A Surprise for Me!

I’ve been writing posts about events that make me laugh, although this post will fall more into the ironic category than the humor one.  But the irony is what makes it funny.

Al and I were married on September 12,1971 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The person that conducted the ceremony was Reverend Delbert Gault. He was the youth minister at my mother’s church in West Palm Beach, Florida. I had attended that church during my last two years of high school.

We went to one of the services at GLIDE Memorial Methodist Church before our ceremony. Glide is a special type of church, in no way a “normal” one. It came to be known for bringing together LGBTQ+ (this was the early 70s so that was not the name of the group then), hippies, the homeless and other counter-culture communities.

Glide was in the hotel district which was in the Tenderloin, a poor part of San Francisco. I used to enjoy watching the bewildered looks on the faces of people from the hotels when they realised this was not going to be a normal Methodist service. It was a celebration of life that included singing and dancing.

The lines to get into the church regularly went around several city blocks. Every spare space in the church was filled.  People even sat in the windowsills. What I remember about the service that we attended on the day we were married is that Roberta Flack sang, and Quincy Jones played the piano for her.

Although it was historically a United Methodist Church, at some point they must have disassociated because Methodist was removed from the name of the church.

After our wedding ceremony in the park, we had a potluck dinner.  At that time, Jane Fonda, who happened to be in the park, holding a child on her shoulders, came up to us and wished us well. It had been a magical and exciting day.

We moved to Seattle after the wedding (I had been living in Oakland since I graduated from college… but that is a story for another day). We were together for 7 years and during that time we had 2 beautiful children that as adults became known as Satvamrita (the name he was given when he was initiated as a brahmachari-monk) and Chaitanya (the name she was given when she asked Amma to name her)

Three years after our separation, I attended a workshop. As I listened to the guest speaker, I realized I had been passive about getting a divorce.  So, I prepared and turned in my divorce papers soon after I returned from the workshop. 

By then we had been married for 10 years. I discovered that because we’d been married that long, I would be eligible to receive the difference between his amount of social security benefits and mine after he died. His administrative job with the City of Seattle certainly paid more than what I made as a nurse psychotherapist.

For years, I had expected that I would get the difference between our amounts of Social Security added to mine. He worked with the Social Security office so that everything would be done ahead of time. That way, all I would have to do is call the Social Security Administration office and I would start receiving the new monthly allotment. Regardless of his preparatory work, I discovered after he passed in January 2022, that I would have to apply for the extra income. I wondered what additional “red tape” I would have to do.

My daughter, Chaitanya volunteered to look for the original copies of the marriage and divorce certificates and found the marriage certificate eventually in the Alameda County records.  But much to her and my surprise, we found that King County Superior Court had no records to support that our divorce had ever occurred.  I realized that I must have turned in the papers, but I didn’t know I was supposed to follow through with anything further. Chaitanya eventually said to me, “Are you sure you two were ever divorced?”

So, I had been married for 50 years instead of 10, and now I was a widow instead of a divorcee. My adult kids and I thought it was funny and Al would have too. Luckily the Social Security staff also laughed or else they might have put up some roadblocks to increasing my monthly check.

Al, our friend Jagati and me having lunch outside during the COVID pandemic. (That’s why we are sitting six feet apart and maskless.)

Before he died, Al and I would spend time together.  I would go over his place to watch Seattle Seahawk games.  By the time he passed, we were talking to each other every day.  I know that he was sad that he was in no shape to help me. He had had multiple sclerosis for almost 40 years by then and heart problems for 20 years. He had no idea how much his daily calls helped me. Even I didn’t know until they were no more. At some point during that time, I had a dream that we had remarried but I told only a few people about that. I was glad that I was no longer angry, but I was not willing to go that far in reconnecting! In the end, we all got a good laugh at the circumstances.

