There was a time when living on the streets was fashionable. People panhandled and helped each other out. Hippies became "freaks" and the freaks lived on the streets. For many, the streets had become a giant commune and the street people belonged to a large close knit family. Being 15 had its advantages...people had a natural urge to protect me and others wanted to be near me to take advantage of me, but whatever their motive, I always seemed to be "taken care of" and I was smart enough to play the game the right way. Yes, being 15 had its advantages!

My time on the streets educated me and also led me on many adventures. One road trip I took was to Washington D.C. to attend MayDay 1971. The purpose of MayDay was to protest the war and to also act as a three day festival in West Potomac Park. We camped out until the camping permit was revoked. Things quickly turned ugly. The National Guard was called out, tear gas was used and riots erupted. 8,000 thousand people were arrested and placed in RFK Stadium as a makeshift jail.

I was one of the lucky ones when the chaos began. Although I had been separated from the other people I had traveled from Boston to D.C. with, I had not gotten arrested, I had only mildly felt the effects of tear gas and I hadn't been caught in any major violence. I roamed the streets looking for my friends. I was amazed at how something so peaceful can turn violent so suddenly. I saw how divided our country was on so many things. I wondered as a walked the streets if life would ever regain any sense of normalcy. But what was normal?

As I contemplated life, the thought of the power the people held in their grasp rang loud in my head. As I walked from block to block I started pulling as many false alarms as I could to add to the overall chaos. I reflected back to that day being brought to the fire station while my father was at work. I knew today wouldn't be that way. Today, those alarms rang for the soldiers who gave their lives and the alarms cried ironically for an end to the violence. Today, I wouldn't see my father's disapproving face or be a victim of circumstance.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the passion I possess.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

1 comment:

  1. I posted this and went back to read it over. The random selection started playing Something To Believe In. For a moment, it brought a tear...and then a smile!