Bobby Zimmerman, a complete unknown with no direction home Lubavitcher tales like this:  (actually this is pretty standard esoteric doctrine adapted for Jewish needs)

The messianic thing has to do with the world of mankind, like it is.  This world is scheduled to go for 7,000 years.  Six thousand years of this where man has his way and 1,000 years when God has his way.  Just like the week.  Six days work, one day rest.  The last thousand years is called the Messianic Age, Messiah will rule.

     Essentially what we have here is a variant of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy along with a little Hebrew Theology.  If one looks real closely one can see the outline of Sigmund Freud’s notion of the unconscious.

     According to Beattie Bob knew, oh, two hundred words of Hebrew.  So much for several years of shule and a year of intensive training by Rebbe Reuben.

     Whether Bob knows or admits it, it must be true that Father Abram sent for Reuben to instruct Bob in mysteries that Abe thought were essential to his vision of Jewish religion while they were not part of the services of the Hibbing congregation.

     It is possible that Abram brought the Rebbe in on the approval of the congregation who rejected him.  The comment by Bob of working Saturdays may be signficant here.  The Jewish sabbath begins on Friday sundown and continues to Saturday sundown.

     As a Lubavitcher, Rebbe Reuben could not have tolerated working during the sabbath while the congregation found it essential amidst a gentile population.  Likewise beards are an integral part of the orthodox religion so that the congregation  also refused to stop shaving.  The only thing mysterious is why it took Reuben so long to catch on.  Or maybe he had a contract for one year and the year was up.  Of course Bob did need help on those two hundred words.

     So Bob’s upstairs memorizing his two hundred words while the throbbing beat pounds insistently through the floor.  The super patient Reuben and his wife never object.  Bob shortly joins the revelers with his two hundred Hebrew words rattling round his skull, steps up to the mike and begins screaming: I’ve got a girl and her name is Echo.  Hmmm.  Quite an image out there in the Lost Land of Bob.

     Now indoctrinated in quaint antiquarian rites Bob is bundled off to Webster, Wisconsin and Camp Herzl to steep himself in Israeli style Jewish living.  Camp Herzl was conducted as Israel in America so those two hundred Hebrew words came in handy in that surrogate for summer in a kibbutz in the Holy Land.

     The summer sojourns must have set Abram back a handsome fee for the times.  Six to eight weeks of essentially summer boarding school does have expenses.  Abe apparently was deeply religious: in Protestant circles he would have been known as a Fundamentalist nut.  He and Mike Huckabee would have gotten along fine.  One wonders if younger son David was given the same treatment.

     So Bob from 1954 on is definitely the product of two nations.  The world of the Three Hanks as the C of C puts it and this world of Adam, Moses and the Messiah.  Bob was named after Sabbatai Zevi the last acknowledged Jewish messiah in the seventeenth century, his Jewish name is Sabtai.

     As kids we all have a lot to reconcile, begin working out at graduation.  Bob had a double load; he had two Bobs to reconcile.  Personalities wander and widen in those years, Bob made a clean split.  On the one hand he was the twerp Bobby Zimmerman of whom it may be said:  There’s no success like failure while on the other he was struggling to be the super successful Bob Dylan in which he failed to assume the mantle so that failure is no success at all.  At least he made this split off persona’s name mean something.  As a note, it was not generally known Dylan was Jewish until after Blonde On Blonde.

     Thus in his movie Renaldo and Clara he is not Bob Dylan.  Anybody can be Bob Dylan he says, you can be Bob Dylan.  Toby Thompson thought he could be and did a pretty good job of it walking a mile or so in Bob’s shoes.  Sounded just like him.

     As remarkable as it is that Bob realized his fantasy beyond anything he could have dreamed and became the hugely successful Bob Dylan he created an entire new set of problems whose solution eluded him.  Well, you know, there’s something lost and something gained while it’s hard to know whether the gain was worth the loss.  However the money has disappeared from the table.

     The result then is Bob looking backward from 2004 to create a fantasy of how it was in Ray and Chloe’s place on Vestry Street in NYC.  The chapter is approriately titled The Lost Land or possibly Never-Never Land might have been better.  The chapter isn’t a complete fabrication but it is fiction.  Something like the various incidents might have happened but not exactly the way Bob tells it.  The framing story of Ray Gooch and Chloe Kiel is pure fiction however.  They could not possibly have existed.

