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.
When I first lived at 3727 College Avenue in San Diego, it was with mom and George. I was taking adult school classes at Hoover High School evening adult division by this time and trying to get high school credits. I was taking a creative writing class, philosophy class and a drama class. The Philosophy class was where I first learnd of the Bhagavad Gita. The Drama class led to my being in my first play in San Diego. I had done a little theater in high school in Seattle. My drama teacher at Hoover seemed to take a liking to me and cast me as the thief in Jay Friedman's play, "Scuba Duba." I was on a macrobiotic diet for a while during that time and she complained that it affected my performance because I had no energy. After about a week of eating nothing but raw brown rice and water, I was hallucinating and I am sure she was right about my performance!
Mom and George moved to an apartment they rented in the Los Angeles area when George got a job there and left Roger and I to live in the College Avenue house in San Diego. I had several significant events in that house. One was reading "The Psychedelic Experience." The second was going to the Newport Pop Festival. The third was coming to terms with the fact that I was gay. The fourth was going before the San Diego Draft Board to explain to them why I was a Conscientious Objector. I don't remember the order of these events though.
In June, while living in the house on College Avenue, I heard about the Newport Pop Festival that was going to take place over a three day period between June 20th and 22nd that year. I suppose this was a precurser to the Woodstock Festival that would take place later that summer on the East Coast.
Although not as widely reported on and without any theatrical release, the Newport Pop Festival was attended by 150,000 fans and was the largest pop concert up until that time. It took place at Devonshire Downs ractrack. I know that April Nellans came and I think Rosie Flores attended as well. I think that April had a Citroen car at the time and drove up but I thinik I actually hitchhiked there. I'm not sure that I brought a sleeping bag and I don't know that I slept much that weekend anyway. If I did, it must have just been in sleeping in the dirt which is entirely possible.
On Friday, June 20, 1969, Albert King, Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Joe Cocker, Southwind, Spirit and Taj Mahal all played. If I remember correctly, Jimi Hendrix was in a fowl mood and gave the finger to the audience and walked off early.
On Saturday, June 21, 1969 Albert Collins, Brenton Wood, Buffy Ste. Marie, Charity, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Burdon, Friends of Distinction, Jethro Tull, Lee Michaels, Love, Steppenwolf and Sweetwater played. (I don't remember all this from memory but was findable on the internet).
On Sunday, June 22, 1969 Booker T & the MGs, Chambers Brothers, Flock, Grass Roots, Johnny Winter, Marvin Gaye, Mother Earth, Buddy Miles, Mother Earth, Eric Burdon (jam), Poco (formerly Pogo), The Byrds, The Rascals and Three Dog Night. Jimi Hendrix played again and I think he apologized to the audience for Friday and wanted to make it up to them for his being in such a foul mood previously. .Of course he was incredible. There is video of his performance on youtube.
Up until this time, I had been having intermittent sexual encounters with men. This would often be related to hitchhiking. Back then, there was no such thing as a "gay" consciousness really and most of the men that I had these enounters with were closeted and I think most of them felt ashamed and guilty. What was typical of the time was to be picked up hitchhiking and be told that I would be taken to wherever I wanted to be taken after I agreed to have sex with them and had allowed them to take me elsewhere first. Usually, the sex was oral and afterward, once the man driving had their sexual needs met, I would often be left in the middle of nowhere and had to find my own way back. Sometimes I would be further away from my destination than when I had first entered their vehicle! There was no sense of camaraderie or brotherhood or pride that would come in a couple of years after that when the "gay" movement started coming together at the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies.
The American Psychiatric Association still considered homosexuality a mental illness until 1974, a full five years away. Occasionally I would become depressed about my sexuality. At that time, I had not really come out to anyone. I had experienced my first actual "relationship" with another man that went beyond just adolescent play or quick, meaningless hitchhiking episodes. There came a time that I was realizing that I really was a homosexual and I was realizing it was something that I couldn't change and that this was who I had always been and was who I would always be. It scared me to come to that realization. I had always been able to rationalize that I was just going through a phase or something but now I know that it was more than just a phase. There was no one I could talk to about my feelings and what was going on in my life. I was becoming pretty desperate and possibly suicidal. I think I called a suicide hotline or something but somehow I got the name of a psychotherapist. He had his office near Balboa Park and I made an appointment to see him. I remember being pretty distraught at the time and having much difficulty getting the words out to say why I was even there. When it finally did come out that I was homosexual, he asked me if being homosexual was what bothered me or people attitude towards my being homosexual. He let me see for the first time that being gay was not the problem. The problem was with the attitudes of others. It changed my life.