Song Lyric Sunday: Leaving on a Jet Plane

The first song that came to my mind when I heard that the Song Lyric Sunday direction for this week was to post a song that is associated with a happy memory was Peter, Paul and Mary’s Leaving on a Jet Plane. I saw them perform in an outdoor amphitheater sometime after I moved to Seattle in the late sixties. I think the concert was held in southern Washington. Even though I don’t remember when or where I saw them, it is a treasured memory.

Leaving on a Jet Plane was written in 1966 by John Denver. Peter, Paul and Mary started singing it in 1967. The song became their biggest hit.


All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go
I’m standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

But the dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn
Taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome I could cry

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

There’s so many times I’ve let you down
So many times I’ve played around
I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing

Every place I go, I think of you
Every song I sing, I sing for you
When I come back, I’ll wear your wedding ring

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time let me kiss you
Then close your eyes, I’ll be on my way

Dream about the days to come
When I won’t have to leave alone
About the time, I won’t have to say

Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Leavin’ on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Leavin’ on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Stylish- That’s Not Me!


I couldn’t resist answering the WordPress Daily Prompt that just showed up in my email inbox. The directions were to write a post on the one-word prompt: Stylish.

Stylish I am not. At least 90% percent of the time, you will find me wearing jeans. I don’t even own a dress any more and I only have two or three skirts. I don’t know the exact number because I rarely wear them. And I almost never buy new clothes. My big purchase this year was two pairs of new jeans!

I don’t believe in saying never, but I’d say the chances of me ever becoming stylish is pretty close to never. And I’m okay with that. 🙂

Song Lyric Sunday: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)



The direction for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to choose a song that relates to a city, state or town. For me that city is San Francisco, and my song is San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear a Flower in Your Hair).

Continue reading “Song Lyric Sunday: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)”

Song Lyric Sunday: Black Boys/White Boys



I was a bit surprised when I discovered that the theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday was sex. I thought that would be a tough one for me to participate in as I didn’t think I knew any songs about sex, but that belief quickly turned out to be wrong.

Yesterday, I posted two songs about hair, my own (Sixty-eight Years of Hair) and a reblog of my son’s (Nearly Forty-two Years of Hair.) My friend Kathie from ChosenPerspectives used a video clip from Hair in her comment to my post. The songs from that musical are an important part of my history and I love them. I had no doubt I could find a song fitting for this week’s challenge in that play.

Hair: the American Tribal Love-Rock is a musical about the 1960’s hippie counterculture and sexual revolution. It was controversial for it’s depiction of drug use, irreverence for the American flag, profane language, racially integrated cast and ending nude scene. It opened off-Broadway in 1967 and on-Broadway in 1969. That version ran for 1750 performances. There have been many other productions of the Hair musical in the U.S. and Europe since then.

I attended the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970 and the cast from Hair performed there. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching a production of Hair  with a friend in Seattle 8-10 years ago. I had forgotten about the nude scene at the end so that was quite a surprise!

The songs I have chosen for this Song Lyric Sunday are Black Boys and White Boys.

Black Boys Lyrics

I’ve got, baby
I’ve got, baby
I’ve got, baby…
Black boys are delicious
Chocolate flavored love
Licorice lips like candy
Keep my cocoa handy
I have such a sweet tooth
When it comes to love
Black boys are delicious
Mocha mousse, hot fudge
Maple syrup plenty
Hot brown sugar daddies,
They are my desert trays
When it comes to love
Once I tried a diet
Of quiet, rest, no sweets
But I went nearly crazy
And I went nearly crazy
Because I really craved for
My chocolate flavored treats
Black boys are nutritious
Black boys fill me up
Black boys are so damn yummy
They satisfy my tummy
Black boys are delicious
Raisins in the sun
Black, black, black,
Black, black, black,
Black, black,
Black boys!


