Wednesday, April 25, 2012


That spring in Macon-1980-was the official end of my youth. I thought that I was still in my twenties because I was not yet 30. I felt compelled to do something drastic. For the first time, I could not see what was ahead and it bothered me. I guess I wanted security or something like that. I was graduating, my biological clock was ticking, and everything was about to change.

The courtship by Bill was short and tumultuous. I was never much of a hard drinker, liked beer, and had already stopped experimenting with various substances. Been there, done that, so what. He only had a motorcycle, and we rode around town oblivious to the fact that our heroes Dwayne Allman and Berry Oakley were both killed in Macon on motorcycles. We even went to their gravesites in Rose Hill Cemetery to meditate at their memorial. We continued to hang out at the Cottage. Softball season came to a close. Bill managed to graduate, too.

We got married in Macon sometime that summer. I was determined to have all natural foods, and we found a caterer who agreed to make cakes with whole wheat flour (what was I thinking?). She agreed to do so on the condition that we bring her the flour, as she did not know how to get it. We got it from either the food coop or from the natural foods store. I had to hold a 50 pound sack of flour while riding on the back of the motorcycle to her house. Needless to say, the cake was fairly heavy, but it was passable for the wedding. I made my wedding dress for $10.00 worth of beautiful cotton linen, and did a cut work embroidery at the neckline. That was that.

Bill decided he wanted to go to the Rainbow Gathering in West Virginia. He got a car from his parents, and we went to the Three Forks of the Missouri River gathering. It was really mind blowing to see how hundreds of hippies could organize chaos, protect the water supply, engineer sanitation and feeding, provide security, and effectively handle garbage, including clean up of the site after the festival. There was so much richness there. Music, arts, healing, drumming, cooking, child care, education, color, fun and all in a beautiful mountain setting.

We did some work demolishing a barn for the man whose land was used to access the National Park where the gathering was held. Our friend stepped on a nail and had to be taken to the ER in the nearest town when his foot became infected. We rode with him to the ER since I was a nurse. On the way back, we came across a very bad accident in the middle of nowhere so we had to stop to help. The fellow had run off the rode down a very steep embankment. The nurse, me, was again summoned to help. We had to scramble down the steep wooded hillside, and then found the man was unconscious. I knew to secure his neck, and was able to do so with some effort, so that we could walk him out to a railroad bed where we handed him off to the paramedics. That was a pretty weird episode.

I did enjoy the Rainbow Gathering, and am pretty sure that that was where my daughter was conceived. Especially since I had been given a special fertility dress to wear by my friend Mary!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More About Macon

My major at Mercer University was called "Community Health Education". As I wrote before, my classes were great fun. I did a 9 month internship at the Public Health Department, because that was the only thing my advisor could think to do with me. I really did enjoy my time at the Bibb County Public Health Department. I started teaching prenatal health classes, and worked with girls and women in the birth control clinic and the school where they sent all the pregnant teens. There were no teaching materials, so I made them. There was no curriculum so I wrote it. I loved teaching nutrition. I threw out the usual food groups and did a color system that was much simpler. I tried to get the health department to get rid of the junk food vending machines. I rode my bike to school. I was all about being healthy.

One of the things that was so sweet about the prenatal clinic was the baby clothes that were made by some women in Macon. Each mother got a little knitted blanket, a onesie, a sleeper, a hat, a washcloth and towel. The clothes were an incentive to come in early for prenatal care.

The director of the facility was nice enough- she was a middle aged woman with an MPH named Jackie. She was always going on about fluoridation. She had campaigns for everything. For my senior project, she asked me to organize and direct a health fair. Boy, was I excited about that! I was going to include all the new and wonderful alternatives I had been learning about. She told me to have the first meeting, and gave me the names of people in the community to contact. She made a point of saying that NO chiropractors were to be invited to participate. Hmm, I thought. This could be tricky. But happily I realized that as long as I excluded chiropractors (to keep the MDs happy), I could include any other weirdness that I wanted. So of course I invited Mary to set up a display of wheat grass, tofu, soysage, and various herbs and potions. It was wonderful.

During that Spring, I started playing softball for the Cottage Cheese. We had so much fun at practice. Games not so much. I played first base because I was tall. I had played a lot of ball as a kid so I did enjoy playing. I was not a great player but at least I knew all the rules of the game and could hit the ball. I wish I was a real writer and could say more about the women on that team. We were all the most rowdy women that hung out at the Cottage in the 25-28 age group. I really like those girls- they were tough and fun. They knew how to have a good time and they did not take anything seriously. Our coach was the typical movie plot drunk who was washed up from some former seemingly legitimate gig, and ended up coaching a bunch of barmaids.

A fellow named Bill had been in my Existentialism and Phenomenology class earlier in the year. He saw me at one of the games and I guess decided to pursue me. I remember vividly the day after one of our games, I saw him come walking up in the parking lot of our apartment building. He said he wanted to borrow something. He came in and wouldn't leave.

At the time, Phil and I had a roommate named Kerry who was a wonderful friend of Phil's. Kerry was very gifted artistically and we always got along great. We made some beautiful cards by carving a design Kerry did and then stamping the paper. I loved that. I remember Kerry and Phil's reaction to Bill breaking up our happy home. They were not impressed. I was about to graduate and had no clue what to do next. Bill filled the void with the magic words: Children!