Showing posts with label excerpts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label excerpts. Show all posts

Excerpt (Chapter 1): Blue Moons


From Apollo 8: December 24, 1968
Photo courtesy of NASA (Blue tint added by webmaster)


Christmas Eve, 1968
(2001 Ivar Street, Hollywood, California)

Blue Moons.

Black dots from the linoleum rise up and float, planets bursting into blue, red, yellow, green, purple, orange.

Birthing galaxies...

Does God feel the same awe?

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt (Chapter 2): Decision Time


(December 1968)

Stoney and I look at a VW van. I found my old savings passbook from Sioux City: cool! I still have $136.14 left. We need two or three hundred yet. If we don’t get the van, then maybe I’ll use the money to visit Big Brother in Pennsylvania.

I love Stoney, but I’m sick of being stoned all the time. 

Excerpt (Chapter 2): Thirteen Tabs

(December 1968)

Stoney didn’t come home last night. I worry that he’s been busted, so I hunt all over Hollywood and Santa Monica for him. I even check with the fuzz down at L.A. County.

I find him hanging out at The Crystal Ship, flirting with his ex old lady Syndi, she hanging all over him. She’s a skinny chick with short red hair, in a pixie style popular about three years ago, all doe-eyed, and looks about 15. But there’s nothing innocent about her...

Excerpt--October 5, 1968: "Wallich's Music City and Eleanor's Radio"


WGDY Top Ten

1. Hey Jude/Revolution, Beatles (1)

2. Harper Valley P.T.A., Jeannie C. Riley (2)

3. Fire, Crazy World of Arthur Brown (5)

4. Midnight Confessions, Grass Roots (9)

5. I've Got to Get a Message to You, Bee Gees (6)

6. Time Has Come Today, Chambers Bros. (13)

7. Indian Reservation, Don Fardon (7)

8. Girl Watcher, O’Kaysions (11)

9. Little Green Apples, O.C. Smith (8)

10. On the Road Again, Canned Heat (4)


It was after eight, a crisp evening, and Rick was still missing.

Damn him . A total jerk.

I kicked at the ground, scuffing my shoes on the pavement. If he weren’t so cute...

“Hey, Eleanor, would you turn up your radio?” From my left, a male voice, not too deep, with a funny accent I’ve never heard before. I turned; a strange dude sat next to me, tapping his right foot, left foot on the wall, knee tucked under his chin.

Excerpt: The Luckiest Hand

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

August 18, 2004

(Delta Flight #5883 to Omaha, Nebraska)

I would never see Stoney again.

I have no pictures of him, and yet his image remains grooved in my mind–my first real love, however ill-conceived.

Shortly after we parted, I drew a picture of him from memory. 

Excerpt--January 15, 1969: "Sioux City Blues"

Harley Semple


Dee Dee’s bugging me in the worst way--says I have three choices: go to my mom’s, Auntie’s (no way), or go back to Sioux City. He’s really acting scary, and Auntie’s turning up the heat.

I’ll pass on Auntie’s and Iowa, thank you.

I’m going stir crazy in this joint. I want to go out for a walk, but Auntie says no.

Excerpt--January 16, 1969: "...While I Kiss the Sky"


(United Airlines, Flight #266, on approach to Denver, Colorado)

Purple haze all in my brain

Lately things just don’t seem the same

Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky

–Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze"


I hate flying, especially when I’m going somewhere I don’t want to be. Last summer, it wasn’t so bad flying to California–somehow, the prospect of crashing to earth and becoming part of a smoldering heap doesn’t seem so likely when you’re going somewhere fun.

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--August 2004: The Miracle of Google


August 2004

(Delta Flight #5883 to Omaha, Nebraska, on approach)

I yearn to understand my mother, but I doubt if I ever will.

Jennifer's Mother (in green), circa 1970 (age 39)

I Googled her as Jan Durrell, her professional name. Mary Lou “Marilyn” Semple Carson Kraft Whalen was a burlesque dancer who performed under the Durrell name.

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

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

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

(Sioux City)

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.

Excerpt--January 1969: What to Do With My Life?

The Hewlett-Packard 9100A

(Sioux City)

Mo’s been bugging me about finding a job.

Is she kidding? I’m not hanging around here long enough to find a regular job. I’ll have to work some day, but the time isn’t right yet.

Maybe I’ll hitch to East Berlin, Pennsylvania, and find a job there.

Excerpt--February 1969: My Country 'Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Tyranny

Jeff Brown

(Sioux City)

Finally! I heard from Jeff; he says he’s been writing me all along. I happened to be home alone when the mail came, and, voila! a large envelope covered with psychedelic drawings, a peace sign, flowers, and a slogan: “My Country Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Tyranny, in Subtle Forms.” Inside, he let me know that he had written me a very important letter on the 20th. Says he’s turning into a nervous wreck waiting for my answer.

