Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Book is complete. It has taken me almost three years from the date I started, but I am done.


Memoirs of Dakini: True Confessions of a Former Flower Child is a collection of memories, telling of my life in the streets, from the small town of Woodstock, New York, through the Lower East side of New York City, all the way to  Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue. 

Follow my true story as one of the last Flower Children.  Read about my struggles with the drug culture, loneliness, rape, suicide attempts, kidnapping, beatings, and the pain that drove me further away from the love I sought.

I first left home at the young age of 13.  I bounced back and forth from the streets until the age of 15, when my parents relinquished control and set me free.  With only a knapsack on my back and $100 in my pocket, I left home for good on that October night of 1969.  My adventures over the next 4 ½ years are detailed in this book.

I now reside in Portland, Oregon, on a mountain top retreat with my husband, two service dogs, five mischievous cats, and six Alpaca.  I am a successful association executive in the not for profit world; am a sought out speaker on business and nonprofit management as well as telling my story of survival.
Photo is courtesy of Richard Misrach C 1974 from Telegraph 3 AM.

Now available on Amazon

Kindle Version

Thursday, July 4, 2013

1969: The Day I met my idol: Janis. EDITED

1969: The Day I met my idol: Janis.

Why start in the beginning like everyone else when the middle can be so much fun? Just like eating an Oreo cookie. Open it up and lick the good part first. So, I thought I would tell my story beginning with one of the most exciting days of my life – the day I met my idol: Janis Joplin.

It was a cold winter’s night in the middle of December, 1969. There I was, standing on the street called "St. Mark’s Place"; where I hung out. It was the East Village (lower east side of Manhattan). I did more than hang out on the streets, I lived there. Most people do not understand street life; they think living on the streets means you sleep on the street. That is not always the case and it wasn’t the way it was for me. I spent my waking hours "hanging out".

Sometimes I would be panhandling; other times I would just stand and stare at the people as they walked by. Sometimes I would watch them watch me, from within the safety of their brightly colored tour buses. The gawkers and their incessant flashbulbs. We called ourselves "freaks" but everyone else called us "hippies". Didn’t they know that all the real hippies were gone? Sure, there were those that looked like the flower children of yesterday, but they were posers. We called them the "bourgeois hippies". The suburban teenagers who came to the East Village on weekends to attend the concerts at the Fillmore.

They lived in the comfort of their mommy and daddy’s homes in the suburbs and never went hungry. Their bell bottoms came from fancy boutiques, not like ours which came from the bargain bins found in Navy surplus stores.

They had money and lots of it. Those "hippies" had no clue about the ideologies embraced by those of us that lived in the subculture. They still revered the values of their parents and we – the “freaks, formerly known as hippies”- had thrown that all away. Materialism was not only rejected, it was our enemy.

So, there I was – on the streets, no place to go. How did I get there – all alone, on that street corner, in the dead of winter? What was a 15-year-old doing on the streets with no place to call home? I’ll get to that a bit later but, meanwhile, let me finish telling the story of how I met Janis.

I was standing in front of the Hippodrome with a small group of freaks. Unexpectedly, everyone around me started to whisper, "Far Out! Look! Right there. Across the street. It’s Janis!" I turned and looked. Sure enough. It was Janis. My heart stopped.

I found myself drawn to her. I just had to get closer. I rushed across the wild New York City traffic and melted into the small crowd which surrounded her. I stood back and watched in awe. Her presence was unquestionably that of the goddess she was. She had earned the title "Queen of the Blues"; even when she was not on stage she had an unmistakable charisma.

I was on the sidelines and watched her glowing aura brighten the faces of those around her on that dark and dirty street. It was like seeing a parade of light.

I began to scream from sheer joy, yet I uttered no sound. It was all inside my head. She was giggling like a little school girl – excited to have the adoration of her fans. She devoured the attention. It was then that I heard her infamous "cackle" and my knees went weak.
Janis was wearing one of her trademark coats with lots of fur on the collar and cuffs. This one also had trim down the front, which resembled those worn by Russian royalty. How appropriate that she be regally robed! 

A small man possessively gripped her arm. He seemed to be invisible, at least compared to her. A young, aspiring actor, whose name escapes me as I write this. I remember thinking that he looked like a desperate little leprechaun clutching his pot of gold. It was his lucky day too, I guessed. His only claim to fame: to walk in the shadow of a superstar. What I saw in his eyes was not what I expected. There was no love, no admiration; in fact, he seemed disturbed that she bathed in the attention she was getting. He actually looked annoyed. He wanted a taste of what she had, but it was as clear to me then as it is to me now – he was nothing. His legacy was to forever to be known to me as "the guy with Janis".

So there I stood, in disbelief. Stars in my eyes. A grin plastered on my face. My mind screamed silently, "Janis is right here in front of me!" And then. It happened. She actually looked over at me. Yes! Right at me! My face flushed and the world stood still for a moment. I could hear my heart beat in my ears, so I knew I was alive – otherwise I would have believed I had died and gone to heaven.

To my further amazement, she looked directly at me. A smile came across her lips and her eyes glinted. She nodded her head down and with a slight gesture of her hand beckoned for me to get closer to her. My brain shut down at this point and in disbelief I walked over next to her. To be honest, I almost tripped on myself as I skipped like a little girl across the street to get over to her. "Hey, chicky," she said. "How the hell are you?" I am sure I must have responded…but not for a million dollars could I tell you what it was I said. "Want a drink?" she asked, as she reached in under her wooly robes and pulled out a bottle of her trademark drink: Southern Comfort. She opened the bottle and handed it to me saying, "Here, have some."

Now at that point it could have been holy water or even arsnic water, it didn’t matter. There was no way I was going to refuse to drink whatever it was she offered. My fingers electrified when I touched the bottle, as they slightly brushed against her hand. I put the bottle to my cold lips and felt the rim warm them. She must have been carrying that bottle for some time under her coat. I slowly savored the sweet nectar of the thick swill. My tongue was instantly awake from the burn of the alcohol. I quickly swallowed and the hot glow followed the path to my gut. The burning must have been reflected on my face, because she giggled at my reaction. It was a giggle that only Janis could perform. I never took my eyes from hers (except for the brief moment I swallowed the hot liquid).

She turned to the "shadow man" to offer him a sip of the drink. He, too, came alive once she acknowledged his meager existence. Clearly, she was the star that night. Little did I know, little did any of us realize, that our precious Pearl would soon be lost. Lost to the addictions that consumed her body and soul, as is so common for all the great ones. The brighter the light, the faster the candle will burn – so they say.

Within a moment, she was gone. She disappeared as quickly as she arrived. All that remained were footprints in the snow. The lingering taste of her "drink" left its impression for a short while.

To this day, I smile fondly each time I see a bottle of Southern Comfort. Thank you, Janis, wherever you are, for acknowledging this little girl. It was one small and insignificant gesture on her part: offering a drink of swill to a cute little street urchin – but the experience itself marked my soul forever.


to read more of my stories... get my book: Memoirs of Dakini, now available on  AMAZON