Category Archives: Embellished non-fiction short stories

Embellished non-fiction short stories by Hudley Flipside aka Holly Cornell hudleyflipside2@yahoo.com

Spit Face Girl


Spit Face Girl By Hudley Flipside


At 5AM the alarm went off. Not that sleep was possible at this camp. Whispers crying and bolts of laughter were a constant noise here. Breakfast was served in the big house. Dark wooden tables and chairs lined up two hundred youthful assumed rebels in a large cafeteria. Any light in the room did not help take away from the declaration of order and obedience.

The cool chair-wood felt good against her skin. At first this 13 year old rather small girl let the bullies take her gruel! A pat of butter and a quarter cup of cream is all these youths got.

One day she suddenly grew wise for now as soon as she sat down she quickly put her butter in her mouth.Then she slowly sucked the rich fat around her mouth before she spat it back into her cream dish. She did this as her eyes scanned and confronted any bullies around her.

Drip drip as the fat warden looked away. Then this milky fat, now a delicious  homogeneous cream butter, topped her gruel. She mixed it up with her spoon and then ate it down. None of the other hungry girls took her food again.

The first time she got food wise a bully smiled starry at her whispering, as the heavens above, in her ear,

“So…I guess we’ll call you … spit face.”


Sting like a jelly-fish

Today while walking into Ralph’s super market I saw the familiar old lady under yellow plastic. She was holding a white tissue to her red nose. She sat in her wheelchair at a prime target getting her ‘a little sympathy’. She got mine. I went into the store and purchased a $1.95 Starbucks house coffee medium. I am still amazed that a ‘cup of joe’ costs so much now. I remember when it was 25 cents.

“I like watching Noir films,” I said to the barista. “It is a wonder in those films that a ‘cup of joe’ only coast five pennies.  Twenty-five cents got you a cup of coffee, a ham sandwich and a piece of pie.”

The barista smiled at me as I took the coffee, put in some cream and sugar and then headed towards the old lady in a wheelchair.

“Here is a cup of coffee, you look cold.?!”

“I don’t drink coffee it is bad for you.”

“Really I thought it would warm you up. Coffee is not as bad for you as you may think.”

“I have never had any.” She looked down to her right at a dirty bag of oranges. “It is all right I had an orange…I am fine.”

I was a bit upset. I never thought that she would reject a cup of coffee on such a cold and rainy day.

“Lady sometimes beggars can’t be choosers?!”

I realized that I could not reason with the lady. She had her right to say no.  So, I walked on remembering what an old myth taught me. All about a woman’s psyche.

As Persephone went on her journey, she was advised not to give anything to those needy people who asked for something along the way. It was important for her to hold on to her strength and parts of herself that were precious.

I guess I failed the test today.Then that sorrow thread pulled in me. I call it the thread of sorrow.

I think that our current society does not embrace their share of sorrow. That is why we have so many drug addicts and alcoholics. A social epidemic.

We all need to hold on to or embrace our threads of sorrow. It can pull hard. It can be an echo that mocks. It can sting like a jelly-fish. When we run from our share of sorrow, ignore it, or get lost in our addictions hating it, it only manifests in our world as a monster shadow. Creating hate, chaos and terrible politicians. That is why I love Jazz because it speaks to the human heart and soul. It embraces it’s share of sorrow.


Massage as a profession or occupation

At about 8 o’clock PM.

The unpredictable Crazy days are far behind me and the routines of life have set in. Family and cats bring the little rituals of life which brings symmetry into the chaos of living such as; racing through traffic and surviving, watching current politics and not having a heart attack, and realizing that we all die. It is comforting to know that we live in a recycling universe, or so it seems. The point being within the light and darkness of life are the routines of everyday living that does bring joy.

Last night was a normal trash night. The difference in the routine is when husband said that there are two cars parked in our unmarked-marked trash can places. The usual sounds of annoyance on his part made me think about visiting with our new neighbors and asking them to move one of the cars so we might have a place for our trash cans.

The green sweat coat with 1976 on it pulled over my shoulders and I was off. I found myself in front of the neighbor’s house. Placing a knock knock and then pushing a ring ring upon their door and door button. Something expanded when I heard the ring ring.

It was a different kind of ring ring. It being a tasteful and alluring sound. The front door was half window and I could see in as one of my neighbors looked back at me. I mumbled something about the trash cans. The neighbor’s eyes widened open. Dressed in a light blue robe, looking confused my neighbor opened the door slightly. Having a face that was angular like something out of a Pablo Picasso paining such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 during his cubism period; caught me off guard.

