In the mid 1970s I lived with four other 20 somethings in a five bedroom, four bath mansion at 69 26th Street in Atlanta which we rented for $500 per month. The house is now appraised at over $2 million. Look it up if you're curious.
I don't remember the exact details but I do recall that it was through my roommate Dan Simpson that an entourage of young Soviets, essentially a goodwill team sent to show that young Russians of the Brezhnev era were happy, educated and prosperous, came to our house. Dan, then a sometimes Dante employee who made his money as a broker of imported marijuana, met them at Dante's and struck up a conversation that resulted in their visit.
They also were 20 somethings, 8 or 10 of them as I recall, and they were attractive, well groomed, charming, and spoke excellent English. Their chaperone was an amiable middle-aged college professor. It soon became apparent, because I offered them liquor which I readily swilled, that they were permitted to drink only beer and wine.
Looking back I imagine these young communists were surprised that my band of ne'er-do-wells were all able to own cars and live in relative splendor, particularly after I pressed them on the following: I explained that it was common for one of us to not work a job for weeks at a time and during that time we lived off the largess of our housemates. I wanted to know what would happen to me if I did that in Russia. (Okay, devil's advocate that I was being, I knew the answer) but they seemed confused and acted as if they didn't know what I was talking about until they sought a diplomatic answer from the professor who like me could drink vodka. You would go to jail he assured me, by which we both knew he meant they would give me a job with room and board (800 calories a day) in a frigid part of the planet where I might survive two years.
It occurred to me later that it was I who was a free man living in a Fabian socialist circle while my guests were slaves of their state.
To be continued.
Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...