May 30, 1969

I remember “Bloody Thursday”. I was there in 1969 at Peoples Park, Berkeley, California when I heard about James Rector dying after being shot in the back by police.
I had hitch hiked with my 4 year old son from Vancouver Canada just to go to the Sky River Rock festival in Washington. I was a 20 year old hippie (yes I had flowers in my hair) and I just wanted to see Janis and Big Brother and the Holding Company. After the festival someone asked me if we needed a lift to San Fransico and it sounded like a good idea at the time. So me and my road partner headed out on a new adventure in life.
Long story short, we ended up in Berkeley California. Most of our time down there is a blur after half a century. My space saver brain has created a kaleidoscope collage of memories to go with the impressions of Telegraph Avenue, the university amphitheater under a full moon and a head full of acid, a commune and pregnant women wearing nothing but flowers and necklaces. I can picture Ken Keasy at the Fillmore West, Profs Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary giving lectures on LSD and god on campus, holding my little boys hand running to beat the waves of the incoming tide and star fish in a pool near an ocean cave. There is a Volkswagen van where we lived for a time, a record with Dark Side of the Moon written on it, old monks in orange robes and chanting for hours.
But mostly I remember what it felt like being lifted off my feet and plastered against a wall by a fire hose. I remember it hurt and I couldn’t breathe and then it was gone and I dropped to the ground. There were thousands of people everywhere, cops advancing with guns. I lost my kid for a moment. It was May 30 1969
It built up over a period of a couple of weeks. Everybody was angry. Although I wasn’t ingrained and steeped in the feelings of America during the Vietnam time, I was angry that a faceless friend from Peoples Park had been shot and killed by “the man”.
After the riots, the fear and the curfews, we couldn’t get across the bridge to get out of there. We pretty much had to stay in the van to avoid the cops. I was an alien and became fearful of somehow losing my boy. I don’t even remember how we did get out.
I write this little piece because of the date. I had no idea it happened on May 30, I am guessing my soul remembered, thus the feelings coming back up when I listened to the song I posted (Somethings Happening Here) with the sound on, CNN sound off.
Was the day of the fire hose.
“Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results” -Albert Einstein

Author: shawlj

I am on new ground now, finally free from many decades of ‘taking care of business’. The letters behind my name became an anchor that I have finally broken free from. You have a standing invitation to walk with me here, where the living is easy and uncluttered.

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