The new neighbors had radically changed the format and structure of the house since the last owner. As the door opened there was only a white hallway that met about half way through the house. Directly on the wall before me was a giant painting of what looked like a  Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril Dancing painting. Yet this painting was one woman with her leg up and a giant red dress like a blooming flower. Once there were two rooms here one leading right and one left. One into a game room and the other into the kitchen. Not anymore. Straight ahead was a veil into another reality.

Our conversation was quick. I told the neighbor our problem. Nicely I was told that each of them had a  masseuse come out for a special treat message and that the cars were theirs. I was also told that both of them were almost finished.

Like clockwork each masseuse left in their two separate cars. I put out my two trash cans under the crescent moon of a very dark night. Feeling nicely surreal and wondering about our new neighbors?

 

wild burning hills

 

Praying Mantis Kachina ~ Praying and dancing for fog and sprinkles of rain to cool the earth !!

A crescent of fire surrounds us. This is not the first time I have seen the San Fernando valley surrounded by fire. Yet, as the Santa Ana winds blow, I remember nightmarish times of fires and even earthquakes while growing up here. How precious everything becomes as my blood pressure peeks. Our truck is packed with valuable and important things. If we had to leave much will be left behind. Packed away in our truck I have our tax returns, Flipside Magazines, artwork and my Red Book (Jung) and journals. My family members have their few special items too. Funny what one puts in their cars in an emergency. I am saddened for those who did not get the chance to do what we have done. It is good for the psyche to prepare and organize when possible danger approaches.

I write when I am confronted with change, stress and heartbreak. Maybe a well-deserved karmic war zone~ who knows? I think upon all the wild animals. The deer, buck, cougars and coyotes , the wild animal are surviving their best too. Bless all the wild things that grow in the Santa Monica mountains.

I am consecrated by my wild Promethium fennel growing in my front yard. Taken from the Santa Monica mountains, a wild shaft that was once filled with seeds. On the wild burning hills the seeds will survive the fires. The wild yucca will come forth once again….

Below are a few posted embellished stories that I wrote that are indirectly about the Santa Monica mountains. A positive movement in dark times of vast destruction as my head bounds painfully with grief !!

Blues For Baby and Me / Adventures of Sony and Raubie https://hudleyflipside.com/2016/11/02/blues-for-baby-and-me-the-adventures-of-sony-and-raubie/


The Snake https://hudleyflipside.com/2012/04/15/1950-2012-on-the-snake/


https://hudleyflipside.com/2015/06/11/the-chapel-of-the-oaks/


https://hudleyflipside.com/2018/05/15/bitchin-drive-over-box-canyon-this-morning-in-my-car/

Who’s Soul did Frankenstein’s monster have?

“‘…from that moment [he] declared everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against [Frankenstein] who had formed [him] and sent [him] forth to this insupportable misery.'” (Shelley, Frankenstein , Chapter 16, p. 121)
Once upon a time  I found the novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, the new Prometheus.
I became friends with Frankenstein’s monster. He was not the film version because I looked to the quality of his brilliant soul.
I wrote a short story entitled, Who’s Soul did Frankenstein’s monster have? I put the story in a folder and took it with me wherever I went. I was inspired and torn by my insight. I felt I may have understood something no one else ever dared to wonder about.
This was back in the 1980’s. Then, as busy and as careless as a young punk might be, I lost the folder at a Mexican restaurant up-town Whittier, CA.
This loss haunted my nights. Back then backing-up-files was not so easy. This may have been before floppy disks? I did not make a copy of my short story of a monster’s revelations. I did keep the little doodles about the story which I will share today.
Maybe I did not misplace the folder. Maybe someone took it and still has it?
As one gets older time seems to bend backwards . It comes towards you so you can say hello again to those times of youthful inspiration.
I looked through all of my plastic boxes to find these images in my art closet. So glad the doodles were safe and not lost.
Victory Frankenstein  and the creature. 

My story too… in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford !

People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange
When you're strange
When you're strange ~ The Doors

Julie sang the above song to me. We were on the hill playing. She acted like she made it up. I knew that maybe she did not. This song marked a change in the neighborhood. The 16 and 17-year-old boys were smoking funny cigarettes.  

Confronting ghosts from years ago and feeling much better.

