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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Thursday, August 25, 2011

San Francisco Municipal Railway Bus Transfer, 1968-1969

San Francisco Municipal Railway Bus Transfer, 1968-1969

I can't believe that I saved this old bus transfer from San Francisco and still have it, but here it is, photo of front and back.

I remember my late 1968 trip to San Francisco, but I don't remember riding the bus, although I do recall that construction was going on for BART.

I couldn't believe that the city was actually building a subway in an earthquake zone.

Stoney and I had hitchhiked to San Francisco from Los Angeles; some kind truckers picked us up, so our trip (going and returning) was fast and easy. DISCLAIMER: I don't recommend hitchhiking at all, but Stoney and I were young and stupid, and we thought we were invincible.

What I remember most about this trip:
--We stayed in a "pad" that was painted a vivid purple and inhabited by a lot of "freaks" (term for hardcore hippies) who liked to party.

--I suppose the statute of limitations has run out by now, so I can admit this: Stoney had about 25 tabs of acid sewn into the lining of his jacket (Later, in early 1969, he made the same trip alone with 487 tabs sewn into his coat; I decided not to accompany him on that trip). To tell the truth, I was terrified we would be picked up by the police; in those days, being caught with drugs in any amount could have resulted in serious prison time. On my own, I would have never had anything to do with drug trafficking, but I, impressionable and naive, was in love with someone who had no problem with selling dope.

Not my best moment in life.

I was incredibly lucky in that I was given another chance to change my life without having to serve time in the big house. My involuntary commitment in Cherokee was peanuts compared to what could have been.

--I refused to take off my plastic go-go boots during the entire trip because my feet stunk, and I was embarrassed about it (Stinky feet have plagued me all my life, but I refrain from wearing footwear that doesn't allow my feet to breathe).

--At Haight-Ashbury, a stranger gave us brownies baked with marijuana, and we actually ate them. How stupid was that? Obviously, I lived to tell about it, but, still, eating anything offered by strangers is risky.
That's about it for memories of that infamous trip.

Who would think that an old bus transfer would stir up so many memories?

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