Sunday, December 26, 2010

Photo Atlanta 1968

Circa 1968 taken while living in Atlanta, Georgia. My sister-in-law had my hair fixed "proper". 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rape [part 2] Son of a Sheriff. © Dakini Verona 2010

Rape [part 2] Son of a Sheriff. © Dakini Verona 2010

I sure wish that I could say that I shot the son of the sheriff, the way Clapton sang about shooting the sheriff. But it never happened, only in my wildest dreams and fantasies. As I was saying.. I was alone in the dark streets of Sarasota, Florida [rape part 1]. I was 14 years old.

Eric Clapton sang I Shot the Sheriff

My rage had subsided as quickly as it rose. I was blindly walking now, trying to figure out how I would get home. I couldn’t call my parents. No. That would never work, to admit I had been wrong. So I continued to walk and hoped a solution would rise from the dark.

I heard the car pulling up behind me, it was one of those large muscle types of cars. The kind that had a trunk so big you could easily sneak in 4 kids to the drive-in theatre. The kind that you could find 6 rambunctious boys hooting it up on a Saturday night.  In retrospect, the kind that you should never get into, even when you know the occupants.

RAPE [part 1] © Dakini Verona 2010

Rape [part 1]

The word itself causes those of us who have been victimized this way to shudder. But I think that it is better than the way I responded before, which was to shut down. Backup.. so far back that I left who I was behind. Sometimes it is the only way to survive. I never fully had what is commonly known as multiple personality disorder, but I know.. down to the core of my soul, that there are pieces of me that left during times of trauma.

The little 7 year old me found a place to run to. She curled up safe and sound where no one could reach her. That bad man may have been hurting that “other little girl”, but that was not ME.

I learned that trick at a young age. No little girl should ever have to run and hide that way. I am so sorry that I was unable to protect her. She was so innocent and naïve. He was just a victim himself, I am sure. That happens to young boys that are molested or raped. They grow up to become the very demons that brutalized them. Ironic, huh?

I am sitting here, somewhat afraid to explore my own demons. There were so many times that I found myself enduring yet another sexual brutalization. I only remember bits and pieces of some, those that were the most tragic have burrowed themselves so deep inside that I have to be very careful about pulling them out. The technique I have learned to is to fist acknowledge that I was the victim. That I was an innocent in all of it. Then I have to assure myself that I am now safe. Not only from my attacker, but from others that might sense that I was once a victim (many time over) and then prey on that.

I have to shed some tears.. it is all a process. I have to tell myself – I am ok. I am safe. I am loved. No one will hurt me that way, ever again. I will not allow it. I have to convince myself that it is now just a memory. I give myself permission to let it go, after I expunge it from my memory once and for all. I can release it, once I have told my story. Once and for all. My cheeks are wet. My voice is weak. My teeth are chattering as I stand here on the precipice of this monumental task trying to find the courage to bring the memories back.

This is the first time ever, that I have actually purposefully, embarked upon this undertaking. I will tell it all, as I remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Memories.. can be debilitating.. and liberating at same time.

A reader recently wrote and asked why I am not writing my memoirs in chronological order. I tried to explain that these are memoirs, not an autobiography in the true sense. Memoirs allow us to retell things as we remember things.

It’s funny how our memories work – the way we remember events. Sometimes the memories flood in and ravage you, just like a rogue wave in the ocean. No warning. Knocks you off your feet, leaving you gasping for air, scrambling to regain any semblance of balance. Sometimes they sneak up on you, triggered by any one or combination of smell, taste, gesture, or sound. It might also be a spoken phrase, tone of voice, song playing in the background. Other times you are jolted awake by the recurring nightmare that dissipates like smoke, not allowing you to hold the memory and ironically keeping you from letting it go at the same time. Sometimes you might find yourself struggling to remember something. You might think back to events preceding or following the event, to try and rekindle the memory.

So given the fact that memories are not recalled in a systematic way, you might understand why sometimes my stories will come to an abrupt end and leave you hanging. It is not that I don’t want to go further, it’s not that I want to tease you, it is just that sometimes the memory is inaccessible, sometimes I am grasping at the smoke…never able to see the images clearly.

I am sure if you have ever survived a trauma you will understand what I am talking about. They have a label for this: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Many survivors live with this on a daily basis- victims of molestation, neglect, sexual abuse, spousal abuse, and soldiers, to name a few.

PTSD has a way of causing victims yet more pain, through loss of self, loss of memory, loss of self-esteem, loss of trust, and on and on and on. As we heal, we find the memories surfacing a bit at a time.

If all of my memories flooded back at once, I am sure I would be in a loony bin right now.. or worse. My higher power gauges how much I can deal with at any one time and only allows those to come through. I take a deep breath… let it go and move on.

If I had not gone to therapy, if I had not self medicated, if I had not broken my consciousness into several pieces and hidden them away someplace deep inside where they remained safe.. who knows where I would be.. or even more importantly - IF I would be.

When I force myself to try and remember something too soon, before I am ready; I feel a disconnection. I leave my body and I numb my feelings (emotions). I find myself observing me from outside of my body. This is the only safe way for me to re-experience the events, without opening the wounds. You see, I am still afraid. Very afraid. Afraid of some of the memories.