White boys are so pretty
Skin as smooth as milk
White boys are so pretty
Hair like Chinese silk
White boys give me goose bumps
White boys give me chills
When they touch my shoulder
That’s the touch that kills
Well, my momma calls ’em lilies
I call ’em Piccadillies
My daddy warns me stay away
But I say white boy come on and play
White boys are so groovy
White boys are so tough
Every time that they’re near me
Just can’t get enough
White boys are so pretty
White boys are so sweet
White boys drive me crazy
Drive me indiscreet
White boys are so sexy
Legs so long and lean
Love those sprayed-on trousers
Love the love machine
My brother calls ’em rubble
That’s my kind of trouble
My daddy warns me “no no no no”
But I say “White boys go go go go”
White boys are so lovely
Beautiful as girls
I love to run my fingers
And toes through all their curls
Give me a tall
A lean
A sexy
A sweet
A pretty
A juicy
White boy
Black boys!
White boys!
Black boys!
White boys!
Mixed media


A New Sanctuary

My friends, Yashas and Ramana, and I have been meeting occasionally to practice and sing bhajans (devotional songs). This past Friday, Yashas asked if we could sing outside in a beautiful place when we met on Sunday. What came to my mind was a public beach or in my back yard with neighbors looking on. While I liked the idea of being outside, I was not up for being in a public space, so my first reaction was not positive.

Later, I began to think about the lot behind my house. That space would be much more private but it is filled with blackberries, ivy and morning glory vines. As I pondered that possibility, I remembered there used to be a secluded area under a cedar tree in that lot. I decided to see what that space looked like now.

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It turned out there were actually two cedar trees, standing side by side.  Most of the area was sloped but not all of it.  We would be able to play the harmonium and sing there once we cleared out the dead branches and some blackberries.  In time, we could even invite others to join us.  The neighbors might be able to hear us singing but they wouldn’t be able to see us.  That mystery could be fun for everyone.




My hope was that we would be able to see a tree I consider majestic while we sang,  (I have since discovered that it is an alder tree and rather than being one tree with four trunks, it is actually two trees, each of which has two trunks.)


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The next day, Yasas helped me with the clearing.  We sawed off dead branches, cut down a few blackberry vines and generally cleaned up the space.  We placed some of the leaves on the ground to sit on.



Sunday afternoon, I built a small altar.  Finding a level place where it wouldn’t fall over was tricky!


When Yasas and Ramana arrived, we sat in the new sanctuary and sang and talked for three hours.  We had a wonderful time.


And this was our view!


When I sent some of these pictures to Sreejit (my son), he commented that we looked like pagan hippies.  Hmmm.  Well I still treasure the hippie part of me (A Hippie and Proud of It), and my love of Nature is ever increasing.  I will accept that label!

I suspect I will spend many more hours in this new sanctuary.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

These are the treasured photos that come to mind when I think of the phrase “Express Yourself.”









This post was written for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Challenge directions:

Today, we challenge you to show us what “express yourself” means to you. It could be the delightful, gummy grin of a baby grand-nephew, a message of love written with a biplane in the sky, the clenched fist of anger and frustration, or even a lunch with an attitude. This topic is wide-open and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Have fun!

A Hippie and Proud of It

One weekend during the mid 80’s, I was a client in a psychotherapy intensive. Early on in the intensive, one of the therapists asked us to divide up into three groups depending on whether we tended to take rebellious, over-adaptive (I.e. tendency to do what pleases others), or victim attitudes. I immediately joined the over-adaptive group.

The therapist, who was considerably shorter than me, walked close and looked up at me. “Who do you think you are kidding?” she said. I was surprised, because over-adaptive seemed like a reasonable choice to me. She then started rattling off a list of things I had done during my life. Hmmmm …. when I thought about it from that perspective, I realized she was right. I marched over to the “Rebellious” group.

I grew up in a military family where I spent a good part of my life in my room pouting. Another big chunk I spent with my nose in a book. When it was time to leave home to go to college, I picked Seattle Pacific College (SPC), a tiny conservative Christian school in Seattle, Washington. It turned out to be way more conservative than I was. Some rules were of no concern because I didn’t do the behavior anyway; no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking, for example. In addition there was to be no dancing or card playing on or off campus, and no pants were to be worn on campus except on Saturdays or when we were in our dorm. Permission to go to movie theaters had just recently been granted.