During this period, while living on College Avenue with Roger, I read "The Psychedelic Experience," a manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead By Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., & Richard Alpert, Ph.D. It was during the same period that I was studying the Bhagavad Gita in the philosophy class at Hoover night school. I made plans for a "guided" trip using Leary, Metzner and Alpert's book. I taped all of the verses from the book and planned music that I would listen to including the song "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles that had the lyric "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream..." I planned each thing I would eat during the journey.
I obtained some mescaline and one night when I was alone in the house, I proceeded on the trip. I swallowed the gel capsule containing the tan colored powder that was derived from the peyote cactus. The effects were similar to L.S.D. for me and, of course there is never any way to know what you are actually getting with street drugs. It may have been L.S.D. and just sold as mescaline. Psilocybin was another hallucinogenic drug that had similar effects to L.S.D. and mescaline. The differences were subtle but, for me, with L.S.D., there was always kind of a chemical taste in the mouth. I was told at one time that L.S.D. was cut with strychnine and that it what caused the taste. That never made since to me since strychnine is a poison and I recently looked it up and apparently there is no documentation of L.S.D. every being cut with strychnine so maybe it was just an urban myth.
Most of the night went accoring to plan except when Roger and Steve Arnez came in. There was some disruption but the trip itself seemed to account for such disruption as the entire point was to let go of all positive and negative and to go with the flow and not get attached to either positive or negative. It was another life changing event in that it illustrated the nirvana and enlightenment of non-attachment and letting go. I felt that it was made clearer than ever to me what my ego was and how it was possible to let go of some of that as well.
The Viet Nam war was escalating by this time and when a young man turned eighteen, you were expected to register for the draft. I had known a couple people that had served in Viet Nam and they were never the same afterward. One was a close friend I had when still living with Darlene and Chuck in Seattle. I know it's strange that someone could be a close friend at one point in one's life and then you are not able to even remember theri name forty years later but that is the case. His mom had an answering service and had a big switchboard in their big purple house. She was the first person I had every known that was into Yoga and she brough her son and I to classes in Seattle. I learned progressive relaxation in those classes. After I left Seattle, her son either joined the service or was drafted and I didn't see him for a couple of years. The next time I made contact with him, he was cold towards me and seemed to be seething with anger toward the world. We never did get together after that.
Mark Heideman was another close friend that served in Viet Nam. He had been the bass player for the Luv Please and I don't remember whether he joined or was draftered either. It seems like there was some advantage to joining if you thought they were about to draft you anyway and so it seems like a lot of guys would panic and join rather than waiting for the draft. Mark was shot by friendly fire while in Viet Nam and was disabled after his return. He seemed to have some bitterness as well but was still friendly to me. For some reason, instead of continuing to live in Southern California where we had known him from, he settled in Oregon. Maybe it was because of his wife? I believe he was in Salem at one point. I saw him when hitchhiking through one year and he was single and another time he was married with children.
Zutter was a friend that we met in Toppenish that was in the National Guard already when we met him. He would serve a weekend here and a weekend there and I think he had thought that he could avoid going to Viet Nam but serving in the Guard. At some point that no longer was the case and his unit was being called up and he was going to go. I think that he just didn't report for duty which made him A.W.O.L. and he got arrested. Somehow he escaped though, and fled to Canada. A couple of years later Henry, Leslie and I went up to see him in Calgary with his wife and I think he might have had a child by then. That was the last I saw him although we corresponded for a while.
Roger considered shooting off a toe. I'm not sure if he was just kidding at the time but I actually think he was serious. By the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, it had become evident what a debacal and waste of lives Viet Nam was.and young men were scrambling to escape this meat grinder. At some point during this period, I was in Toppenish and would drive Roger to a quack psychiatrist in Yakima that gave him shock treatments. This same doctor had also given these bogus, useless treatments to both Irene and Darlene and various time.
