It was about 1969 when Ramona and I attended a "Love-in" in San Diego's Balboa Park. "Love-ins" was just another name for "Be-ins" and were essentially concerts in the park or maybe it would be better to say, a cross between concerts in the park and "acid tests" since many in the crowd were dropping acid. I don't remember who played but I do know that it was a lovely day. As Ramona and I were getting ready to leave, some young swabbies started talking to us and offered us a truck for free. Apparently they were going out to sea the next day and wanted to get rid of this old milk truck. We took a look at it and immediately accepted. The only problem was getting it somewhere as Ramona had her little stick shift car and this milk truck had a stick shift.
Somehow, Ramona tried to teach me in five minutes how to drive a stick shift. I remember we needed to get gas and we proceeded very slowly but then we came to a hill and going down the hill, I must have been pressing the clutch rather than the gas and the truck was moving way to fast down the hill. Somehow, I did get into the gas station but I hit the pump and caused some minor damage. The attendant looked at us and realized they were not going to be able to get any damages from us and so they let us go on our way.
Ramona and I decided to bring a group to Los Angeles. We would drive up to Hollywood's Sunset Strip. I was still under age so would not be able to actually get into any of the clubs like the Whiskey A-Go-Go but it would still be a fun adventure. Several blocks of the Sunset Strip were a happening place where young people converged.
Everything started out well. We got just past the nuclear power plant that is along the coast when the truck started losing speed and the engine was cutting out. We pulled to the side of the road. Some of us decided to hitchhike back to San Diego. Other's decided to hitchhike on to L.A.. The group broke up and Ramona and I hitchhiked on to L.A. to the Sunset Strip.
We arrived safely and checked out the scene of young people. We had some joints with us and were having a good time. I believe there was a group, I don't remember who it might have been, that we wanted to see but would have to hitchhike to another area of Los Angeles. As we were getting ready to leave The Sunset Strip, we were offered a ride by some young black men. Ramona was black and these young men seemed friendly and Ramona seemed okay with taking the ride and so I got into the front seat with the driver and Ramona got into the backs seat between two of the young men.
We were driven to some L.A. alley that was not our intended destination. Everything had seemed fine up until that point, when the car stopped and the driver leaned over with a knife to abdomen and he told me to "get out." There was a lot of confusion and fear in that moment but I got out of the car and it sped away with Ramona in the back seat screaming. I started screaming. I was screaming louder than I had ever screamed before. Back porch lights along the alley started lighting up. Soon, a police car arrived.
I told the police what had happened and they put me in the back seat of their car. We sped around L.A. while the officer's asked me questions about the Ramona and the young men. When they heard that Ramona was black and the young men were black, their racist mentality started becoming evident. They insisted that Ramona probably knew these young men, (doesn't every black woman on earth know every black man on earth?) They insisted that Ramona and these young men were probably playing a joke on me, the "whitey."
Somehow, Ramona was found" after having been raped by the young men. Of course, she was very upset but then the police, themselves, made it worse. At that point, all she wanted to do was to get out of there and so we did and we hitchhiked back to San Diego.
There would be several trials for which we had to return to Los Angeles. All the boys were caught. All were found guilty and all served time.
The first time I went to Juvenile Hall in San Diego, I must have been 16 or 17. I think it was after I had been to San Francisco. In those days. San Diego had a curfew of 10m for anyone under 18. Every night, if you were watching television in San Diego and 10pm, there would be a public service announcement and the announcer would say "It is ten o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"
One night, I had been to a beach party after going to The Palace and I had been given something new called STP that was supposed to be like L.S.D. except that it was supposed to last for three days rather than just 8-10 hours. I can't imagine as a senior why I would have had ANY inclination to want to take something like that but I guess I was just young and adventurous. Regardless, whatever it actually was that I took, it didn't last three days.
It must have been right around 10pm and a group of us had stopped to get a bite to eat at a Denny's. As we were walking out of the restaurant, a police car pulled up into the parking lot. We were obviously a group of young hippie types and so the police had to check everybody's id. Of course, my ID would have shown me to be under 18 and out past curfew. I was arrested and handcuffed and put in the back of the police car. I remember telling myself to quit smiling as we drove to juvenile hall. I was really coming on to the STP by that time and I'm sure I had a silly grin on my face but I couldn't seem to stop grinning!! I was handcuffed in the back of a police car tripping my brains out.
When we got to juvenile hall, they processed me and put me in a "seclusion" room. This was a locked room with a small window through which they could check on me. The next morning, I was taken out of the cell by one of the officers, who must have thought I was very high or very stupid, and he tried to make me believe he was giving me a lie detector test while he asked a few questions. I gave non-committal answers and didn't say anything of significance and my mom came pretty early and picked me up. Of course she was furious and told me that if I EVER got locked up in juvenile hall again, she would not come and get me again!!
So a while later, again before I had turned 18, I was hitchhiking on a freeway onramp. It was legal to hitchhike in San Diego but you had to be careful where you did it. Someone had let me off in the middle of an interchange between two freeways, in a spot that knew wasn't legal and there was no way to exit other than going onto one freeway or the other. A police car came along and picked me up and I was taken to juvenile hall again and put in seclusion again!
Even though my mom had threatened not to pick me up if there was a second juvenile hall detention, she relented and did finally show up and sprung me.