The "Stuff that jumped off the pages at Matt" tour continues. To remind readers, this isn't necessarily a chronicle of the book. It's Lynette's facts and ideas - that either filled in gaps for me, or made me sit back and smile. You are free to add or detract as you please.
The Family is now numbered at four: Charlie, Mary, Lynette and Patty. In Sacramento they meet a poor family named the Van Deutches. It is through their stay with them that they wind up with the school bus. Their interactions are mutually beneficial. This is the first time I heard the story of how they acquired the bus.
With their hospitality, the Van Deutches gave us a rebuilt school bus, and a view inside a loving, hard-working family. I hope we gave them more than troubles.Through a couple named Peter DeLeo and "April", the girls take a foray into prostitution, but decide shortly thereafter that it's not for them.
The interaction at the Lyon St. House in San Francisco nets them motor mouth Susan and Ella Jo Bailey. During these days the girls realized that:
We had mimicked them (the thoughts of adults) and fit in to our advantage, but we also languished in their unconscious limitations of themselves. Superficially, we called it "negative programming," or "brainwashing," and it was roundly agreed that our brains could benefit from another washing.They were on the receiving end of a couple of citations because the bus was still yellow and legally still a school bus, hence the famous black paint job featuring the "Holiwood Productions 9". A short time later they discovered an available house known as The Spiral Staircase, Dianne Lake, Nancy Pitman, Didi Lansbury and Bobby Beausoleil. It was then that the art of dumpster diving was taught to them by an older man named Zeb. Lynette reminds us that "you could have fed the world with just America's garbage."
Bobby introduced them all to Gary Hinman and also a counterfeiter named Donny who furnished them with very passable fake id's made yout to their new nicknames like Ella Jo Sinder, Brenda McCann and Sadie Mae Glutz. Dianne as a precaution of her age was "married to one of the Texans".
Throughout this portion of the book, a 50-ish formerly wealthy woman named Melba comes and goes from the story. She needed broke "hippies" to clean her stables so she could keep up the appearance of still being wealthy. The kids cleaned for her for free. Manson gifted her a new Mustang and a wad of cash to help her. The story of this friendship was endearing to me.
The abandoned house on Summit Trail nets them Bruce Davis and Paul Watkins. Sandra Good arrives in April and Lynette's intro to us is a 17 page letter. On that first night was the first time she had sex with Charlie. This was the same night that Pooh Bear was born. From Sandy's letter:
..."Relax," he whispered. "I'll do it. Just lie still and let me move you." My body responded while my mind was amazed. He kept moving in a gentle dance. He made love to me for a long, long time and when he sat up, he was still hard.
... He didn't move or cry. Brenda took him and held him upside down, patting him on the back. Mary put her mouth to his, drawing fluids from his mouth and nose. Finally to everyone's great relief, he let out his first breath and a tiny cry.
... I was in a state of mild shock. Charlie's lovemaking and the baby's birth began for me a mind-blowing week that included my first acid trip.Fromme goes on to describe the "naked hippies" incident. Snake wasn't the only one to down acid rather than let it go to waste (confiscated by the police).
Charlie took whatever he was holding, it ultimately becoming responsible for an iconic mugshot of him taken at the Ventura County sheriff's substation and later published in Life Magazine.
|(Photo not taken from the book)|
...We talked back and forth, sang a little, and after the evening's exchange, Dennis outright invited us to stay. We told him about the black bus, and the many more of us, and he said to "bring them." Whoever claimed later that we had moved into Dennis' house uninvited was either untruthful or uninformed.
...Dennis spent a lot of time with Charlie, and I will never know all the things they talked about but there was good blood between them. Charlie obviously got a kick out of Dennis, and Dennis referred to him as a "wizard." After roaming the yard barefoot one morning, Dennis stepped into the room through one of its tall windows, sat down at the piano, and, for the first time since we had arrived, played some of his own music. His music was beautiful when he put his heart into it, and that's what was attractive about him, not just his body and face, but the opening that showed heart.
Charlie made up a song for Dennis, and we wrote down the words. Part of it was from a man to a woman, and part from a man to his brothers. Dennis would later talk The Beach Boys into recording the song, but someone would talk him into changing the rhythm and words, and failing to even mention Charlie.
...It would later be widely reported that we "took" Dennis for thousands of dollars, but we took only what he gave.The last page of this section was about Dennis and was especially poignant to me. I'll reproduce the entire page. Hopefully no one gets mad :)
Dennis and Charlie walked the grounds, comrades of many moods. Charlie asked Dennis if he wanted us to leave, and Dennis insisted not, but each time he declared he was going to take a vacation to travel with us, he only got wound up tighter, and, in turning, looped himself into even more commitments.
"Okay, I'll see you at 5:00," I heard him tell some-one on the phone.
I said, "Dennis, you already said you were going somewhere else at 5:00." He just shrugged and made a funny face. Wasn't he just in a big movie? He traveled the world, played before thousands who paid him for it, had girls in every state eager to lie with him or just get a scrap of paper he had touched. He meant well; what did it matter what he said? But it did, and he was perpetually agitated.
There was good reason for Dennis' dilemma. Popularity and wealth were not entirely satisfying ends to him. Surety and peace eluded him. And while most of us girls were ordinary, Charlie showed more faith in himself than even the most successful people Dennis knew. Dennis was beyond fame and money, but even in his youth he was already spent. He couldn't roam for more than a day. He was owned and operated. Peoples' investments rode upon him. He had signed the contracts long before, and he didn't have the will or the confidence to make the change. He had gained access to half the world through his company. It was a lot to give up for a soul he was unsure of.
Twice Dennis told us he would be home for dinner and the rest of us waited, and he didn't come, so the next day we left the estate and went back to the valley where the land was flat and wide, to the foothills above the smog line, to The Ranch.