The truth is, I don't remember ever seeing Roger depressed about anything up until that point in his life, and believe the initial intention of the electro shock treaments was to avoid unnecessary death or maiming in a foolish old man's war. I would drive him to the doctor and then pick him up afterward, dazed and confused with his eyes bright red. Although shock treatments were then and continue to be a controversial treatment for depression, it seems to me that in Roger's case, they were the initiation of problems with depression rather than a cure.
I had known since I was a small child that I would never serve in the military. When Roger would play with is little army men, and wanted to see John Wayne World War Two movies, I had absolutely no interest. When adults would be sitting around discussing their wartime experiences or anything related to combat, I knew that this was something that I would do everything I could to avoid.
I started working on my conscientous objector status long before I turned eighteen. I had written a paper explaining my philosophical beliefs at the time and why they were not consistent with the military. I documented every war protest that I participated in which was only a few by that time. You might ask why I didn't just tell them I was homosexual. The answer to that is that I really wasn't that certain myself up until just about the time I had to go before the draft board. I knew that there were many young men that were heterosexual that were trying to get out of the military by saying they were homosexual and many were drafted anyway. Regardless, I prepared for consientous objector status.
The entire process eludes me now but I know that there came a time that I had to go before the draft board in San Diego and present my case and defend my beliefs. I believe that you submitted forms and your rationale for why you could not serve militarily and then an appointment was made and you went before the board. I think there were about six people that I had to talk to. I did add at the last minute that I thought that I might be homosexual just as insurance although ultimately, the deferment I was givan was a consientous objector status. This did not entirely exempt me from service though. I could still be called up to serve as a medic but at that time, you were also given the option of finding your own position in a non-profit, community service type job and that would be what I would attempt to find for the next couple of years.
While living on College Ave, I know that I traveled to San Francisco for a visit. I don't remember how I got there that time. Possibly I hitchhiked. Somehow I found Leslie and she was essentially living on the streets at that time. I must have gone there for the holidays as I remember drinking champagne with her in Northbeach. At that time, the streets of Northbeach were closed off for New Years Eve and there were thousands of people in the streets. By the end of the evening, we were pretty much falling down drunk. What was amazing to me was that you could actually be falling down drunk in front of the San Francisco Police and they didn't seem to care at all. In San Diego, if we had been acting that way, especially as young as we were, we would have surely been arrested.
I think it was on that trip that I had my first real gay "affair." Leslie and I were hanging out in the Northbeach area and we met a guy whose name eludes me now but it seems like it was Don. That would be strange since my name was still Don at that time and it seems like if his name were Don that I would remember it more easily? Regardless, he was staying in what could probably best be described as a flop house. It was one of those hotels where you could get a room for a couple bucks a night. The bathroom was down the hall. There were a lot of those in San Francisco at the time. Later they would all be torn down and the Transamerica Pyramid and the Holiday Inn would be built.
This guy was an admitted homosexual, ex-heroin addict and somewhat of an intellectual in my eyes. He was probably in his late twenties or even early thirties. I know he seemed older and so much more worldly. Leslie and he slept on his full size mattress which I think was on the floor with no frame under it. I slept on the floor in my sleeping bag but with my feet exposed. Sometime during the night, I felt something wet on my toes. It startled me at first but either he hushed me or I was just too stunned to make any sound. He was actually sucking on my toes and I, in my naivetae had never heard of such a thing before. I enjoyed it and I think he may have actually done a little more beyond that but it was long ago and I don't remember all the details. I do know that Leslie left the next day and I remained with this man for a several days or maybe a week or a little beyond a week. I was pretty infatuated with him. Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" played on the radio.
During the day we would go to City Lights bookstore and he would steal books and we would walk around the block and he would scuff up the books on the sidewalk and then bring them to the used bookstore which was practically next door to City Lights bookstore. He would sell the books at the used bookstore for a few dollars and then we would go to Clown Alley and eat. During the time I spent with him, I was introduced to some new variations on sex which had never even occurred to me. In my innocence, I would have thought that some of the things we were doing would cause immediate death!