I am writing this because of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s story. Maybe her narrative was not successful in stopping the nomination to the supreme court of Judge K. I believe she told the truth and with great risk to her family and to herself. I admire her honesty. So, in support of her naming those who assaulted her, I will name mine. Mike Hansen and Michael Myers (maybe more). Dr. Ford is free now yet the lies and darkness within Judge K’s being will continue to manifest until it destroys him. Maybe not today or tomorrow but eventually. That is how karma works.

Roman Polanski

The mid 1970s and early 1980s held wild times. A new sexual revolution that became dark fast. I did not live far from where Roman Polanski was arrested, at Jack Nicholson’s home, for the sexual assault of 13-year-old. I knew the girl who was drugged and then molested. I never imagined something like that would happen to me.  Drugs, sex and fun was fundamental at that time. Luckily, my mom and dad kept guard. They were not always interested in school stuff, but they did keep guard. I was protected from the house down the hill. A single mom with an empty nest most nights. Except for the teenage boys.

The endless drug parties were unchecked by the adults in the neighborhood. Michael Myers, no relations to the character from the film Halloween, ruled there. Any girl 13 to 16 was not safe from his advances. The peer pressure was enormous!! Once he was 18 he continued to make his moves. That is where Mike Hansen came to my aid. He was my boyfriend who protected me from the age 15 to 17. Until Mike cheated on me and we broke up.  I started going out with another boy who was a friend of my girlfriend’s boyfriend. We dated on and off for about 6 months.

Mike Hansen wanted us to get back together. One night he invited me to a party where he was living with Mike Myers.  They lived in an old apartment next to a local Catholic Church. It seemed safe enough. A few friends were over and someone handed me a beer. The next morning, I awoke naked and alone in Mike Hansen’s bed. I did not remember anything from the night before until years later. This narrative gets worse because I became pregnant. As a 17-year-old my voice was invisible. I was confused and overwhelmed.

Pregnant with two boyfriends. It was not a good place for a 17-year going on 18 to be. The bad words spoken, tension and moral pressure made me crazy. Mike Hansen wanted to entrap me into marriage. I said no. The other boy was helpful, but he soon broke up with me. I blamed myself. It was not until years later that the images of that night came forward. Memories became clear to me. Around the time after giving birth to my first son at 34. Yes, slowly it was clear to me. I will not go into the years of grief and despair that I worked though.

Looking back, I remember Mike Hansen was mad at me, so I assume he or another drugged me and let me be raped by whom ever was at the party. I feel that they planned it with intent and foresight.  In a sense I felt relieved that I remembered this. I felt sad too for a long time. I did not regret the abortion back then. It was intuitively the best thing to do. I realize that now.

The window from Mike Hansen’s room.

Today I went back to the apartments. I don’t live far.  The apartments have expanded. There are more parking areas. The apartments are now secured and closed from strangers. The apartment where Mike Hansen and Mike Myers lived are at the corner of Serrainia Ave and Ventura Blvd. or De Soto Ave and Ventura Blvd. The streets change as one crosses Ventura heading west.

As a kid I knew this area. I walked by these apartments everyday, Jr. High School and later in High School. A few of my friends went to the Saint Mel Catholic School right near the apartments. Across the street, where there is now a Wells Fargo Bank, there was a 7- Eleven. My friends and I could get a Slurpee for 10 cents. Why wouldn’t I feel safe there. It was where I grew up? My dad owned a building only a few blocks down on Ventura Blvd. My family had history here.

Julie Myers was a good friend of mine. Even though her brother and I never got along. Yet, like her bother, I never could really trust her. The late-night stories she told me. I listened to her tell me stories about both her brother and Mike Hansen. They were revealing.  They pursued girls. I heard many stories that made me jealous and unsure. Something wasn’t right. I guess I was one of the girls too. I never believed Julie’s stories…. maybe I should have.

 


My Mentor Tree and Eucalyptus Friend

“I AM WHO I AM,” and then said, “Tell the Israelis: ‘I AM sent me to you.'”~ ISV

This is a short story about a eucalyptus tree. A living friend, mentor and comforter.

My dad first visited the eucalyptus tree when he went horse back riding in the San Fernando Valley. Most likely the late 1940s.  He rode from Ventura Blvd towards the dirt hills of the Santa Monica mountains. It isn’t easy to imagine that there once was a horse stable located near Ventura Blvd. and Canoga Ave. He told me how he stopped one day under the eucalyptus tree and looked over the valley. Once he saw a for sale sign there, a hill covered with wild sage and wider nature. My dad made it happen. His brother was a carpenter / builder and his mother already invested in properties throughout the San Fernando Valley. They made his dream come true. They made it happen for my dad and mom. As a WWII Vet he secured a government loan.

