John Potter

On Gord Clee


They say you cannot slander the dead, nor should not speak ill of the
dead. So though I would not intentionally create a bad fiction about Gord
my memories may be wrong and I hope Brian and Peyton would correct them.
Below I will answer what I can based on my personal recollection.

> Gord's sites at Rochdale farm - where were they?

When Gord came to the farm in the second fall I was there,
1976, or was it the first in 1975, he had been one of the last 40
residents of Rochdale and was awaiting trial for a pot bust. Initially
he lived in a tent as a guest of the farm over by where the zome used to
stand just down the driveway from Jocelyne's dome. There had also been a
teepee on that site. It was close enough to the dome that when I called
loudly from there he could hear me. He lived in it even after the snow was
over a foot deep, and was able to successfully keep it warm with a blue
tin stove that I think he got at the Bay store. He usually had a pot of
food cooking on it. I recall that the stove was tight enough that when he
put fresh wood on the embers and opened the the little round air inlet
that it pulsed fire out those holes like a jet and that if he took the pot
of food off the top lid it would explode. He would do this for my
amusement occasionally.

He then lived in the farmhouse in 76 when Judy and I lived there before
our place was livable out by the stream. After a while that winter he
moved up to the power house on top of the hill that was Brian's. Gord was
well read and pointed out that this place, like his room at Rochdale, were
similar in size to the cabin that Thoreau had built out at Walden Pond.
At some point he became a Matrix member and decided to have his own site.
I believe that one of his thoughts when he choose the location going up
the farmhouse driveway was that if the farmhouse was ever to get hydro
there would have to be a few poles put in and that hydro was willing to
come that far at no charge.

> He lived in Yellowknife at the end of his life and sold stereo equipment, right?

He and Brian showed me the practicality of using a car radio in a non-hydro
setting. So when Judy moved from Denver to live up here with me I had
convinced her that she should transfer all of her records to cassette
tape, and we lived for several years taking a car battery into the gas
station in Golden lake once a month to keep up with news and music.
> Was he always such a big guy?

All the time I knew Gord he was fat and smoked a lot. He had a little
machine that would push tobacco into ready made tubes that he would then
put into a rectangular Keene's Mustard tin. He was able to control his
consumption this way and the cigarettes never got squashed. He would only
smoke the number he had rolled up at the beginning of the day. He had a
finely tuned sense of economy and knew what were the most economical ways
to eat nutritiously, and what beverage had the best price per oz of alcohol.
He had been involved in Rochdale with feeding people, ran a little
restaurant I believe. He and Candice Doff with others believed that while
the pressure to kick us all out of Rochdale was on that it was essential
for those that were going to carry on the struggle that they be fed
healthy foods. He explained to me how he had adapted double entry
accounting to the needs of a small entrepeneur. He called it the 4 pocket
method. On the left side front and back were money in and out to suppliers
and the right side front and back were for money in and out to customers.
I have never been very good with money in that sense, I can't even keep a
checkbook balanced, so I never quite understood the system or used it.

I loved visiting with Gord for his ability to talk interestingly on most
any subject, his good nature and compassion. He seemed very happy with his
short marriage to an incredibly gorgeous American woman who did not seem
to me to have his wit. I have forgotten her name, but I assume they met in
Rochdale since that is the first place I had seen her. She was on the nude
roof of Rochdale one morning when I came out there rubbing oil all over
her lovely body. Sitting around her were a bunch of men. I was reminded of
of the scene when I saw dogs hanging around a house where there was
a bitch in heat.
I have no pictures of Gord. Shortly after he died, Steve Smock suggested
that some of us that knew him get together for a memorial at the location
where his tent had been pitched. There we reminisced and Steve, who had
some experience with stone work, suggested a stone cairn be put up. This
was a source of argument as to who would decide what form it would take
and direct the builders. So it was decided that each of us would choose
and place our own stone. Jenifer picked first and choose the bedrock it
is built on. It was a good choice because with no frost heaving it the
inookshook there has stood for many years.