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A few more memories of Dana Graham

December 14, 2016

Tom Struckman and Dana Graham with their newborn daughter, Hannah Banana in 1971 probably in NW Montana.

Dana was just another pea-coat clad hippie girl in our universe at the University of Montana back in 1967-68-69.  She got my attention once when we guys were hanging around the steps of Brantley Hall.  She sang “Danny boy” to me.  Hell, she sang to everyone in those days, not just me.

These memories are painful to me now that she is dead.  I almost cannot get myself to bring them up.

Because she was a year ahead of us in school, I remember that she once showed my girlfriend and me some work she did when she worked for someone in the botany department.  She would look into a microscope and draw what she saw, the color it with watercolors.  This impressed my girlfriend so much she mentioned it to me later.

We were all very comfortable hippies in those days.  Our parents paid for school and we took classes and smoked a lot of dope and hung out together at the nearby University Congregational Church in the evenings to escape the icy weather.

Funny how a person can insinuate herself into the consciousness over time.  Dana was one who gradually came into focus.  There was the time she sang.  There was the time she showed us the drawings colored meticulously with water colors.  There was the time we smuggled her into the dormitory.  I remember we smoked pot with her and the rest of our friends in Larry Felton’s dorm room.  Larry had bought some moldy pot and had to dry it in his closet.  He tried treating it with wine and did other things to it.  I don’t remember ever smoking it.  I think he took a loss and threw it away.

Larry Felton still smokes pot, last I heard.  Recreational pot is legal in California now, where Larry lives.

I was sweet on Dana for a short time in Missoula when I still lived in the back of Peter Koch’s house.  Dana and I traveled to Seattle in a volkswagen bug, her on my lap.  We fell out of love as quickly as we fell into it.  I remember she and I tried to sell acid on the street of the University District in Seattle.  Trouble is, nobody bought any.  Back in Missoula I tried some of the product we tried to sell.  It didn’t do anything but make me sick.  I remember Tom gave me a couple aspirin tablets to help my symptoms.  P. suggested that we could travel to Canada and homestead.  I think I nodded my head.

Dana and my brother married!  They lived with my mother and then with my sister, then they moved to northern Montana.  Ultimately they had a child, Hannah Banana Graham.

P. and I moved to Southern California where I finished a long stint in the Marine Corps.  We had three children and we were very happy.  Finally we earned and saved enough money to quit the military and move back to Montana.

By then Tom and Dana had divorced.  Dana and we remained close friends, though.  We had many adventures with Dana and with Hannah.

All of this makes losing Dana harder and harder.


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