A String of Carols…

As I do my due dylagence in researching Mr. Dylan, I seem to keep running across the name “Carol”.  At least, at some point in time, that name seemed to have some particular significance.  In one book, I think the author even mentioned ‘ a string of Carols…’

Odd coincidence, as there were times in my life when my best friend was named ‘Carol’.  In fact, two of them. And they were my friends during very important times of my life.

Carol C. was my roommate at Bucknell University, in Pennsylvania.  We roomed together for our Freshman and Sophomore years, and then we both spent our Junior year at the University of Edinburgh.

I had decided to study in Edinburgh to try to escape from my dysfunctional birth family.  So I sailed out of New York Harbor on the SS France, hoping for a peaceful year of study.  No sooner did we get settled in our digs, we found ourselves being paraded to the US Consulate on the day the boats were supposed to meet on October 24, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, by a crowd of U of Edinburgh classmates who had decided to stage a demonstration against what they believed was recklessness on the part of JFK and the US. We happened to be wearing pleated skirts, knee socks, blazers and college scarves, so they picked us out right away.

We were denied entry into the Consulate and Bobbies had to clear our way out of the pack of furious protesters who had crowded into the narrow street.  Once back at our flat on Carlton Terrace, we listened to a transistor radio as the boats met.  So much for peace and quiet. We thought of fleeing to Inverness, but were told that the US had a nuclear sub base there, so that would not be safe.  Ironically, Dylan bought a house in Inverness in 2006 that he apparently never lived in and now rents out…


Dylan also wrote the mysterious song Caribbean Wind which seems to have ever-changing lyrics and was given only one live performance — a the Fox Warfield Theater in San Francisco on November 12, 1980.  In it he talks about ships of freedom on the cold gray seas.  Ironically, of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis was also referred to as the “Caribbean Missile Crisis”.


Our Senior year both of us lived in our sorority wings in the Senior dorm- hers was Tri-Delta and mine was Pi Phi. Carol found me in the library the day JFK was shot and we spent the afternoon outside, listening to the first reports of the assassination, going back inside at dusk to watch Air Force One land on a big TV at the Freshman dorm. Other than a university service that evening, announcing cancelation of all classes until after Thanksgiving break, we watched the repeating footage throughout the night.

Carol C. ended up falling in love with Barry, a handsome younger guy who had just started at BU our Senior year.  He was from a tiny British protectorate in the Caribbean.  It is called Belize. His family is prominent in their industry and government.  They married, had two children, but eventually divorced.  Barry died in a tragic plane crash in 2010. Their, and his second wife’s children, still run the family businesses.

Obituary for Barry Bowen, 64, Belize beverage baron

When I moved to New York City, my best friend at MONY, at 1740 Broadway, where we both worked in the Training Department, was Carol S.  We shared an apartment at 7 W. 14th Street, and were there from Sept. of 1964 until early 1966, when each of us ended up getting married and moving to new homes — Carol to Syracuse, with the transplanted computer group of MONY, and me to 500 E. 77th Street…

Update June 19, 2021

After the recent developments regarding the Dylan connection, which I am still attempting to comprehend, it looks as though Dylan could have been receiving tracking information about my whereabouts almost from the time he arrived in NYC.  That puts a new spin on everything I have written prior to now.  I am especially interested in whatever information he had prior to the assassination of President Kennedy.  In hindsight, it does not really surprise me that the same people who were causing me bodily harm were also so-to-speak selling me out behind my back.  In fact, it is giving me a sense of something akin to relief, that there was even more going on that what I was aware of.

In this light, Bob Dylan’s first performance of A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall came in September, 1962 — one month before the traumatic events of the Cuban Missile Crisis:

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

In the liner notes, when the song was eventually published, Dylan tried to claim he wrote it ‘in response’ to the CMC. However, we can see that this is not the case.

So, with this new hypothesis of my whereabouts being tracked and transmitted to Dylan, what do we make of this?

Was something different supposed to happen than what actually transpired?

Was a ‘hard rain’ supposed to have fallen on all of us?  But, for some surprise reason did not?

Dylan has written any number of songs about ships and Titanic since then, but nothing at that time.  Did he not have information that I was not in the US?  Did it appear to make a difference to the expected outcome? Or did he have the information but underestimated its significance in some way?

While my experience at the US Consulate in the UK was distressing, it was nothing compared to what President Kennedy was facing and dealing with.  He was the hero of the hour and for all time, for that matter. There is just no question about that.  But did this change in plans and outcome cause an outcry in Dylan’s camp? Why did he backtrack about the song?  Was he trying to cover something up? Was JFK not supposed to have succeeded in maintaining peace?

Following this hypothesis, I would say that if this were to have been the case, there would have been serious repercussions.

Could one of them be Dylan’s first hastily put-together trip to the UK and then to Italy?

I could say he followed me there, as we were in the same vicinity in London over Christmas in 1962.  And then, guess what? I went to Italy.  And so did he. (More about that in another post soon.)

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