I feel them clawing at the outer shell of my sanity. I dare not turn around to face them.. not yet. Soon. When I feel safe. When I am empowered. When I have the weapons cocked and ready. Until then, I will walk briskly down this path. Trying to convince myself that I will not be hurt again. Assuring myself that the past cannot catch up with me until I am ready. I have to be ready to defeat my demons once and for all. But there are so many.. so many.

Sometimes I need a rest. I guess that is what my “real life” is all about.. resting between the stories. Time to spend working, studying the mundane, playing at renaissance faires, loving my family, baking, spending time with my pets. It is at these times that I try to find time to heal the little girl inside, the one who was neglected and abused. The one I abandoned in the past when I ran to the streets. The one that lived her life as a victim. A victim I will be no more. I have made the choice to go back to that little girl and forgive her. To forgive that teenager. Forgive myself for walking that line myself as a mother.  

And then- once recharged, I find the courage to face another dark memory. Reveal it to the light. See it for what it is or is not. Let it go. Let it go.
I deserve more… but until I release that which I have kept locked up all these years I can never be free. Not really. As Janis once sang: “…Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jail bait © Dakini 2010

Jail bait © Dakini 2010

Cindy was my best friend growing up. She lived about a mile away in Blue Mountain, New York. We lived in the middle of nowhere, but then again, we lived about 9 miles from the quaint little village of Woodstock. Woodstock was the place for artists and musicians to come and hang out. It was bohemian before it was hip. You can just imagine how much trouble we could get into there. 

Cindy and I were joined at the hips from the time we were 13 or so. We were constantly on the phone talking to each other, in those rare moments when we were not face to face.

She came from good German stock. She lived with her mom and four siblings (from what I remember) in humble home on Blue Mountain Road. At the back of her property you could find a small babbling brook. There were many evenings spent playing on the hill which led to that stream. On warm summer nights we could look up at the sky and watch the bats dart about, catching small flying insects like mosquitoes and no-see-ums (gnats). 

I remember when I lost my virginity (by date rape) and was afraid to tell Cindy about it. I thought she would think I was a whore. My sense of self worth was non-existent back then. 

She and I experimented with various drugs together. I was the adventurous one and always got us in trouble. Her mom used to hunt us down when we were out where we were not supposed to be. Cindy thought it was because her mom knew everyone, I think she was psychic on some level. 

Like the night we pulled, or I should say, tried to pull, that classic trick: "you tell your mom you are staying at my house and I will tell my parents that I am staying at yours." It worked fine with my parents; they were in their own world of denial when it came to me. Cindy's mom, on the other hand was very protective about her children. She checked up on Cindy and discovered we were not where we said we were going to be. Of course not, we were off to meet boys in the Village of Woodstock.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Soul Journey of Grandma Kitty

Soul Journey of Grandma Kitty

This is the journal is a collection of short stories to depict the journey of the soul of my mother, as she transitioned from this life to the next. Mom’s driver’s license listed her name as Catherine Helen Fries. She hated the name Helen and wasn’t too fond of the name Catherine either. I know that my grandma’s name was Helen, but not sure why she chose to go by the name of  Kitty. Mom had even changed her last name at one point in her life. Being Italian in New York City in the 30’s was not a very popular thing. She changed her last name from Siracusano to Syracuse. I never understood why. I think Siracusano is a great name, one I am proud of.

Funny thing, not too long before her passing, she had a need to order a certified copy of her birth certificate. When it came, she thought there was a mistake because the name on the certificate was not one she recognized. Katharine Helen Siracusano. She told me that if she had known that was her name, she would have loved it. Here she was, 80+ years old woman that just discovered her name for the first time .

Mom preferred to be called Kitty by her friends; Mom by her children; and Grandma by her grandchildren.

She was born on Sunday, March 9, 1919 in New York City and died on Tuesday, December 16, 2003. She was 84 years 9 months and 1 week old when she passed.

Mom had been living in Escondido, California for a couple of years and was starting to show signs of age. She suffered from heart problems, high blood pressure, COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease) caused by many, many years of smoking non-filtered Camel cigarettes. In the end, it was the emphysema that took away her ability to enjoy life to the fullest. She was having problems with breathing which affected her mobility somewhat. It got so bad that she found herself tethered to an oxygen tank the last few months of her life.

During the great fires of San Diego County, in October of 2003, the smoke was so think that Mom had to be evacuated. Smoke is deadly for those with breathing disorders. My sister Dale  took Mom to Santa Monica (120 miles north, in Los Angeles County) to stay with some family friends until the smoke subsided. It was during this trip that Mom first complained that she was having problems swallowing when I took her out to dinner at a local kosher deli. Mom had always loved the deli style roast beef sandwiches. The kind that are filled with succulent, rare roast beef. The  kind of rolls that you can barely wrap your hands around, let alone your mouth. This was her night out and I wanted to make sure she enjoyed her meal. She took a few bites and looked up with a strange look on her face. She said the meat was too tough and she could not swallow it. She complained to the server. I asked them to replace it with Mom’s other favorite, chopped chicken liver. Again, she could not swallow it. She complained about the bread being too dry. She was so upset by that time, she got up and stormed out of the restaurant. The wait staff did not want to charge us for the food. I explained that there must be some other problem and left enough tip to take care of the bill.