     Bob tells the whole story of the Lost Land within the reference of Ray and Chloe and their fabulous apartment near Vestry below Canal near the Hudson across the street fromt he Cathedral with its bell tower.  Thompson got it right.

     A troubling aspect of Bob for me is his insistance on bumming other people’s apartments.  This seems to be compulsive behavior.

     Bob was actually voluntarily homeless from January of ’61 to October  or November of the same year when he and ‘roommate’ Suze Rotolo took up digs on Fourth St.  I suspect that Father Abe would have been only too happy to supply Bob with funds to live on Vestry Street if he had asked.  Bob is simply untrustworthy in any of his stories.  As he said of what he learned from folk music:  If you told the truth, well and good; if you told the untruth, well and good also, so in Bob’s mind there are no lies, there is only the truth or untruth both having the same value and whichever is more serviceable at the moment.  You can’t believe him.

     A troubling aspect of Bob’s behavior is his habit of bumming couches in other people’s nests; gaining meaning, as it were, from other people’s lives.  Perhaps that was the way he felt of his life in his mother and father’s house.  Or perhaps as a Jewish outsider in a goyish land it was his attempt to insinuate himself in the main stream much as he appropriated Woody Guthrie’s persona.  Of the houses I have traced they have all been those of goys; he didn’t choose to insinuate himself into the houses of his fellow Jews.  His imaginary hosts Gooch and Kiel are obviously goys.

     The Lost Land then is a mythologized version of his childhood and first few months in New York City.  To my mind Ray Gooch is a combination of Dave Van Ronk, Paul Clayton, Matt Helstrom and his father.  Chloe seems simply to be an idealized notion of his mother.  (Study her picture for a few moments again.)

     As the Gooch frame brackets the period from Bob’s encounter with Gorgeous George to the apartment with Suze Rotolo it must represent a time frame from sometime in ’58 to October ’61.  In October Bob Dylan ceased sponging off others to take up his own apartment.

      The only one in this time frame he knew who had a large gun collection was Matt Helstrom.  The Helmstroms also had a large record collection that Bob listened to.  The couch and apartment undoubtedly belonged to Van Ronk while certain exoticisms of Gooch are characteristic of Clayton.  The library of Gooch may simply be the New York City Library of which the long narrow room would merely describe the stacks.

     The Southern character of Gooch must represent a time after Bob studied the South in the library since there are several references to his Civil War studies.  Gooch himself is a Southerner from Virginia gone North which is a symbol in itself.  This can be symbolically described as Father Abe being a Jew in Gentile America.

     Here then Bob creates or accentuates the more pleasant aspects of his memories in contrast to the very bitter unpleasant memories of the songs.  He tells us a great deal about his dream life but little of its realities.  At this point I am of the opinion that the party of Camilla ( who Bob says he gets to know quite intimately) is another fabrication of the based on a true story variety.

     As Bob would say, folk music taught him that if what you said was true,well and good; if what you said was untrue well and good also.  We may probably construe the Lost Land as both true and untrue while a good folk tale.  Even the title has a fictive quality a la Edgar Rice Burroughs.

     To round off the period back in the C of C milieu of Hibbing:  Bob spent his last summer at Camp Herzl in 1957.  In the summer of ’58 he was running back and forth between Hibbing and Minneapolis.  At that time he would have become familiar with Highway 61.

     In his Junior year of ’57-’58 he took up his relationship with Echo Helstrom.  They were going steady hence were not supposed to be dating others.  As he was in Minneapolis most of the summer he left Echo sitting home alone.  She resented this.  As the Senior year began she told Thompson, she took a revenge on Bobby returning his token in public in the hall at school.  Boy, that hurts.

     The feelings must have been much harder than either Bob or Echo portray them.  A key problem area is did Bob spend time in Red Wing Reformatory on Highway 61 below Minneapolis and if he did what did he do to receive his sentence:  I examine this more fully in Exhuming Bob VIII:  The Walls Of Redwing.

     He says in Chronicles that he was absent from school from some time at the beginning of April of ’59.  He was back at least by the June 5th graduation.  His birthday is May 24th.  After that date he would have been eighteen and subject to adult sentencing.  For what It’s worth he says in his song that no inmate was over seventeen.  I’m suggesting that he spent a month of two at Red Wing returning in time for graduation.  Certainly a Big Man in town like Abe could have arranged the graduation if he couldn’t get Bob off that time.

     The question is what did Bob do?  By the middle of this Senior year it appears that he had been in enough scrapes to be known as a troublesome boy; perhaps living out a Rebel Without A Cause persona.  Father Abe used his influence up to that time to avoid unpleasant consequences for the lad.