Dad and his brother, Had, created a plan to build a house on that wild hill in the San Fernando Valley. They fought like brothers often do. My dad fought for the large sliding windows that looked over the valley. He also fought to build a house which cuddled around a eucalyptus tree.

I learned to climb that tree as I was learning to walk. The smell of the eucalyptus tree on foggy mornings before going to school or during rain storms often filled my bedroom. I climbed that beautiful tall tree on my way to the top of the red brick chimney often. Sometimes to see thunder storms break across the valley. There I silently sat  listening to the sound of  coyotes in the distance and viewed lights in the night sky. All of this magic still captures my imagination.

Once I left home I often went back to visit with my parents.  The first thing I would do was hug my eucalyptus tree. The seed pods from the eucalyptus are a wonder. Round and cone-shaped with a five-pointed star in the middle. Always a signal autumn was approaching.

Today a walk on a slightly foggy morning at the end of August brought back this memory of a eucalyptus tree I grew up with. I was beholding today to the only eucalyptus tree in my neighborhood. Whispering a scent and showing an aura that took me back to my nebulous childhood. The tree replied to me today, “”I AM WHO I AM.” Maybe this is the same whisper I always heard from my mentor tree and eucalyptus friend.


July moves into August

July moves into August. A time of justice and heat, a time of foresight and deep. For me it is about news… some bad and some good news. I have known this time of the year to be delirious dark and forbidden. Today it has reached an illuminating place of thanksgiving.

Between our psyche and the cosmos is magic. Magic moves between our hidden unconscious coming forth from our dreams. Yes, that Magic coming with psychic foresight of knowing. Real causality or synchronicity does not matter to me. Natural magic! I live all combinations.

Yesterday we went to Naval Air Station Point Mugu. Driving to Ventura from the San Fernando Valley can be harsh on a Sunday. We found a little farming street to follow down to Point Mugu. It romances the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Which is why we were there.

My dad was a WWII Veteran. As kids we enjoyed fishing on the pier that is located on this naval base.

Husband and I sat in our car for sometime. Wondering if we could approach and visit the pier for old memories. We did. A tight solider asked for husband’s driving-license. As the solider was taking the license from husband, I explained my family story. Before you could think we were quickly told to make a U-turn. No good byes or safe journeys.

Point Mugu has since merged with nearby Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme to form Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC).

We ended up at Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum. A sweet little place that smelled pleasantly old! The building was filled with old women and older history items. Outside the rather small building were many monarch butterflies. Hub bobbing around ourselves like best friends. We were then told the story.

It sounds like a magical potion. Milk weed, Cosmo flowers and chrysalis. It was the story of how someone took the time to love the process of this lovely butterfly. All it takes is a little love and a few nasty weeds to attract the attention of nature’s finest beauties.

Today upon my waking up I enjoyed a very good dream. A dream I have been waiting for since my mother’s death. It was a closure dream. In this dream husband opened the front door to the usual UPS knock. There was another package, another calculus book, or similar book, for the kids. Then we heard another knock on the front door. This time I opened the door. From top to bottom the front door was filled with packages. My husband gave me a guilty look. A pouting praying mantis face.

“It is not Christmas time,” I said.

I pulled out one of the packages.  A large white one. A box that might conceal a dress or new pants. Then I saw on top the name ‘Holly’ written in cursive.

“How could mom give me this after her death?”

A wonderful gift from her. That is what mom would do. Write our names on top of our gifts. It was her writing…. I know it by heart!

Today has reached an illuminating place of thanksgiving.


Denis, Pat and Mike, The PUNK HUB MASTERS

THE PUNK HUB MASTERS

My talk today is a comparison essay about three characters from the early punk rock scene.

A Punk Comrade GHOST Special.

Dennis Danell original bass player for the punk rock band Social Distortion, Pat Fear singer and guitar player extraordinaire of the mockery punk band White Flag, and Mike Conley singer of the popular  punk band MIA. I call them the PUNK HUB MASTERS

To move my essay into the realm of where I am looking from, I will be using a concept from my favorite psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Now for a short Jungian psychology concept…

“The specific role of the archetype in synchronistic phenomena seems to be to serve as the constellating hub of a situation across time,and to be the factor of [inner order]  that gives this distinctive set to the situation.”