There are a few people in your life that make a big difference and even though I can't remember this guys name for sure now, he was a person that made a difference. The reason that I feel like he made such a significant difference in my life is that he gave me a reading list. On the list were Sartre's "No Exit," and "The Stranger." Albert Camus, Alduous Huxley and Kafka were on the list. It was a list of probably twenty or more books that I probably never would have read otherwise. It was like he opened some new doors for me and I always apprecieated that. I tried to stay in touch after returning to San Diego but he didn't encourage my romantic fantasies. Years later, I saw him for a moment in front of San Francisco General and he had started shooting up heroin again and somehow a needle had broken off in his arm.
1966- Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle
Either before going to Toppenish High or after going to Toppenish High, but definitely November 30th, 1966, as evidenced by an old letter from the time, I lived with Darlene and her husband Chuck at 239 S.W. 132nd Avenue in Seattle and attemded Evergreen High School briefly. It was a tiny little two bedroom house and I had my own room. I think Chuck was out of the navy by then, but I don't remember where he was working. I don't remember if Darlene worked. I know she was on diet pills at the time because I would steal some out of her bottle and Dan would come over from Toppenish and we would get a carton of cigarettes and chain smoke and play gin rummy and talk a whole lot about absolutly nothing.
I don't want to sound cavalier about the substance use in my life. Like most kids of the time, and maybe most kids of any time, I was naive about the possible consequences of substance use. I knew well the consequences of alcoholism from watching my dad and Irene and the drama of their lives. I was just then becoming aware of drugs in 1966. I don't really remember exactly how my awareness developed. It seems like it was just part of the "cultural revolution" that was spreading across the country and the world. Musicians were the messengers and youth were receptive to the message. All I knew about drugs initialy was what I had read in our Time-Life books that we had at home. I didn't really know much. The first people that I ever knew that actually used substances other than alcohol to get high, were Leslie and her friends from San Diego. They were a few years older than me. Leslie was an unattractive, overweight extrovert that seemed to have a volatile relationship with her parents. Her mother was middle class and pretentious. Leslie had a sllim, attractive sister that she seemed to be in a losing competition with for her mother's attention and approval. Maybe realizing that she could never get her mother's attention and approval, she seemed to decide to go the other way and form her own circle of friends.
Marnie was Leslie's sidekick. I think the two of them might have gone to school together and maybe even worked together briefly. Marnie was much more conservative and introverted than Leslie, but I think that she was attracted to Leslie's outgoing personality and daring. She was pert and preppy and employed. There were others in Leslie's group of friends when we first met them. Leslie and Marnie and their friends, like most kids at the time, were interested in music. I think that everybody respected Leslie because she actually worked at a radio station. She seemed very hip and sophisticated. Leslie and her group of friends, were into rock bands. The Luv Please, met Leslie and Marnie and her circle of friends at a car show at the San Diego concourse. Arnold Green and his band were playing there also and I think that Leslie and Marnie were initially more friendly toward that band. Other than Roger's guitar playing, I can't really say that the "Luv Please" were great musicians. I think we were probably more cute than anything else and Mark Heideman and I could follow Roger's lead to some extent and get through the songs, while Arnold and his group were more serious musicians, if I remember correctly. I had only been playing drums for a year or two by that time and I think Mark had played bass for even a shorter time, while Roger had already been playing guitar for a few years and actually took lessons. While the "Luv Please," attempted to reflect the bright and bubbly manner of "The Beatles," Arnold's group was more dark and reflective of groups like "The Rolling Stones." It was through Arnold and Roger Flores and others in that group that I first became aware of Jeff Beck and others that were known for being great guitarists.
Arnold Green went to Orange Glen High with Roger. I don't know if they were already friends before the car show in San Diego but at some point, they became part of the same circle. They took pride in being the musician outcasts at the school and being outrageous for the times. I think they all respected me because I had actually been expelled from school. Since I had been in the newspapers and was a mini-celebrity to some extent, I think this also have me cache with Leslie and Marnie. I was the youngest of this group of kids, though. When I first met Marnie and Leslie, I was about 14. Roger was 16. Roger and Mark would hang out with Arnold and his group and they would all hang out with Leslie and Marnie and their friends. In my memory, it was Leslie and Marnie and their friends that had access to marijuana. If I remember correctly, they would also take trips across the border to Tiajuana and drink alcohol and get rolls of what they called "bennies" or "criss-cross" tabs.
