Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, Dead at 59

  Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, Dead at 59

Posted by FoM on November 03, 2001 at 10:47:05 PT
By Douglas Martin 
Source: New York Times 

Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, one of the Merry Pranksters on the novelist Ken Kesey's boisterously psychedelic bus, which helped define the hippie way of life as it emerged in the 1960's, died on Oct. 28 at a hospital in Callicoon Center, N.Y., near his home. He was 59 and had succeeded in leaving behind the troubled 22- year-old who rode the bus on trips both physical and metaphorical.The cause was a heart attack, his family said.
Mr. Lehmann-Haupt was a principal source for Tom Wolfe during his research for his best-selling book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," published in 1968. In it, the bus emerged as a metaphor for the cultural shift from the cool world of the Beatniks to the exuberant, sometimes self-destructive craziness of the hippie generation.During long walks with Mr. Wolfe in Central Park, Mr. Lehmann-Haupt precisely — and fantastically — described his own harrowing drug experiences, both on the famous bus and off.As Mr. Wolfe wrote, "Sandy had a mad sense of the world torn apart into stained-glass shards behind his eyelids."Hellmut Alexander Lehmann- Haupt was born on March 22, 1942, in Manhattan, the third and youngest child of the author and bibliographer Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt.His brothers Christopher, now chief obituary writer of The New York Times, and Carl, a graphic designer, described his early childhood as troubled, and as an adult he suffered from addictions and bipolar disorder. Dropping out of New York University after six months, he became a sound engineer.When Mr. Kesey visited New York for the opening of the stage version of his book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Sandy's brother Carl introduced him to Mr. Kesey. Sandy moved into Mr. Kesey's home in Palo Alto, Calif., and installed a new sound system.He experimented with LSD, then legal, with others living there. By this time, they had been christened Merry Pranksters.In the spring of 1964, Mr. Kesey bought a 1939 International Harvester school bus, painted a frenzy of primary colors. Mr. Lehmann-Haupt installed its powerful sound system and sometimes drove it.Mr. Lehmann-Haupt was one of just two Pranksters invited to take LSD with the psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary when they dropped in to see him. But his paranoia and anxiety grew, and the strange, zany trip soon ended for him, followed by many lost years.Over the last decade, through deepening religious conviction and 12-step recovery programs, he stopped using drugs, found a job as an advocate for the mentally ill, married and bought a house. He no longer needed disability payments. He told young people that he regretted the way Mr. Kesey and his followers had glorified drugs. "His legacy was not something he was proud of," said his wife, Fredrika. Complete Title: Sandy Lehmann-Haupt, One of Ken Kesey's Busmates, Dead at 59Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Douglas MartinPublished: November 3, 2001Copyright: 2001 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Sites about Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters Ken Kesey, Checking In on His Famous Nest Finally Makes Trip from 60s to 00s 

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 19, 2008 at 17:45:18 PT
Will Otey 
I removed the extra post. That happens sometimes.
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Comment #3 posted by Will Otey on February 19, 2008 at 17:34:17 PT:

Sandy lahmann-Haupt
In regards to the last comment about Sandy Lehmann-Haupt. Sandy himself denounced the glorification of drugs--and for good reason--they are incredibly dangerous. I am not right wing and I have done LSD and mushrooms many times. These substances seem to unlock doors, but where do these doors ultimately lead?--not to wisdom or enlightenment in my opinion. Many, many persons have ended up in mental asylums who otherwise may have had relatively happy and productive lives. This old quote about "what does not kill us makes us stronger" is just that--an old quote. It has nothing to do with the truth. Plenty of things that do not kill a person will cripple them for life and render them weak or addled. Hippy platitudes that sound convincing are often mired in the destructive arrogance of a conformist, Pied Piper mentality.Will Otey

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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo MD on November 09, 2001 at 12:47:24 PT:

I am very sorry to hear these two pieces of news. These men were genuine cultural pioneers. Irrespective of the kind of vicious and retributive criticism their credo has provoked from various people on the right wing (George Will, Moral Majority et al.), there are valuable lessons available from their lives and times. They have been cultural icons, indeed. Wolfe's treatise of their exploits, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a lasting tribute.My particular unhappiness would be for Sandy, and his regrets about certain aspects of his life. I would not see it the same way. Whatever does not kill us may make us stronger. I suspect that Ken is more at peace with his life and legacy. I wish him good luck in whatever life's journey may hold for him.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 09, 2001 at 12:03:00 PT

News Brief from The Associated Press
Cuckoo's Nest Author Ken Kesey in Critical Condition, Suffering from Liver Tumor 

Source: Associated Press
Author: Jeff Barnard, Associated Press Writer
Published: Friday, November 9, 2001 
Copyright: 2001 Associated Press Ken Kesey, the author of the best-selling novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and a pioneer of the psychedelic 1960s, was in critical condition at a Eugene hospital Friday, recovering from surgery for a tumor on his liver. Kesey, 66, was operated on several weeks ago to remove a tumor found on his liver following complaints of abdominal pain, said longtime friend Ken Babbs. "He's holding his own, but it looks like it will be a long, hard struggle," said Babbs. He spoke from his home in Dexter, not far from Kesey's home in Pleasant Hill. Kesey was in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center, said Diane Mattoon, a hospital spokeswoman. Kesey burst onto the literary scene with "Cuckoo's Nest" in 1962, which he wrote from his experiences working at a veterans hospital. During the same period, Kesey volunteered for testing on the drug LSD. After writing his second novel, "Sometimes a Great Notion," he bought an old school bus dubbed "Further." With Neal Cassidy, hero of Jack Kerouac's beat generation classic "On the Road," at the wheel and pitchers of LSD-laced Kool-Aid in the cooler, Kesey and a band of friends who called themselves The Merry Pranksters took a trip across America to the New York World's Fair. It would be 28 years before Kesey published his third major novel, "Sailor Song" in 1992, and he later said he lost interest in the novel as an art form after discovering the magic of the bus. The bus ride was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's 1968 account, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." The movie version of "Cuckoo's Nest" swept the 1974 Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actor and best actress. But Kesey, who has never seen the film, sued the producers because it took the viewpoint away from the character of the schizophrenic American Indian, Chief Bromden. Kesey, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992, set down roots in Pleasant Hill in the mid-'60s, after serving four months in jail for a marijuana bust in California. His rambling red barn-house has become a landmark of the psychedelic era, attracting visits from myriad strangers in tie-dyed clothing seeking enlightenment. 
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