Punk rock is a phenomenon which created a situation of order as a constellating hub. A hub is a focal point a center around which other things revolve from which things radiate. I am applying this concept to the origin of punks and to punk rock…

We were nobodies of the underground, sitting on a youthful explosion, that was a rip-tide of good-fella punk friends. The early individual punks found each other through the hubs we created. Back in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, as you know the punk scene created a network of hubs that worked independently from each other, yet depended on each other to sustain the punk scene.

Examples of hubs were Fanzines such as We Got Power or Flipside Fanzine. Also, every punk band had its own hub. Record labels, music recording studios and record store hubs. The major places to make the scene!  Such as Licorice pizza, ZEDS, Tower Records and Moby Disk Records and our own Whittier Record hub Lovells Records.  Without forgetting the college and underground radio program hubs where the innovative music played. These were the greatest of supportive hubs such as Pat Hoed’s Adam Bomb (KXLU), Stella Stray POP and Rodney on the KOQ.

The major hub that brought us all together was an amazing force know as gigs. The garage to Club 88, the Masque to the Whisky A go go and beyond. Where the fans, bands and promoters met!

The focal point here was the paper flyer. These papers were handed out at gigs. Unique band flyers with local and logo band art. Mostly Xerox copies. Xerox machines a revolutionary major hub for the punk scene.  The US Mail and the ring ring telephone press buttons or circular dial extenuated the positive communication hub…remember? Punks spent a great deal of time alone…creating, practicing, and thinking in our own hubs! Coming together via shows, the phone and the mail.

This is where the hub masters such as Denis, Pat, and Mike were found. They shined there. They masterly brought all the HUBS together. These three punks were genius hub masters. Networking was their punk underground gift and they are authentic examples of the early punk rock phenomenon.

Dennis, Pat, and Mike are a part of the Southern California punk scene. They influenced a generation of fans and often are not known or acknowledged for their influence.

They infected my little hub of a bedroom converted into a fanzine office. I often felt overwhelmed working on Flipside and under a big wave of stuff always about ready to crash. These guys showed me the skills of synchronizing things together. Making it seem easy.

Number one Punk Hub Master: Dennis Danell

I first saw Denis when I was living with my sister in Fullerton Orange County. It was 1978. I was working at a local Dry-Cleaning Business as a cashier. Staffing on Flipside Fanzine on the side. He was riding a sting-ray bike sporting a spike haircut. At that time is was unique. We were speaking the same language. I looked similar with my partial shaved hairdo with orange hair color. A year later we met at the scene and become friends.

Dennis taught me loyalty of friendship. I witnessed his expansive heart that made his band stay tight. This is the work of the hub master. Denis still visits me in my dreams. Always polite, honest, and his happy Dizzy self. He had the ability of synchronizing punks together in a charming way. He will not ever be taken for granted. He was at the right place at the right time.

I will read some quotes from Flipside 20 A Social Distortion interview. I feel these short quotes embrace his character.

“Denis: We wanna sound like no one else, We wanna sound like us!!”

“Denis: Tommie’s chilly burgers. I ate one of those and didn’t have to eat for 2 days and I was shitting for 3 weeks!”

Second Hub Master: Pat Fear.

As you know Pat was a force to deal with. He lived in Riverside which was not far from Whittier Ca where Flipside Fanzine was based. Flipside put out a few music vinyl fanzines on Flipside / Gasatanka Records.

Pat was the hub master and helped bring it all other. Was it only a few years ago I argued on Facebook about his hate for Sahara Palin? I would ask him to slow down and redirect his energy. White Flag played a show with the Simpletons around 2008. They played a Saints Song, Demolition Girl. A nice dedication to me. Yet that was Pat… he always tried to make his friends happy. He was humorous in an irritating and funny way. He had the gift of inclusion. He is a constellating hub across time which brings us all here together today.

I will read some quotes by White Flag Tape 6 Flipside Music Fanzine. I will try to read them the way White Flag said them. Pat Fear’s high degree of sarcasm.

This is a White Flag moment.

“What is the purpose of White Flag?”

“To create an illusion of creativity. Because we are too good to be believed.”

“White Flag is a band that’s done everything done before… but better.” “There are two kinds of people in the world, people who are in White Flag and all those who wish they were.”

“White Flag is more than just a band it is a concept of how to live your life.”

“We look like women, talk like men, and play like mother fuckers. (twisted sister quote.)”