At our friend’s house we made a bowl of soup for Mom. Again, the same problem. She could no longer swallow.

After several trips to the doctors, they were unable to determine the exact cause for the problem. It was assumed that she had suffered from a stroke during the trauma of the fires. The doctors told us to “wait and see”.

I am not sure if you have ever had to deal with this type of situation. At first you are in denial. This can’t be happening. Then you get angry and try to find things to blame. The fires. Those idiots that started them. I blamed the doctors. Why couldn’t they find a problem? Why couldn’t they fix it?

Early in November, my brother Ron, and his wife, Linda, came to visit Mom. We ran around to various doctors where they proceeded to poke and prod her frail little body. Again, no definitive answer. They just said: “wait and see”.

Mom was able to get a little food down, mostly broth, liquids and of course, ice cream. During  the Thanksgiving celebration with Dale, Mom had trouble talking. It became clearly evident that there was something was wrong. Very wrong. We could no longer “wait and see”. We knew her end was approaching fast.

I was living more than a 100 miles away from Mom and was not able to spend much time with her. My sister, Dale was living just a few minutes from Mom but had a life of her own to lead. Brother Ron was living thousands of miles away on the other side of the country. But here we were. The three of us – trying to make a determination as to what to do. Ron and his wife were worried and thought the best course of action was to put Mom in a home. I guess he must have forgotten how very stubborn Mom was. Dale and I knew she would have no part of that!

So Dale and I sat down with Mom and asked her what she wanted. Mom’s only wish was to not be left alone. She told Dale that she wanted her at her bedside when she made her exit. Her biggest fear was to come to the same end as one of her neighbors: dropped dead at home and left for days until the body was discovered.

We decided it was time to hire someone to look after Mom. We were lucky to find a lady that was looking for room and board in exchange for being a companion for mom and to prepare her meager meals for her. We were glad to have someone to stay with her and look after her to make sure she made all her doctor’s appointments and to help her keep on her medication regime. Little did we know that in a few short weeks Mom’s condition would fall so far.

I was coming down to visit Mom on a weekend trip. It was Friday, December 5th. I was planning on just staying for the weekend, and I don’t know what inspired me to pack a week’s worth of clothes in my car, but there I was: heading down the 405 on a Friday night. I knew I had a long 2 to 3 hour drive ahead and I decided to ring up Mom and see how she was. The live-in answered the phone and seemed to be quite upset. She told me that Mom had not been eating at all during the past week. When pressed, she told me that Mom had not been drinking any water either. Apparently on one of the trips to the doctor’s that week, Mom was given some medicine in pill form. Now the doctors had it in the files that she was having problems swallowing and I guess they just thought that it would not apply to pills. The live-in said that Mom was not able to take the pills and that should could not handle the situation. She asked for me to come down as soon as I could and settle her account so she could leave. This was not what I was signed up for this weekend.

When I got there tried to assess the situation. I found some antibiotics and steroids and anti this and anti that. Mom’s house had turned into a pharmacy! Mom had asked the live-in to crush the pills and put them in water so that she could take them. I was livid that the doctor’s would not have given her at least liquid medication or an injection!

I helped the live-in gather her items, wrote a check from Mom’s account to settle the payment due her and then saw her out of the door.

I tried to spend time with Mom, but she was not doing well. I called Dale and we met together at Mom’s. We talked and decided we could not do this alone. We had to find help. We ended up hiring another live-in, Rosa. Rosa was the embodiment of compassion. She was such a sweet and loving soul.

On Sunday, December 7th we were finally able to get the hospice ordered. Things were rolling along. December 8th I went to work and appealed to my boss for time off. I was granted as much time as needed. December 9th I drove down to spend the remaining days with Mom. I stopped by and picked up a large bottle of Gray Goose Vodka. (My intentions were to give it to Dale as a Christmas present).

When I got to the house Dale was there with Rosa (the live in nurse). Mom was set up in her living room in a hospital bed provided by hospice. She was only able to get up to go to the bathroom with the help of the Rosa. We had all her supplies out there including a portable commode. I brought in a bag and a handmade journal that I had found in my car.

Dale and I would often sit at the side of her bed and talk to her or read to her and sometimes sing to her. Sometimes she would be coherent and sometimes she would drift. She was able to carry on some conversations with us and other times she would be talking to those we could not see.

I decided to keep a log of what was to transpire over the remainder of Mom’s days.

The series of entries that follow are from that log:

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

“Packing the Tibetan Bell”

Mom asked for a box for her Tibetan Bell. She was very insistent that I bring her a box and it had to be perfect. I brought her different boxes until I was able to get just the right size. When I asked her why she needed one, she said “I know what’s coming.”

Then a bit later she said: “my spirit is on the floor and it won’t get up and go!”