We had to live in the dorm at least a year. The first quarter our curfew was 8:00 p.m.; after that it was 10 p.m. I really enjoyed dorm life. I remember we played a lot of pranks on each other, like short sheeting our friends’ beds and putting shaving cream under doorknobs.

When the time came that I was allowed to live off campus, I did. I moved into an apartment with one of my former dorm mates. The incident I remember most clearly about that period was when I invited a boyfriend over to my apartment for Sunday lunch. Shortly thereafter, I received a call to come to the office of the Dean of Students. When I presented myself there, he confronted me for having had a man in my apartment. I remember he said, “My dear, we don’t even allow our engaged students do that!” I couldn’t believe it was against some unknown rule to invite someone over for Sunday lunch. My resentment towards the college took a big leap.

I became more and more disillusioned as we entered into the period of the civil rights and Vietnam War protests. I judged that students and faculty had their noses buried in their Bibles and had no interest in things that were truly important. At some point, I discovered the First Avenue Service Center, a place where homeless and poor people could gather during the day. The Center gave them the opportunity to be off of the streets, have friends to talk to, play cards, do their laundry and have meals. I became a volunteer in that center and it became a major part of my life. The homeless taught me to play double-deck Pinochle and I loved it. I spent hour after hour enjoying the company and the game even though I knew playing cards was against the school rules.

My fellow students couldn’t understand what I was doing. One told me, “I wouldn’t even take a bus on First Avenue. My mother obviously raised me different than yours.” I retorted either aloud or in my head, “I doubt it!”

I wasn’t content seeing the people only in the Center; I began to socialize with them outside of the Center as well. I loved being part of their lives. Except in one instance, I never felt in any danger.

I was so excited about the life I was living and the people I was meeting. I remember writing my mother and saying “Oh Mom, I’m having so much fun. I’m meeting and getting to know ex-cons, drug addicts, drag queens and other interesting people. It is wonderful!” Needless to say, my mother did not share my attitude. I was upset and shocked when I received a phone call or letter back from her saying that she was sending me a plane ticket home. I knew I wasn’t going to go home but I don’t remember how that scene played out. Whatever the process, the result was that I stayed at SPC.

I was definitely putting my mother through the wringer though. In later years she would say, “You were just fine until you went to college.” During this period of my college years she would get a notice that I was on the Dean’s list (i.e. honor roll) one quarter and on probation the next. Once she even received a letter saying there was a warrant out for my arrest. That even shocked me. It made no sense whatsoever. When I investigated, I discovered it was due to an unpaid traffic ticket, but the officials hadn’t bothered to put that information in the letter.

At some point I moved back in the dorm. That meant I had to deal, or as it turned out, not deal, with the college dorm curfew. If we weren’t in by the time the curfew came, we were locked out. With my new life style, I wasn’t always back in the dorm by 10:00 p.m.

As an aside, let me say that Al, the man I would eventually marry, arrived in Seattle in 1968 on the day that Bobby Kennedy was shot. I met him when he also became a volunteer at the Center. We never dated until I moved to Oakland after graduating from SPC, but he became my best friend during those years. There were numerous times when we sat at the waterfront all night talking because I couldn’t get back into my dorm. I really appreciate that he helped keep me protected during that period of my life.


During those years, I started wearing a headband and moccasins, taking on the hippie image that I still identify with today. I consider that headband to be my most prized possession from my childhood and young adult years. When I called Al yesterday to ask for help in figuring out some of the timeline for this post, he commented that I didn’t wear the headband very long because a boyfriend I had at the time objected. He went on to say that I wore the moccasins for a very long time, in all kinds of weather. I remember wearing them walking the three miles from SPC to the Center in the snow! I recall the headband as being a very significant part of my life, however, so maybe I wore it before I met Al and/or after I later moved to California. I don’t remember. But I do know it was, and is, an important symbol from my time growing up.

