Traveling with hippies and soul searching with drugs and sex.
As I said, I had many UA’s and if I count them all up including the ones where I was a few hours late getting back to the base I’d probably had about ten or so. One particular AWOL that kept me out for about 6 months started when a Sgt and his crony chaser decided to make a personal example of me for disobeying a lawful order. I felt that going in circles over issues was a waste of my time and completely stupid to say the least. They would have us (the admin platoon), clean an entire area of rocks, boulders, cigarette butts, paper etc… and later go back and trash everything showing no respect or appreciation for our efforts and improvements. So one morning came when I was ordered to repeat the same grueling routine and I simply said no!
I.T.S. Camp Pendleton "Google"
That “no” landed me in front of a drunken Staff Sergeant and his pet chaser who’s last name I still remember to this day and I’ll explain why a little later on. This chasers’ name was lance corporal “Crooks” I quote Crooks because that’s exactly what was going on. They where under investigation for drug smuggling across the boarder and Cocaine was the real issue, they didn’t care so much about the Mexican pot or even the pot that was making it’s way up from South America, but the Cocaine was an issue that the big brass felt needed dealing with for one reason or another. You can probably guess the other!
After I disobeyed the order to make like an ant and do the repetitive toil thingy, I was called into the Sergeants office and escorted by Crooks. When they got me in the hut they handcuffed my wrist to my ankles and began questioning with every nasty slur imaginable and I felt like this was the last straw. Punishment is one thing but this was just plain sickness and I made the mistake of letting them know that. Night sticks inserted through cuffs from wrist to ankle pulled with just a little effort have a way of putting you head first on a concrete pad! The stick itself has uses in corporal punishment and brutality yet to be shown on TV or in movies!
I was given 60 days restriction and fined ¾ of my monthly income which was nothing new. My pay grade as an E-1 was 283.00 per month and ¼ of that came to a whopping $70.75 paid out every two weeks for a bi- monthly sum of $35.37. It was just enough to get a motel room, a hamburger or two and a cheap hooker, and for the most part they had thousands of guys like me that they kept in legal platoons largely for the purposes of taking the money to invest in other not so legal enterprises. This too was under investigation! Sound familiar?
I waited until 4:00 when every one shut down and prepared to make my move. I caught a base shuttle truck which was just a green tractor pulling a rig with benches in it and made my way to the front gate, showed my I.D. and made my way into
San Clemente. From there I caught a bus to
L.A and made my way into the Bay area and felt my way around. In 1973 there
were still plenty of hippies and heads gallivanting around the Bay area
especially San Francisco and Berkeley. After being propositioned by gays
to the tune of 5 or 6 times in San Francisco I
made my way over to Berkeley
by way of Telegraph Ave. When I got near the heart of the University I
couldn’t believe my eyes, ears, or nose and the excitement was off the scale.
Music on every street corner, guys and girls just playing for change tossed
into hats or cases, the aroma of good weed filled the air with the smell of
jasmine and all sorts of incense. Chocolate mescaline (my favorite), was at
every other corner and in the park, acid was just a basic deal and friendly was
a way of breathing!
Telegraph Ave. Berkeley "Google"
The girls were hot and loose! Bras in those days were only for squares and panties, well what are panties? They had crash pads that would feed you a bedtime snack and People’s Park had spools of clothes the church fed breakfast and lunch and the only thing missing was maybe a private tent in case it rained during the day which rarely ever happened so a blanket in the grass was just fine. And if you were going to do the sex thing you just roll up in the blanket. Although there were a couple of scenes where the couple got so into it they kicked the blanket off and did an exhibition for all to see and marvel at! what a rush!
People's Park Berkeley "Google"
I hung out for about 3 weeks and got homesick so I brainstormed a way to make it back to good old
When they let me out at my front door I had 6 large trash bags of pot to introduce to the hilltop community. I hid them in my dad’s shed and in the crawl space under the first floor of our house. Nobody ever checked that or even thought about its existence so I was good to go. The very first of friends to show up was always Daniel Ragland my friend and bassist buddy. We’d get together and go out to play our music in coffee houses, recreation centers and jam sessions, and smoke plenty of grass along the way. We developed another name for pot, we called it SEEDS! My girlfriend and mother of my first child was seeing someone else, and living with them so I was free to meet someone if I wanted to and believe me after 2 cheap hookers over a 6 month period of time at 18 years of age my hormones said, “meet someone”!
Me and my 1 year old son 1973 during a U.A.
I met a new girl on the block names Iris. She was light skinned and looked Cuban or Puerto Rican and she was stacked and cute as a button. We had sex like mad dogs every chance we got which was almost every day for the first two months of my return when I wasn’t out with Dan and Bobby playing. Her dad really didn’t like me a bit when he first met me and for quite some time after that. But years later he turned out to be a very good friend.
One day I was out with Daniel and we ran out of pot so we drove back to the west side (my house) to stock up. As I was parking I noticed there were a lot of people hanging around in the back yard around the fence and a lot of smoke that had that all too familiar smell, then I spotted my mom dumping a large trash bag onto the BBQ grill and I knew then I was at a loss-loss! It wasn’t long before my mom talked me into returning to the Marine Corps. I really tried to live up to her expectations of me, but I always seemed to make the wrong choices. I wanted to do what my parents considered to be the right thing, but something inside took me somewhere else. I finally turned myself into authorities and they shipped me back to