What answer?

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--February 18, 1969: "Let's See What the Police Have to Say"

Downtown Sioux City

(Sioux City)

Today, a total disaster. All because I decided it was time to get the fuck out of Sioux City now--nothing here for me anymore.

I got into a huge fight with Mo this morning about some dirty dishes I left in the sink last night.

Excerpt--February 18, 1969: A Possible Scenario at the Police Station


(Sioux City Police Station)

A distraught teenager, Jennifer L. Semple, stormed into the police station, alleging that Harley D. Semple, her grandfather, has been attempting to restrain her against her will.

For her own safety, the girl was moved to a locked interrogation room.

Opal Casey, police matron, interviewed the grandfather and filled out “Mental Illness, Inebriety or Epilepsy,” an informant’s report.

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness 

Excerpt--February-April 1969: Driven

The Long Road to Cherokee

(Cherokee, Iowa)

To the institution. I remember this part in black and white. The police car threaded up a hill, wheels crunching the ice. 

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--Other Patients in the Institution: Perky Penny


I don’t know why Penny’s* here in the first place--she’s been here over a year--and she keeps flip-flopping between Wards 2 and 4--maybe it’s because she’s mouthy and sassy and takes no lip from the staff. I call her Perky Penny.

Excerpt--The Institution: Proving My Sanity


Staff meeting today. About 30 or so doctors and nurses sit in on this gala affair. More like the gallows. I’m not sure why they have these meetings--I feel like a bug stuck on a pin, struggling for life.

When Carrie had her staff meeting a few months ago, she ran out in the middle of it, and ended up on locked ward for two months.

Excerpt Moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpt--Leaving Sioux City: Dee Dee

Harley Semple, Jennifer's grandfather

Monday, May 5

I wake up at 6:00 a.m., ready by 7:00. I splurge and take a taxi to the bus station, there by 7:30--this is one bus I don’t want to miss.

Excerpt moved to Memoir Madness

Excerpts from Memoir Madness: Moved to

Excerpt--A Short History of The Cherokee Mental Health Institute

Cherokee Mental Health Institute, August 2004.
Summer 2008

(York, Pennsylvania)

In late September 2004, I gathered my laptop, notes, photocopies of old letters to and from my ex-husband, Cherokee Mental Health: 100 Years of Serving Iowan’s (Cherokee centennial book), maps of Iowa and Cherokee, and the August 30 issue of the Chronicle Times. I carried them to Skopje, Macedonia, where I spent October 2004-May 2005 cranking out a 700-page draft.

Table of Contents for Memoir Madness: driven to involuntary commitment (Excerpts and Outtakes)

(Redirects to

Before the Institution

Prologue: Caged

Chapter One: The Crystal Ship

Chapter One: Blue Moons

Chapter Two: Dark Side

Chapter Two: Flying Solo

Chapter Two: Weed and Seeds

Chapter Two: Funny Little Naked Clowns

Chapter Two: Decision Time

Chapter Two: Thirteen Tabs

Chapter Three: Wallichs Music City and Eleanors Radio

Chapters Four and Six: New Years Eve, 1968 – Fire

Chapter Eight: Rudy

Chapter Ten: Cops

Chapter Eleven: The Luckiest Hand

Chapter Twelve: Downers

Chapter Twenty Three: Sioux City Blues

Chapter Twenty Four: ...“While I Kiss the Sky”

Chapter Twenty six: The Miracle of Google

Chapter Thirty: There Must be Some Way Outta Here

Chapter Thirty Eight: What to Do With My Life?

Chapter Forty One: My Country ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Tyranny

Chapter Fifty One: Nabbed at the Bus Station

Chapter Fifty Three: “Let’s See What the Police Have to Say”

Chapter Fifty Four: A Possible Scenario at the Police Station

Chapter Fifty Six: Driven

Chapter Fifty Eight: Driven 2


The Institution

The First Five Days

The Other Patients: Perky Penny

The Other Patients: Carrie the Cutter

The Other Patients: Joyce

The Other Patients: D.J., The Mighty Sage

The Other Patients: Anna on the Lam

Proving My Sanity


After the Institution

Denise’s Tips

Leaving Sioux City: Dee Dee

Epilogue: A Short History of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute


Flashbacks (Fall 1968)

October 1968: Rev. Arthur Blessitt and His Place

October 12, 1968: A Mother’s Warning

October 12, 1968: The Birthday Party

October 1968: Wild Man Fischer’s Merry-go-round


Outtake: Jane and the YWCA

Outtake: San Francisco Municipal Railway Bus Transfer, 1968-1969


"Jennifer Juniper," Donovan Leitch, 1968 (YouTube)

Jefferson Airplane


Jefferson Airplane: "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love"

Jefferson Airplane performing live both "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. More