It was about 1969 when Ramona and I attended a “Love-in” in San Diego’s Balboa Park. “Love-ins” was just another name for “Be-ins” and were essentially concerts in the park or maybe it would be better to say, a cross between concerts in the park and “acid tests” since many in the crowd were dropping acid. I don’t remember who played but I do know that it was a lovely day. As Ramona and I were getting ready to leave, some young swabbies started talking to us and offered us a truck for free. Apparently they were going out to sea the next day and wanted to get rid of this old milk truck. We took a look at it and immediately accepted. The only problem was getting it somewhere as Ramona had her little stick shift car and this milk truck had a stick shift.
Somehow, Ramona tried to teach me in five minutes how to drive a stick shift. I remember we needed to get gas and we proceeded very slowly but then we came to a hill and going down the hill, I must have been pressing the clutch rather than the gas and the truck was moving way to fast down the hill. Somehow, I did get into the gas station but I hit the pump and caused some minor damage. The attendant looked at us and realized they were not going to be able to get any damages from us and so they let us go on our way.
Ramona and I decided to bring a group to Los Angeles. We would drive up to Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. I was still under age so would not be able to actually get into any of the clubs like the Whiskey A-Go-Go but it would still be a fun adventure. Several blocks of the Sunset Strip were a happening place where young people converged.
Everything started out well. We got just past the nuclear power plant that is along the coast when the truck started losing speed and the engine was cutting out. We pulled to the side of the road. Some of us decided to hitchhike back to San Diego. Other’s decided to hitchhike on to L.A.. The group broke up and Ramona and I hitchhiked on to L.A. to the Sunset Strip.
We arrived safely and checked out the scene of young people. We had some joints with us and were having a good time. I believe there was a group, I don’t remember who it might have been, that we wanted to see but would have to hitchhike to another area of Los Angeles. As we were getting ready to leave The Sunset Strip, we were offered a ride by some young black men. Ramona was black and these young men seemed friendly and Ramona seemed okay with taking the ride and so I got into the front seat with the driver and Ramona got into the backs seat between two of the young men.
We were driven to some L.A. alley that was not our intended destination. Everything had seemed fine up until that point, when the car stopped and the driver leaned over with a knife to abdomen and he told me to “get out.” There was a lot of confusion and fear in that moment but I got out of the car and it sped away with Ramona in the back seat screaming. I started screaming. I was screaming louder than I had ever screamed before. Back porch lights along the alley started lighting up. Soon, a police car arrived.
I told the police what had happened and they put me in the back seat of their car. We sped around L.A. while the officer’s asked me questions about the Ramona and the young men. When they heard that Ramona was black and the young men were black, their racist mentality started becoming evident. They insisted that Ramona probably knew these young men, (doesn’t every black woman on earth know every black man on earth?) They insisted that Ramona and these young men were probably playing a joke on me, the “whitey.”
Somehow, Ramona was found” after having been raped by the young men. Of course, she was very upset but then the police, themselves, made it worse. At that point, all she wanted to do was to get out of there and so we did and we hitchhiked back to San Diego.
There would be several trials for which we had to return to Los Angeles. All the boys were caught. All were found guilty and all served time.