     I believe Bob’s song The Chimes Of Freedom tells the story of his crime.  Quite simply Echo set him up.  She obviously was not quite as complacent as she tells it.  See Exhuming Bob VIII:  Walls Of Red Wing.

     Returning home from Red Wing his parents threw a graduation party for him.  Bob was reluctant to attend the party, perhaps with good reason but was persuaded to do so.

     This then leaves a very sketchy account of the three or four months of the summer of ’59 for which Bob provides little information.  In Walls Of Red Wing I place his stint at Red Wing in August but that is probably wrong.  In any event the period from April of ’59 to September of ’59 needs to be explained more fully.

     Bob gives some brief details of his stay at Dinkytown but not much.   A little bit of the John Pankake episode while avoiding the important details of his theft of Pankake’s records.

     Thompson has some good information from Ellen Baker whose father’s folk song collection Bob used extensively.

     Then to NYC and his account of The Lost Land segues into his New Morning.

 

 

    

 

 

 

7 Responses to “Exhuming Bob IX, Pensees 7: Into The Lost Land”

  1. D Johnson Says:

    Have you been to Hibbing? I have, and I would not describe the house Bob grew up in as great or large. It is two-storied, but not large, not extravagant. I cannot imagine it was very costly to purchase. Most of the houses we saw in Hibbing were modest.

  2. reprindle Says:

    DJohnson. The house I was born in had three small rooms and an outhouse. At one time I lived in a converted garage with two rooms a narrow hall of a kitchen and a toilet. The main house I grew up in had four rooms a toilet and a back porch. My last house was larger than a great many in Saginaw, Michigan where I grew up. There were no nine room houses within two miles of us. There were some bigger houses though. We considered them mansions.

    So by our standards the Zimmermans lived in a mansion.

    I have never been in Hibbing as you note. The majority of houses in Hibbing cannot be any larger than those I was familiar with. Certainly the Zimmerman house of which I have only seen the pictures available on Flickr was a heck of lot bigger than those while not being what today would be considered a McMansion. Nevertheless the house was large. Bob and his brother had separate bedrooms. What a luxury that would have been for my brother and I.

    So, without being in competition with Hearst Castle I would consider the Zimmerman house more than adequate for Bob, his brother, his parents and his grandmother. In short I would have considered myself in heaven. But that is neither here nor there.

  3. D Johnson Says:

    The Zimmerman house in Hibbing did not look any bigger than many of the other homes, was my point.
    (Bob’s house is on my cell-phone background, of course!)

    On a slightly different note, we were very impressed by the whole town of Hibbing. It was amazingly clean. No matter the size of the house and yard, everything was spotless and well tended. You would have thought all the citizens and come outside at 6 a.m. and swept up the streets and sidewalks. And of course the high school look splendid. Unfortunately, we were there on a Sunday and were not able to go inside, but what we could see through the windows looked great and unlike any other school I have been in.

    We ate in the Zimmy’s cafe, a great hot lunch.

    I was thrilled, as you can imagine to be in Bob’s childhood town.

  4. reprindle Says:

    Yeah, I imagine so. Sounds like a great trip. I’m considering it for this year but don’t know for sure yet. Too bad you missed the high school. That would have given you some idea of what it would have been like to attend.

    Hibbing is a nice looking town in the pictures. Zimmy’s sounds great too. The memory ought to last.

    Nice to hear from you.

  5. D Johnson Says:

    One last thing…. Bob’s house, not pretty. Square. If you get there to see it you will agree, just a square. Could use a new coat of paint. You may have seen it on line somewhere, I saw it before we went up, so I recognized it. No, not pretty at all. But that did stopped me from having my picture taken out front.

    If you do get to go, go on a weekday. The waitress at Zimmy’s said the school principal likes to give tours of the school! There are post cards at Zimmy’s of the inside of the school.

    At Zimmy’s, there is a notebook that Dylan fans can sign and write a note in, but the waitress keeps it behind the counter, so ask about it. She asked, “You didn’t come all the way to Hibbing just because of Bob Dylan, did you?” Well, sort of….YES. Best part of the trip for me!

  6. Leo Treat Says:

    Do state databases for inmates have any protocols for connecting to each other so as to not miss an inmate having crimes from state to state?

  7. reprindle Says:

    I don’t know but I would suspect so although Dylan was never incarcerated.

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