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John Hayden Herman

April 8, 2015

Yenne_1969 John Hayden Herman 03

John-John, as Kim Thompson called him, was one of the original cafeteria hippies in 1967. He was a year older than the rest of us because he worked for “a bread factory” with his sister in Boston. John was an artist. A graphic artist, I mean. He took drawing at the University of Montana. Once he even promised he would graduate in 1972. “How about you?” he asked. “Sure,” I replied. Then we shook.

I’m giving myself 5 more minutes to tell about John Herman. He rolled his own cigarets. He always had to roll just one more when he and Larry Felton were roomies at Elrod Hall. He was paranoid. He was paranoid about being paranoid. He knew how to bargain for a bag of weed.

He drove us to a Northern Pacific railroad job in Avon, Montana, in this piece of crap rust bucket of a panel truck that someone swindled him for.

He often commented on women. Complimentary, always. He often told me I was full of shit.

When I showed up one quarter at the university with an electric Gibson John Herman, Gordon Simard, and I were lured in to play in a rock group we called, “Water.” Our detractors called us “heavy water,” but they were being sarcastic. However, we were pretty good. We had a repertoire of about 3 songs, plus one we called “slow blues.” John Herman played drums. Slingerland set, but I’m not sure. He always took off his shirt and he was skinny, ribs poking out. He never seemed to have facial hair. Maybe that’s why he often called me “Dan the bearded giant.”

I ended up joining the Marines the same year Herman and I worked for the railroad. I saw him just once after that, in about 1978, or so. I was a student in Missoula again, collecting veteran’s benefits. He phoned to say he was pulling into town. He worked as a long-haul truck driver for North American Van Lines. In fact, his address was c/o NAVL. He stayed with my brother’s ex-wife who had an apartment at married student housing near us.

Perhaps a month later John phoned me from somewhere. “I’m in the nut house!” he said.

A couple years later Larry Felton wrote to me with the sad news that John’s sister had told him that John had committed suicide.

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One Comment
  1. Nancy herman permalink

    Thank you for this thoughtful note. I miss him every day.

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