Prologue: Caged

(February 19, 1969)


I was caged.

Then, I was driven.

Driven to Cherokee.

A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.

Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.

Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak:

Cloudy and cold, condensation and frost riming the windows, piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.

I, cargo.

Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.

Shifting, crossing my legs…

Please, can we stop?

Hot and steamy inside.

Shivering, my teeth rattling.

Please…I have to go!

Hear something, George?

Naw, nothin’ important.


Cargo has no voice.

Madness has no voice.

Listen, crazy girl…

Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…

“I’m crazy, crazy…”

Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…

I, crazy?

* * * * *

From I, Driven: a memoir of involuntary commitment ("Prologue")

© 2008-2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

Excerpt may not be used or copied without author’s permission.


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Monday, September 8, 2008

Excerpt--January 17, 1969: There Must be Some Way Outta Here

Jennifer's home (West Third Street, Sioux City, Iowa) 1964-1968

(Sioux City)

There must be some kind of way outta here

said the joker to the thief

There’s too much confusion...

I can’t get no relief

–“All Along the Watchtower,”
Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan


"All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix



What a drag--it’s not only literally cold here, but the icy chill coming from Mo is frightening; I definitely want to blow this joint as soon as possible.

Yesterday, when we stepped off the plane, I thought she was going to hit me. Instead, she said, “You look awful.”

Like she looked so great herself.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” she said.

Olive ("Mo") and Harley ("Dee Dee") Semple in front of their West Third Street home.

Dee Dee told her to ice it.

“How could you do this to us?” She burst into tears.

Like I personally set out to hurt her.

Back at the house, I fell into bed and slid into a dream, reliving my birthday party at Rudy’s--once I ditched my relatives.

The night I met Rick, heartbreaker and prick.



Excerpt copyright 2008, Jennifer Semple Siegel.

Text may not be reposted or republished without permission.



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