“The Blond Haired Angel”

We noticed that Mom would be surprised by something or someone. It was like someone was sneaking up behind her and making her jump. She asked who it was that kept popping their head around the corner of the bed (from behind her) and then running away. We told her that we didn’t see anyone. We asked her to describe what she saw.

She said someone was poking their head around from behind her bed and from behind her. When we asked her to describe this person Mom became very animated and said: “he has a BIG FACE”. As she said this she held her hands up around her own small little face and showed how big it was. She had a very big smile and her eyes got really wide. “He has lots of curly blond hair”. She kept looking around her shoulder as if someone or something was playing peek a boo with her and then she said with a stern voice as her Italian roots shot out with strong animation she thrusted a sharp hand jester using her thumb to point the angel of death to the door: “Get lost!” “I’m not ready yet.”

“Dale’s Spirit Guide”

Dale and I had gone out for coffee or food and came back in through the front door. We walked into the house and Mom asked Dale: “Who is that man with you?” Dale asked Mom to describe him. Mom answered: “He is tall and has dark hair” Dale said it was one of her angels, one of her spirit guides. Mom never questioned it.

“Uncle John”

Out of the blue, Mom started to talk about her brother-in-law John. John had been a New York City policeman and had been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth. John had killed himself. This is what she had to say:

“Uncle John was at Lillian’s house, eating dinner. He had a tooth that broke off… but he was stubborn and he left the table. He went out to the garage and blew off his head.”

“The Bird”

Some days it seemed like Mom could see things that were happening outside of her scope of view. When she would talk, we would listen. This time she said: “there is a bird outside”. At this point we wondered if there was one and were curious if she was looking at it from another perspective, but then she continued: “…it wants to take me to fly away with it.”

As this occurred I reached for this yellow journal to write down what she said. Mom got quite agitated and yelled: “DON’T GIVE IT ANY MONEY!”

“The man is messing with the machine”

Sometimes Mom would see other things that no one else could see. One night she was very afraid and became disturbed. She was pointing to her oxygen machine and had a look of fear across her face. She asked us “why is he touching the machine?” We asked her to describe him and she just said it was a man that was messing with her oxygen. At this point she was taking off her oxygen tube.

Later she repeated: “my spirit is on the floor and won’t get up. I want to go… but it won’t get up.”

“Ron’s Coming”

Dale and I decided to tell our brother Ron, that Mom was failing in health rapidly. We made sure that she was not around when we called, in fact called him from outside of the house. We told him that hospice had been out, that we had a live in nurse and that she would not live to see Christmas. Ron and Linda were working at Disneyworld and were going to have to leave their contract early to come see Mom. Dale and I decided to not tell Mom that we had called Ron, as we did not want her to be upset.

The night we called Ron, Mom became extremely agitated and got up out of bed and wanted to walk around. She stopped and sat down on one of her dining room chairs and was visibly upset. She looked up at Dale and me and said with a scowl: “someone told Ron and he is coming out. He is leaving by coach in the morning. He is sad. I don’t want him to ruin his plans. Why did you call him?

She was afraid of ruining his time at Disney and did not want to be an inconvenience. However, little did we know how connected she was. Somehow Mom knew I had called Ron. However I did not know that he was thinking of coming out.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003

I called Ron in the morning and he told me that they decided to drive the motor home out and was hoping to make it before she passed. He told me that he was leaving the next morning and he was upset because he was going to have to forfeit going back to work at Disney since he could not give them a two week notice they got/were fired.


The hospice Chaplin would come to visit Mom and read to her from the bible. Dale and I were not thrilled with the fire and brimstone lectures and asked her to refrain from spewing negativity at her. However, one day she asked Mom about Dad. Mom looked up at the ceiling and said: “He [Harry] is the best person up there and he is waiting for me behind those golden gates.”


Mom made the following statement which neither Dale or I understood: “There is a short man with dark hair by the bank.” She then called out “Jesse?” as if she recognized someone. Then she added: “there is a heavy set blond man with a cart.”

“Rafe and Dale”

My son, Rafe and my sister, Dale had been having some challenges with their relationship. Mom was not made aware of these differences but again, she showed us that she did know.

Dale and I were standing next to Mom and Dale left the room. As soon as she was gone, Mom looked straight into my eyes asked “Is Rafe going to make up with Dale?”

“Mr. Nobody”

When Dale and I were little and something was discovered to be broken Mom would ask us “who did this?” of course, we would answer “not me!”. Then Mom would say: “Well I guess it was Mr. Nobody then.”

We were surprised when Mom spoke out from nowhere: “Mr. Nobody came and he beat me to the bathroom.” We asked her to describe Mr. Nobody. She said he was a tall, dark haired man.

“Waking the babies”

Dale and I would spend some time singing to Mom. We sang songs that we knew and liked, one of them being Summertime, by Janis Joplin. After Dale and I poured our hearts into one set Mom turned to us and said: “Shhhhhhhhh you’re waking the babies!”

Random conversations with people or things we could not see:

“Hey Johnny! You are the only one that agrees with me.”     She was engaged in a conversation with someone, but we only heard this end of it.

“Johnny, do you want some grape soda?” she asked of her invisible visitor.