Benadrine was initially marketed as a bronchodilator but was found to have a stimulant effect which led to it being produced in tablets to treat narcolepsy and because of the euphoric effect, was then sold on the black market as a recreational drug and could be purchased easily in Tiajuana. Criss-cross tabs were another form of amphetamine readily available at the time. In the early 60's amphetamines in the form of diet pills were fairly common as well. Although I was aware of the drug use of Leslie and others, I did not indulge myself until later, when living with Darlene and Chuch in Seattle.
I knew that Darlene was taking diet pills to lose weight and somewhere along the line, I had heard elsewhere that diet pills could make you high. I don't think we even had to take much more than the same dose that Darlene was taking to lose weight, for Dan and I to feel awake and chatty. We didn't want to be discovered stealing her pills, so I know we couldn't have taken very many but diet pills back in those days were pretty strong. I don't think that people had really figured out how dangerious and addictive amphetamines could be back then. I had known about the use of others in San Diego and how the older musicians and Leslie's circle had seemed sophisticated, and now in Seattle, I knew about something that I could now share with Dan and feel sophisticated myself.
On March 19th, 1967 of that year, Seattle held its first "Trips Festival" at Eagles Hall and I am pretty sure I was there. I think Dan came with me with a couple of girls I had gotten to know, who had also turned me on to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. All these years, I had assumed it was called a "trips festival" because people were starting to use psychedelic drugs at that time but when I did a little research on this, it was called a "trips festival" partly because one of the promoters was named Trips Lansing. I seem to remember face painting and this was the first time I had seen a light show. We paid three dollars and sat on the floor. This was similar to what was going on elsewhere in the country, originated by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. I think this is where I bought my first "matchbox" of marijuana. A "matchbox" was exactly that, a small box in which wooden matches had come but the wooden matches had been replaced by enough marijuana to roll a couple of joints. At this time, I must have been about fifteen. There would be other shows at the Eagle auditorium we would attend, the Chambers Brothers being a memorable one.
I didn't do very well at Evergreen High School. I got into trouble with the priciple for wearing a peace sign around my neck. He was anything but hip and thought the peace sign was a symbol for marijuana rather than peace and so he brought me to the office and forbid me to wear it. I don't remember ever interacting much with the other kids at the school except for when I had taken one of Darlene's diet pills the night before and had been up all night and went to school still buzzing. I did get a part as the genie in the school play Aladdin and His Lamp and loved doing it and I think Darlene might have even come to see me in it but then one weekend we went to Toppenish and due to the usual chaos, I wasn't able to get back in time for the play and felt ashamed and humiliated, although there was no way it was my fault or any way that I had any control over any events at that time. My priorities or needs were the least of anyone's concerns.
Darlene had her first son, Chris, while we were living at that address. Dad gave me his old car, which I believe was a Ford Galaxy, but mom wouldn't sign the papers for me to get a drivers license because my grades were so bad and so the car just sat there and deteriorated. I think that Chuck used the tires for his own car. I never once drove it after it was given to me. Eventually, we left Seattle and I remember driving back to San Diego with Darlene and Chuck.
Besides Dan, who would come over from Yakima from time to time, I made a few friends while living with Darlene and Chuck. As close as felt to them at the time, I can't even remember their names all these years later. It is the same with so many people I have had in my early life. It was just so chaotic and we moved so frequently, relationships came and went. As children, we had no control over the chaos and the many moves from place to place. As I have said many times, the needs of children were not considered like the are today. Or maybe that was just the case in my family.
One of my friends lived with his mother, who ran a telephone answering service out of their home. Their house was painted purple and stood out from the others along the road. There was a bank of telephones from which she operated the business. She took her son and I to Yoga classes in Seattle a couple of times. Later, after I had moved away, my friend went into the service and served in Viet Nam. I had one telephone conversation with him after that and he had completely changed and was hostile on the phone and we never spoke again.
I also met a couple of young women that I think I actually knew for a few years and it seems like one of them was kind of my girlfriend for a while and came to San Francisco. I just wonder how it is possible. I don't think we were serious boyfriend and girlfriend. I think she wanted to get a little serious but I had no interest in sex with her. Now, I can't remember her name. I think it was with her and her friend in Seattle, that I first learned of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
Dylan and Baez became more important in my life as time went by but the album that stands out for me for that time more than any others is "Freak Out," by The Mother's of Invention with Frank Zappa.