The settlement at Frostpocket, December 1970-April 1972

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After the purchase of Frostpocket, the unity of purpose that had characterized Ragnarokr’s early years gave way to other, more private interests. In July 1970 Steve Spring moved to an apartment on Spadina Avenue although he continued to work in the leather shop. That summer two American expatriate women from the neighborhood, Simone Bulger (from Maine) and Sonya Cunningham Kelly (from Illinois), were also working in the shop. Steve Spring and Simone Bulger fell in love and in December 1971 they were married. After his marriage, Steve stopped working at Ragnarokr. He set up his own workshop and did business as ‘Leather Arts by Spring’. In 1974 he began to sell leather goods on consignment at the Ragnarokr leather shop and in 1979 he returned to work full-time in the shop although he did not rejoin the co-operative. Steve wanted to maintain his own identity as a leather worker and as a businessman. From 1979 until 1986 he sold his leather goods on consignment in Ragnarokr under his own company name while playing an increasingly important role in managing the shop.

Mary’s son, Randy, was twenty years old in 1972. He had been working full-time for four years in the leather shop making custom-order leather goods. He developed a student/teacher relationship with Steven Burdick (from Florida), a scholar of Nordic languages and a PhD candidate at University of Toronto. Steve Burdick guided Randy towards the Classics and European languages. Randy was a skilled musician who played classical guitar. He had no interest in moving to Frostpocket although he helped with the construction of the community house in the fall of 1971. Thereafter, while the others came and went between the settlement at Frostpocket and Toronto, Randy stayed in the city, worked in the leather shop and studied European languages and culture in his spare time.

George was in California with Colleen and it was not clear if he had taken a leave of absence or was gone forever. Philip and Mary tried one more time to interest the Baldwin Street exile community in Ragnarokr’s back-to-the-land project. They invited selected members of the community to build homes at Frostpocket without having to join the leather shop commune. In January 1972 they eliminated Ragnarokr’s remaining communal features and the leather shop became a producer’s co-operative. Philip invited Greg Sperry, Don and Judy Holman, Tom Bonanno, Chris Risk and Myra Kaplan to join the settlement at the Frostpocket. Only Chris Risk (a Canadian from Durham, Ontario) accepted the offer.

Skip and Judy O’Dell from the Ooshke Noodin clothing store at 31 Baldwin Street also expressed interest. Skip, Judy and John Anderson (Ooshke Noodin’s owner) were all associated with the Whole Earth commune. In September 1971 John Anderson was voted out of the Whole Earth commune and was paid several thousand dollars for his share of the Whole Earth Natural Food Store on McCaul Street. He traveled to Mexico and purchased a quantity of typical Mexican clothing and sandals. At first John sold the clothing at Rochdale College on Bloor Street but later, with a loan from his father, opened the Osshke Noodin clothing store at 31 Baldwin Street, next door to the leather shop. (Later John Anderson changed the name of the store to Morningstar Trading.) Skip and Judy were both employees at John Anderson’s new store. Skip (an American deserter) was a woodworker and made and sold musical instruments. Skip and Judy also accepted an invitation to build at Frostpocket.

In November 1971 Mary and Madelyn agreed that they would not object if George returned to the leather shop and Philip wrote him to invite him to return from California. In January 1972 George and Colleen replied in the affirmative and in February George, Colleen and Colleen's son Seth returned from California by way of Texas. George returned to work at Ragnarokr and Colleen found a job at a publisher’s house doing layout and paste-up. They shared an apartment with Janice Spellerberg at the corner of College and Henry Streets. By April Chris Risk, Skip O’Dell and George were all cutting and peeling logs for their respective houses in Frostpocket.

The narrative continues at The new cooperative, December 1970-January 1972

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