“Baby Jack is sleeping” as she looked down at the floor at the foot of her bed.

“A place for Mom”

As the days passed it became very clear that Mom was fading. We invited other family to come and visit. We knew it would not be long.

One night Dale and her daughter, Gretchen and her friend, John and I went out for dinner. When we were ready to sit down I grabbed another chair and brought it to the table to make room for Mom. I forgot that she was not physically with us.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I had spent the night at Dale’s and when I arrived at Mom’s at 11:00 am she was eating fruit. This was the first thing she had eaten in weeks. I was shocked and surprised all at the same time and not sure what was happening. Mom looked up at me and seemed afraid. She asked sheepishly: “Are you going to be mad at me if I get better?” I responded, “No, of course not!”

Mom had made some random statements that day:

“Who is that man at the wall?” she asked. We of course, could not see anyone and again asked her what he looked like and what he was doing. She responded:

“The man came through with a bouquet of flowers and I asked him 3 times where he was going. He said Orlando is not that far.” (Ron and Linda were driving from Orlando, Florida).

Dale and I had decided to hide Mom’s valuables to prevent anyone from taking them. There were a lot of people coming in and out of the house that we did not know. We thought the best thing to do was to pack it up and put it in Dale’s car for her to bring to her house for safekeeping.

One thing that still baffles me is the way that Mom was able to see what was going on outside of herself. Sometimes she could even sense what we were thinking, it seemed. 

“She keeps thinking that someone is stealing the jewelry – they are not.” I responded to her that I had sometimes had thoughts that things were stolen, but were not.

“Skinny Girls”

As I mentioned previously, Mom had a lot of visitors that we could not see. The closer she got to passing, the more visitors showed up, it seemed. At one point she had a few in the room with her and said the following:

“Who am I supposed to look at – this skinny girl here?, or here?, or here?” (she pointed to several areas in the room as she said this.) We asked if she knew who they were and she responded: “Yes, I think I do.” We asked her to describe them and she only replied that they had brown hair.

Mom began to become fixated with the door to her house. Where the bed was situated in the living room, she could see her front door to her left. One day, she spoke to the live in nurse Rosa:

“Rosa, could you please open the door to let him through?” “There is a man and he needs to get through.” She would not settle back down until someone walked over to the door and opened it to let the man get through.

One day Mom said that she needed to look for her Visa Card for her car. She wanted us to search her bedroom. I asked “again?” then she and Dale sang a song.

Mom loved to entertain and be entertained. She used to perform on stage when she was young and was actually Miss Newark in 1937. She admired singers and performers and had secret crushes on people like Willie Nelson. Mom had a neighbor that performed at lounges and off Broadway. She was very impressed with his list of places he had performed. When Dale and I told him that Mom was not well and that she had always hoped to see him perform he decided to conduct a special performance for her, in her front room, on her death bed.

Jerry, was his name. He came over and sang for Mom. She held a microphone but at this point, was too weak to sing. However, her eyes sparkled and her face lit up as she moved her lips to the words of some of her favorite show tunes. Dale made an audio tape of the event.

Friday, December 12th, 2003
We were circled around Mama’s bed and when Gretchen came in from LA with her friend John, Mom looked over to Gretchen and said “I'm dying for a soda in her playful way with her dark humor.  Gretchen couldn’t believe that we didn’t get her a soda, cause we weren’t thinking clearly and thought it was bad for her health. What were we thinking??? Mom got her coke and enjoyed her last sip holding Gretchen’s hand in gratitude. Love’s energy was powerfully felt in this room. We were all connecting with Mom as she was slipping into the unseen world with her consciousness.

Dale heard an organ playing the same three chords over and over again. She asked the others around the bed, do you hear that organ? We all had a funny look on our faces, no one heard it but Dale, but I think Mom heard it to. It is said that we all have a soul song that is played as we enter this world and when we leave it. Dale heard the organ for about 4 times in the last few weeks of Moms life.

The last night of Moms life just before she had slipped into a comma, after not eating or drinking for almost three weeks she insisted on getting up and going to the bathroom, she refused to mess her bed. The aid helped compassionately. I just marveled at the great dignity, inner strength, and powerful intention that Mom had.

It was clear that Ron was not going to make it. At noon Dale whispered into Mom’s ear that Ron forgives her for everything, and that he knows she did the best she could and that we all forgive her and love her with all of our hearts. That it was ok to go and leave her tired body and slip into her new light body.

Mom left three hrs later 3PM. As she left, her granddaughter Laura called and wanted to say goodbye….but it was too late. Dale held her hand as she took her last breath. She watched as her eyes widened one last time, and saw light emanate from the top of her body…..she was home now… Love is all there is in the beginning and end.

End note:

Songs we sang:

Church in the Valley
Me and Bobby McGee
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Deck the Halls
This little light of Mine
Jingle Bells
True Love
Joy to the World
Que Sera Sear
Pennies from Heaven
Lord’s Prayer
You are so beautiful to Me
You are my Sunshine

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One of those life changing defining moments.

Defining moments.. when something occurs that is so significant it forces you to make a choice as to which path to follow. 