Pat wrote a theme song for our video fanzines. I’d like to share a short description from our catalog describing the beginning of Flipside Video Number Two,

“Now if you want to see the good old video monster in action you just got to catch this video. So, if you get it, and put it in your VCR, you might just die. Because the opening Flipside Video Number Two is the band White Flag. Gutsy and pure, Pat Fear will knock your block off while he plays guitar for the opening theme song called “Flipside” with backup singers including some Redd Kross members and one Bangle member …”

Third Hub Master: Mike Conley

Mike originally came from Las Vegas and then stationed his band MIA in the Orange County beach area. He brought punks tighter together. He did this at parties, gigs or at the Flipside House. He could wheel and deal the punk zone. Back stage Mike would make me laugh. He would follow me around saying,

“Want a cocktail, Hudley,” while rolling his eyes round and around. Just like Groucho Marx.

In 2008 when editing my memoirs about the punk scene I came across some Mike comments in a Flipside Fanzine Interview with his band. Unbelievably I received a call at that moment from Nike Adams, a member of MIA, telling me of Mike’s demise.   A week later at his funeral his oldest daughter told us a short story.

She said that when they were traveling in his car her dad always had the music on too loud. She told him he could use head phones like everyone else. He never did. That’s punk.

I will now read another short quote from my Punk@lullby Journal Number Four.

From the Pogo to the Slam Pit

Recently, at a benefit show for the passing of Mike Conley of M.I.A., a slam pit broke out at the Detroit bar in Costa Mesa. After about 19 years my natural feelings of irritation and perspiration filled with moisture above my brow. In the past, the slam pit became a testosterone-filled ring of jock bodies circling round and round before the stage. Bouncers and bands tried to control it.  They could not stop this wildfire. I grew to hate it. Yet, the recent show again proved me wrong. There were some women but mostly men dancing around having a great time. Yes, their firm bodies now had become a little soft around the edges, as one middle-aged guy stopped and said to me, as if Mike Conley for one moment materialized,

“…enjoy this moment, it is the best time of your life!”

This guy was beaming with youthful glee.

Flipside produced one of MIA’s albums entitled After the Fact. I will read lyrics from a song that Mike wrote. A Quote from the Song, Whisper in the Wind,

“In my eyes you’ll see a thousand memories He said stare into my soul All of me you shall know Live your life full, live your life free, Tomorrow’s but a vision, Yesterday is a dream…”

Mike had the quality of inner order. A quality of depth and control that was not always easy to access.

This concludes my essay on three punk rockers of the early Southern California Punk Scene. The Denis, Pat and Mike I knew were extraordinary. They were our friends!

They are the Punk Hub Masters!


(I presented this at Pat Fear and Other Stories~ December 3, 2017 )


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penny candies

I sometimes miss the wildness of the street. Every street corner there were many people hanging out. Most were friendly and handing out flowers. Most eventually grew up and went on with there lives. 


1968–69: Manson Family crimes Main article: Manson Family

In the late 1960s, Manson attracted a quasi-communal cult based in California that was later dubbed the “Manson Family”. The group gained national notoriety after the murder of actress Sharon Tate plus four others in her home on August 9, 1969,[15] and LaBianca murders the next day. The Tate–LaBianca Murders were executed by Tex Watson and three other members of the Family, acting under the specific instructions of Manson.[16][17] Family members were also responsible for a number of other assaults, thefts, crimes, and the attempted assassination of United States President Gerald Ford in Sacramento.[18] 1971–present: third imprisonment


rowing up in the San Fernando Valley during the 1960s was wild. All the corner streets were filled with hitchhiking youths. Carrying incense and their innocence. Topanga Canyon was a way to the beach. They moved towards the Pacific Coast Highway.

As a kid I would walk down to Gary’s Market on the corner of Dumetz and Topanga Canyon. My friends and I bought penny candies. We also got bakery goods. We would sit and eat. We sugar gazed at the craziness.

Now I often take a drive to Box Canyon. That place where the Manson Family once lived. I love writing about this place and that time. It seems to be a place that has not been touched by time. It still feels and smells like the late 60s and early 70s.

As kids we walked or rode our bikes there. Not as many cars made the ride or walk easy. There were trees to climb and plenty of friends. We felt safe. Gone for hours at a time! Funny my parents never seemed to worry about us.

It was not until after the Manson trial that I learned to fear the wild places of my youth. Yet smoking pot would always highlight this paranoia.

Charles Manson is dead or is dying. The creepy crawl is not over though. Today I will take a drive-up and down Box Canyon. With freedom there is always danger lurking about. Those corner streets filled with hippies were not so innocent as I thought they were. As I once was. Maybe darkness gazed at us, unaware to us, back then as we ate our penny candies.