20140628_083124This was a time period when a program called Urban Plunge was developed. The goal of Urban Plunge is to give students “a personal experience that will equip them to engage the homeless population with empathy and compassion.” The groups of students left the comfort on their homes and engaged with the homeless over a five-day period. They spent the night in church basements. I thought about taking the Plunge and then realized I didn’t need to. A good part of my life at that time was an “Urban Plunge.” [A few years after I moved to California, I learned that Seattle Pacific had started sending nursing students to train at the First Avenue Service Center. When I googled Urban Plunge as I was writing this post, I not only discovered that it still exists, but also found that the Seattle Chapter is sponsored by Seattle Pacific University! Oh how times have changed……]

While I can’t place them on a timeline, I know I had many other experiences during these years. I spent time in San Francisco, especially in the Haight-Ashbury district, land of the hippies. I loved it. I think it might have been there that I stayed a night or two in a Salvation Army Shelter. I was never part of the sex, drugs and rock and roll aspect of the hippy lifestyle, that was not me, but I was into having as many life experiences as possible. I particularly loved hanging out in Golden Gate Park with the drums playing and everyone dancing.

haight ashburySeattle Pacific College could not offer the Psychiatric or Public Health portions of the nursing curriculum in those years, so the SPC students attended the University of Washington for two of the last three-quarters of their undergraduate program. I decided to move into a commune in the University District. I found I loved the community life style.

When it was time for me to take my last quarter at SPC however, my chosen residence became an issue.  Returning students who were living off campus had to sign a form agreeing to not having men in their homes. (As I reflect back on it, I wonder if they added that statement to everyone’s contract after I had made the earlier “mistake” of serving lunch to my boyfriend in my apartment!) I was in a dilemma. If I told the truth school officials would be upset. But I wasn’t willing to lie. I told them I couldn’t sign that contract because I lived in a commune and of course men lived there. They gave me an immediate ultimatum; move out of the commune or leave school.

As much as it was tempting to make a political statement by leaving school, I was too close to finishing to take that self-destructive move so I moved out of the commune. I still stayed in rebellion though. When I left the commune, I moved into a small room in a house north of SPC. Living alone was also against the SPC rules but at that point I didn’t care.

Instead of living in a bustling community, I was now living alone, eating hamburgers at Dicks Drive-in and whatever I could take out of a can and cook on a hot plate in my room. Soon I would be able to leave the school and its rules behind.

When I graduated in 1970 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, there were no nursing jobs available in Seattle. Boeing was on strike and the wives of the Boeing men had to go back to work. Many were experienced nurses so they were hired for the available jobs.  As a result, I moved to Oakland and started working at Highline County Hospital.

In Oakland, I continued having a myriad of experiences. I went to San Francisco frequently. I spent time listening to the drums in Golden Gate Park. I attended church services at Glide Methodist Memorial Church, a church that brought people from all the life styles together. (Their services were a major celebration of life.) I remember going to some Black Panther meetings in Oakland or Berkeley. This was a time of great turmoil and change in the United States. It was also the time when I started dating Al, so driving back and forth between Seattle and Oakland became regular events in both of our lives. My life was full, and happy.

I think I will end my narrative with a memory that is so important to me. I don’t know when it happened but I remember the impact on me when the father of a friend of mine said, “You are one of the true hippies.” While it is not a matter of good versus bad, right or wrong, I knew there were differences in those that called themselves hippies.  I was not interested in drugs and partying.  I believed he was acknowledging my willingness to immerse myself into experiences and into the lives of others, to be of service, to be an agent of change, and to being a bridge between communities. All of those have continued to be themes throughout my life. In fact, I consider them to be my purpose in being here in this world. I knew his comment  was meant to be a complement and I took it that way.

I still have my headband, and have worn it from time to time in plays. I even wear moccasins every now and then!

Two years ago I went to my friend Marla’s 50th birthday party. We were asked to wear costumes.  I, of course, chose to be a hippie. I decided to make a fancy headband for the occasion, but it was still a headband.

My friend Vince and me

I was, and in some ways still am, a hippie…. and I’m proud of it.


Written for Writing 101 Assignment #20 :  Write a long post about something you  Treasure