I was reminded today by someone from my past, about a day long, long ago when I was pregnant and in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong... the sawed off shotguns were pointed at no other than me.. yep.. the pregnant girl!... 

stayed tuned


update... someone on Facebook made a comment: "What that's crazy!"

my response:

yes..all true. I would sometimes doubt my memory of that day, but then yesterday someone, that I knew back on the streets sent me a random email in response to a post I had on Amazon (about the book Telegraph 3 am). Seems he was also photographed, but they did not publish his image.

Anyway.. turns out he was in that room.. his email trigged my memory and I am trying to muster up the courage to go back to that day and pull it all together.

You see, my boyfriend at the time was a coke dealer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Here's to the crazy ones.. .Apple Computers ad copy

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Jack Kerouac quoted in an Apple Computer Ad, 1997

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Major milestone hit 10,000 views

Hello all,

I am thrilled to report a major milestone which was hit last week on this blog. I had over 10,000 views since I began blogging in early August. Amazing! I am overwhelmed with emotion and now have to keep up my writing to keep everyone interested.

If there are some stories that you want to hear more about, post a comment or send me an email. If you have any questions about my life, ask away.. I am fairly open, as you can tell by the candor of my writing.

Thank you all for reading my stories.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

FOLK LEGENDS PART I © 2010 Dakini Verona


FOLK LEGENDS PART I © 2010 Dakini Verona

It’s a tossup right now, do I write about the most boring folk legend I have had the pleasure of meeting or about the most humble one that I have met?

I can tell you they both left an impression on me. Funny, now that I think back on those encounters, they both occurred in either a hotel or motel room (NO.. none of it involved sex.) Drugs.. well, yes. In fact, hell yes! And of course, there was rock and roll. Or more truthfully, folk rock.

The two artist I am referring to are Arlo Guthrie and Art Garfunkle. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What is it you ask of me? © 1973 Dakini Verona

What is it you ask of me, Kind Sir? © 1973 Dakini Verona

Please unveil your mask so I may see who you were.
Is it love you speak of? Please say what you mean!
What rules do you go by? Reveal them, I pray.

You’ve soft eyes, I must note.
And still I am sad on the hurt I inflict, I dote.
Is that good? Or am I bad?

You speak so of wisdom, and what there’s yet to learn.
Bring me to your kingdom, for you know all I yearn.

Teach me with kindness, I may yet come around.
I love you not less, I just don’t know where I’m bound.

Take my hand gently, yet with a firm grip.
By my side you shall be, to prevent me a trip.
The thing that seems to be in the way, is how you’re tattered and worn.
I don’t hesitate to pray for you, but  in another form!

Scattered Thoughts © 1973 Dakini Verona

Clouds through the sky, there’s just you and I.
Flowing, forever. Ever on. Our love flows on.
Could there be more? Than a walk by the shore?

- with you? Forever? Ever more?

Our reality - Simply a gaze.
An eternal bound, linking our souls forever. Ever, my love.
Forever more.

Horses running free. Just as you and me.
But together, love. Together, are we.

Mountains climb high, the time passes by.

Is it for you, as it is for me?
Do you feel whole… only with me?
Or do you wander over the hill?

Are there others? Or is your love still?

I’m blue. I think I’m afraid of you.

Your love closes in and my mind starts to spin.
Will it be forever? A lovely forever?

Or just for a smile?

Hold me close. Oh love, never let go.

If I wander away- don’t let me stray too far.
I get lost too easily.

I forget my needs.

I need you.

Let’s let it flow – let’s let it flow
Never letting go.. grab a tight hold
Holding our love. Treasuring our love.

Contentment within the boundaries of a profound love.
So pure and simple - cast down upon the sea

“our reality”?

Just us – we. Three.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autobiographical Statement - C 1994 Dakini Verona

My Autobiographical Statement

The year was 1994. I had just graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in psychology. My plan was to continue on to graduate school and earn a master’s degree in family counseling. Well, as they say “best laid plans”. I never did get that advanced degree in psychology, I ended up getting it in business and it was not until 2009 that I was able to reach that goal.
However, as a part of my original plan, I applied to Antioch University in Marian Del Rey, California. As a part of the admission package I had to prepare an autobiographical statement. What follows is the “watered-down-unemotional and politically correct” account of my life. Like I said, although I was accepted at Antioch, I did not attend. Life got in the way. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010



TRAUMA LINE 2 1968-1973

TRAUMA TIME LINE 1 1954-1968

FORGIVENESS... © 2010 Dakini Verona

FORGIVENESS © 2010 Dakini Verona

Life has been a journey, not without challenges. Sometimes, even I have been known to receive a  spattering of rewards. I remind myself to remember my adventures as I piece the puzzle of my past. I have to remember that even the traumas have hidden blessing. All blessings begin within.

I look back now on all the adventures of my life with gratitude, instead of regret. I have let go of resentments and learned to forgive instead of hate.

The most difficult person to forgive, was of course, myself. But finally, I can say that a few years ago, I forgave myself. Forgave myself for allowing those things to happen. Forgave decisions based on my innocence and trust. Forgave myself for choosing the path of least resistance and later repeating the mistakes over and over, until I at last learned a better way.

