Monday, March 4, 2013

An interview with Randy Starr's wife

Here at the blog we have been fortunate to have been invited to interview stuntman Randy Starr's wife. For the purpose of posting the interviews she has asked that we refer to her as Windy Bucklee.  Windy first arrived at Spahn Ranch around 1963 and went by the Windy name at that time.  Windy is a Native American Indian who has lead a varied and sometimes tragic life.  When young, in the 1940's, she, along with many other Indian children, was taken by the government from her family and placed in an Indian boarding school.  The government thought at that time this was the best way to assimilate the Native Americans into the white man's society and ways.  She was eventually placed with a white family in Ohio who treated her no better than an indentured servant.  Because of that she ran away at the age of 16 and never looked back.  At the time she ran away Montie Montana's Wild West Show was in the area and she was able to find work and a way to leave Ohio with the show.  Windy worked for Montana across the US ending up in southern California in the mid to late '50's.  She briefly worked for another Wild West Show which took her to the western states but those types of shows were dying out so she sought work in the many stables and ranches in southern California.

Windy is not very good with dates, it is not in the Indian culture to keep constant tabs on time in general, for that reason she has been vague at times about when certain things took place.  I have tried my best to organize her timetable by comparing it to when her children were born or some other well known event that could be looked up.  Windy had worked for a woman named Gladys Cox who took in horses that were less than desirable and turned them around to be well mannered and saleable.  Mrs. Cox was acquainted with George Spahn and his ranch having done business with him.  When Mrs. Cox became ill she arranged for Windy to work and live at Spahn.  This was in 1963 and Windy worked and lived there off and on until the ranch burned in 1970.  She did not always work full time and at times she took other jobs elsewhere.  Such was life on the ranch where people came and went with whatever opportunities seemed best in the moment.  Windy did tell me that Ruby Pearl was a constant at Spahn although Ruby gave up spending the night at Spahn when things with Charles Manson and the Family became overwhelmingly tense.

Windy met Randy Starr at Spahn around 1964, they fell in love and had a wedding ceremony up on Indian Mesa at the ranch.  Randy wore all black and rode a black stallion, Windy wore white buckskins and rode a white mare.  Windy told me that it was an Indian ceremony and I'm not entirely certain that it was a legal marriage.  Windy really did not have much use nor see the point in the white mans way and still doesn't.  Randy and Windy had a daughter in March of 1965 and named her Starlina.  Starlina was born, what Windy called a thyroid baby, and she lived only four months. After the baby died Randy was devastated and took off for his home state of Illinois for about 18 months leaving Windy behind in southern California.  While in Illinois Randy was in an automobile accident and lost the use of one of his arms.  Windy and Randy still had a bond and worked together at Spahn off and on but never lived together again. 

Sometime in 1967 Windy had moved from Spahn to a house on Gresham St. a few houses away from Bill Vance.  She knew Vance from working at Spahn, he had been a cowboy but wanted to try something else so he bought a semi truck, he had no trailer for it and was planning on getting jobs hauling other peoples trailers.  Apparently the semi was always needing repairs and he rarely used it.  At this time Windy was working for a company called New Art Publishing and Party Company full time and not working at the ranch.  She became close friends with Vance and his roommate Little Harvey.  Little Harvey was a midget who had a Bull named Elmer that he put in fairs, parades and sideshows.  Elmer was a Swiss bull with three eyes and four horns.  I kid you not!  Windy was telling at that time that part of Gresham St. and the next block were parcels with a little bit of acreage.  Kind of like ranchettes. 

Windy first met Charlie Manson in late 1967 or early 1968 at Bill Vance's on Gresham St.  She does not know how Bill and Charlie met, he just showed up there with a few of the girls and started living there along with Bill, Harvey and Elmer.  Since Bill and Windy were close friends and Bill's only mode of transportation was the semi she gave Bill a second set of keys to her truck and allowed Bill to use it while she was at work.  She never really knew when he was going to use the truck and she was fine with that as long as the truck was there when she left work.

One day while she and her daughter, from a marriage previous to Randy, were out in the truck she was pulled over by the police and questioned about where she was at certain times.  She learned from the police that there had been a number of robberies and that the license plate number of her truck matched the plate number of a truck seen at one of the robberies.  In total there had been eight robberies that they were investigating.  She was able to prove that she had been at work at the time the robberies were committed and couldn't have done them.  The police let her go but by this time she had put two and two together and knew who had done the crimes.  She did not tell the police her suspicions.  When she arrived home she went immediately to Bill Vance's madder than a wet hen, read him the riot act and demanded her truck keys back.  A couple of hours later Charlie came over to her house and asked for the truck keys back and she refused.  Charlie proceeded to beat the crap out of her breaking her jaw and causing other injuries.  She had a gun in her house that her brother had left for her, she tried to shoot Charlie three times but because she was unfamiliar with the gun and she was pretty beat up she could not figure out how to get the safety off.  Windy told me that Charlie ran when he saw she had the gun and she regrets not having shot him as she figured she could have saved a few lives down the road.   Windy ended up in the hospital for a couple of days.

Next, I will tell you Shorty Shea's reaction to Windy's beating by Manson.

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