Outlaw. Part 1. © 2011 Dakini Verona
The first time that I can recall any run-ins with the law was when the local police in the small Upstate New York town of Saugerties would tell us to move along. We weren’t doing anything wrong; we were just a bunch of local school kids hanging out. But the police did not want us to gather. Maybe they thought we would start some kind of trouble, maybe they thought we were conspiring against the local government or maybe they thought we would riot like the rebellious students from Berkeley that they heard about.
We were not that sophisticated, in fact, the people I hung out with barely had a thought bigger than themselves. Small towns tend to breed small thinkers. The only thing we were conspiring to do was to find a way to stay out after curfew. We would be looking for dark corners or alleys where we could just hang out and get high: smoking pot, dropping pills, eating acid. Just your “normal” illegal drug activity; that is, if you consider any drug use normal. Oh, there was one other thing on the minds’ of the boys: they wanted to see if they could “cop a feel”. Big aspirations, right? Major outlaws? Never.
I found myself gravitating to the nearby Village of Woodstock. Not to break the law, but because the people there were more accepting of those that did not fit into the pigeon holes of the high school cliques. I was one of those that never seemed to fit in. I tried to, believe me. I did a lot of things that I later regretted, thinking it would help gain me acceptance in the tightly knit groups. But as you can probably gather by now, I never was able to really fit in, not in Saugerties. Woodstock was a whole new world that greeted me with open arms.
This was the Pre-Festival days, when the town was not on the map and was invaded on weekends by the successful and even not-so-successful artists and musicians. Woodstock was always a mecca for the hip. It was “The Place”. To the locals, it was known as an “Artist Colony”, which really was just a label to put on a place that had an usually high number of very talented artists and musicians.
Woodstock was known for its laid back atmosphere. Coffee houses were filled with the aroma of freshly brewed espresso. The kind that was so thick you had to dilute it with 8 spoons of sugar. The kind of coffee that “puts hair on your chest”, as my father would say. The coffee served in the commercial coffee houses of today does not for one second resemble that rich liquid.
It got to a point that the local Woodstock cops all knew me by my first name. They would actually drive up and call to me: ‘“hello Valerie, I see you are ditching school again… you know we will have to call your parents to take you home. Get in the car and let’s go, NOW!” In fact, it became a routine. Like the typical cat and mouse game. I was the kid, hiding and running from the cops (or pigs as we called them back then).
~ continued in the book ~