 My life adventures sometimes remind me of the butterfly story. You know the one where someone sees a butterfly struggling to free itself from its cocoon, and decides to help it out. The person cuts the cocoon allowing the butterfly to easily emerge to its new form. However, the butterfly is unable to unfold its winds and fly. Because it was “protected” from the struggle, it never built up the strength in its wings therefore, they were shriveled and undeveloped.

My life is like that of the butterfly which has struggled to free itself from its cocoon. My continuous struggling against my own environment has forced me to make myself stronger. Forced me to build character. Through this process, I have become a warrior in my own right.

There is not much that I have not experienced firsthand.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Way Back Network

One of my readers just shared this link with me.

"Your Way Back Experience

We at the Way Back Network consist of a group of people that have an interest in the spirit, culture, and events of the 1960s and 1970s. Members can be of any age. It is not required to have lived through the era to be a part of our community. We fuel our trips back in time with the sights & sounds of the era, personal experiences, and conversations in the group forums. We wish to promote the peace, love and kindness that was sought during the time period, so let’s be groovy with one other and don’t knock the way the other cat swings..."

Friday, September 17, 2010


 I have just begun this journey and have so many more stories to tell. But today... today - I will relish in some of the good, there has been too much hurt brought up recently.

starting with myself first.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona Beaches and Bikers.

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona

Beaches and Bikers.

The fateful beach party or the first time I was beaten and brutalized.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to see those words on this blank screen? My heart aches. My pulse quickens. My eyes tear uncontrollably. Not a memory I want to keep. Oh, no. not a memory I want to necessarily relive either. But there again is the paradox. I must purge them all. Those demons inside. Once they are out, once they are released I can put it all into perspective. I will be able to stand back and see how the years have un-warped the skewed sense of time. During trauma our minds have a funny way of distorting time. If you have ever been in an accident, you may know what I am referring to. Yes, your life does flash before your eyes in a mere few seconds. Just imagine that you are in that accident, but instead of it lasting 30 seconds, it lasts 30 minutes. Now, imagine it lasting 3 hours. As a victim of violence those 3 hours seem like more than 3 lifetimes.

Our minds have some safety mechanisms. It shuts off when the pain is too great to bear. Just like you hear those stories when people have lost a limb. The sensors turn off and all you feel is numb. Well, it is similar to that when you are brutalized. Your sensors turn off and your body becomes numb. Sometimes your consciousness even leaves your body. Sometimes you just pass out. This was one of those times, thankfully.

I was 14 years old and still living at home with my mom and dad. We were at our winter home, in Nokomis, Florida. I was still naïve, but had lost my innocence first at 7 and again at 13. Sad that this is the story that so many survivors can tell. One incidence leads to another and another and another, ad nauseam. If only I was able to see where that path was leading… if only I could have known that self destruction rarely works in the long run. But I had to numb my pain. Had to find a way to connect to someone. And was hoping that there would be no more pain. Little did I know how this would end.

Being a cute and bright teenager, I had a lot of invitations to parties. I didn’t get along with many of the other girls in town, but the boys were always friendly. I now understand how it must have been purely hormones that influenced the boys and it was instinctual territorial behavior that kept those girls from becoming friends with me. So when I was invited to a beach party by a few of the local cuties (boys) I jumped at the chance to hang out, get a lot of attention and most likely drink myself to oblivion.

I can’t remember what I told my parents, but I am sure it was a well fabricated lie. They probably did not want to deal with me, so they just convinced themselves to buy into my story. I was not easy to deal with, I am sure. I got a ride out to the open beach area south of the public beaches. It was deserted, the perfect beach for a wild party.

We pulled up and I saw the bonfire going strong. It was a December night and the night air had a bit of a chill, which was rather unusual for this part of Florida. Maybe it was my senses giving me a warning to turn back. Regardless, I did not heed the sign. There were lots of really cute looking boys and I wanted the attention from someone special. He had long blond hair which hung down to almost to his waist. His skin was bronze and fit well over his defined swimmer’s body. He must have been about 21 years old. I didn’t care, I wanted to have him pay attention to me. I was surprisingly shy, until I had indulged in some liquid courage. Thunderbird, I think it was, or maybe Boone’s Farm. Whichever it was, it was one of those disgustingly sweet, cheap drinks that bums and teens drink. The kind that tasted really rancid coming back up.

I managed to avoid any problems at the party, in spite of the fact that a bike gang rode up and joined us as the fire was dying down. They were rough and wild and a bit too “touchy”, but they were reasonably harmless compared to what happened next.

I remembered how little the police had done the  first time I had reported this type of crime. They told me to shut up, live my life and never talk about it again. But this time, I knew that creep would pay. I did shut up, lived my life and never talked about it again.

Kidnapped. Part II Innocence Lost © Dakini Verona 2010

Kidnapped. Part II © Dakini Verona 2010

Innocence lost.

Saugerties, New York. A very small town, not only in its size but in its level of tolerance. It was 1961. Me, I was 7 years old and just been transplanted from a beach city in Florida with my family. We lived in an even smaller section of Saugerties, called West Camp. The settlement of West Camp did not even warrant a traffic light. It was just a small area more rural than anywhere I had ever lived before.

As with many dysfunctional families, priorities were not quite straight at our home. Mom and Dad were in love with each other, that was quite clear to my sister and I. They were not really equipped to deal with the “problem child” I had become. I was a surprise to them. After all, Mom was 34 and Dad was 43 when I was born. They were looking forward to enjoying their golden years and then I came along and messed up all of their plans. It was no wonder that I was neglected. 

They tried to do the best they could, but as I look back, I can see that I was a hindrance. But it was that neglect that drove me to seek attention from others. So was it the chicken or the egg? Was I a problem because I was neglected or was I neglected because I was a problem? I know that each of these actually fed off of each other, so whichever came first is totally irrelevant at this point.


~to be continued~ 

Read more on Amazon


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kidnapped. Beaten and beyond - time to slay some dragons. © 2010 Dakini Verona

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona
I have been putting outing off delving into some of the darkest and painful memories of my past because of fear. Fear of unleashing the monsters lurking within. They have been trapped within the deep crevices of my mind, out of reach from conscious thought for so very long. I know I must release them. They haunt me from beyond the shadows. I pray that once they are purged from my mind, it will somehow cleanse my soul. Even if only a little, it will be worth it.  

Why do we (victims) walk around thinking we have done wrong? Why do we wear the acts against us in shame like a scarlet letter? Shouldn’t the guilty be the ones to suffer for their crimes? You would think so. However, society has led us to believe that we are responsible for all choices we make. Even those made as innocents. Even those we were led to make at the coercion of evil doers. Yes, even some that we made as naive children.

Once a decision leads you into a mistake – leads you into harm’s way, there is no way to erase the damage. The invisible scars are etched on your soul forever. You are no longer capable of making the right choices and are often led a recurring path through the darkness, with an insatiable appetite for destruction.

Dare I uncover those deep dark secrets? Dare I release the demons? Am I afraid of letting go for fear that my soul will be empty once purged? Or, am I afraid that the demons will take over my soul? I don’t know what will be worse, to keep them or let them go.

There is something inside urging me to press on. To walk through the fire to help me overcome those fears. I must look back, once and for all and come face to face with those demons so that I can conquer them and move on.

the full story and more have been published in my book

Memoirs of Dakini

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Woodstock Sound-Outs, Van Morrison and No Beans © Dakini Verona

Woodstock Sound-Outs, Van Morrison and No Beans. © Dakini Verona

1969. The year was an infamous one in the history of the era… and it was a very important year in my life.

I had just turned 15 years old and lived in a very rural area of upstate New York. Actually it was only about 100 miles north of New York City (The City) but anything even 10 miles outside of The City was considered Upstate. I didn't seem to fit in with the other kids at school, always an outsider. I could not relate to their violent ways, the small town mentality never appealed to me. I could not wait to grow up and get out of there. I had no social life with the other kids in school. I only had one friend, Carol Sommers. We had a connection which to this day, I do not understand. Maybe it was that we were outsiders to the rest of the kids our age, maybe it was just destiny that we came to be friends. Best friends. Only friends. The other kids were cruel. So cruel in fact, that I have blocked out most of what was going on in my life, just to survive.  When I was not with my only friend, Carol, I would lose myself in my music. I can not believe I am confessing to this, but the Monkees were one of my favorite groups.

Ramblings of May 29,1974 © 2010 Dakini Verona

Ramblings of May 29, 1974  © 2010 Dakini Verona


Poor lost children of the jungle
who will corrupt you next?
Your mother? Or brother?
May we not have any rest?

Sinking beyond the gutters
Reality’s lost its touch
All your innocent minds
But no one cares for a lush


Learn as I did, my son
That is, if you think you must
Remember the scars I carry
and my unfulfilled lust.

Running wild and free
How I long to be
As a mustang 
Or a goat
Strip off my mask
along with my coat

Yearn for the hills
Away from the pills
Like a baby 
Or a dog
sleep where I please
Away from the smog

Let’s dance around nude
I’m sure it’s not rude
under the sun
or the stars 
Out to the country 
Away from the bars

Alice, I will be
I’ll be as she’s free
Like the rabbit 
Or a mole
but I'll LEAP down
down, down, down that hole!

I can Never Go Back to Woodstock © 2010 Dakini Verona

I can Never Go Back to Woodstock © 2010 Dakini Verona

A little song I wrote while living in the streets in 1970.
I can never go back to Woodstock,
Never go back alone.

Never go back to the place,
That used to be my home.

On my own. Oh Yeah. Left without a home.

A big thing happened to the town,
in '69 or so,

The people they don't care now,
just trying to put on a show,
but I know - oh yeah - how they got so low.

Some money came into the town,
and greed had made its play,
No one really cares now,
No matter what they say.

On my own, oh yeah. Left without a home.
Got no home. Oh Yeah. So I'm left to roam.

I'm roaming 'round the county,
trying to find myself a home.

Feeling very lonely, but I got no place to go.

On my own, oh yeah. Left without a home.
On my own, of yeah. Left to roam.