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   Are_You_Experienced.Hendrix

                                                                  Prologue

Spring, 1970

There was a time

when I drove up and down this country

like it was one big map

Trules 1970 Travel Map
Not much different, but VERY different, in 1970

From New York City to the Florida Keys

From Selma and Montgomery

To Hibbing and Duluth

From the Atlantic to the Pacific

From the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 61

Highway 61.Trules
Highway 61, Pre-visited

It was a different time

1970

Our country was bloodied but not yet beaten

JFK had been shot and killed, then Malcolm, then Martin, then Bobby, then more

Kennedy Assassination
The Times They Were a Changin’

There were violent race riots in the streets

Yet we still wanted to believe

We were mired in Vietnam, the first war America ever officially “lost”

But long-haired, counter-culturals like me

wanted to change the world for the good

We celebrated the Summer of Love, Woodstock, and “give peace a chance”

Summer of Love
Give Peace a Chance

Years before Jonestown, the decimating march of AIDS, the end of the Cold War, the Clash of Civilizations

The times they were first a changin’

And I wanted to see it all

Kerouac had written it, Dylan had sung it

And I wanted to stop in every city I ever heard of

To get me “some experience” like Jimmy Hendrix had challenged us

Jimi Hendrix
We all listened to The Man with the Electric Lady Guitar

Before he and Janis and Jim of the Doors all overdosed on too much of it

Sex ‘n drugs ‘n rock ‘n roll

I was in Wild Bill Hickok’s jail in Deadwood, South Dakota, on September 18, 1970

The Day Jimi went down

Deadwood
Just a stone’s throw from Mt. Rushmore

Sherriff Deadwood Dick McGraff led me into the communal day room of the jail

Where all the Indians and outlaws were huddled around a single tv

They all took one good look at me

With my long ringlets of Jewfro hair

And they let out with a simultaneous chorus of “faggot” , “hippie”, and “cut your fuckin’ hair”

I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, I mean New York

But Sherriff Dick told me I could keep it, my hair, if I “kept it clean”

Jewfro Trules
JewfroTrules, circa 1970, pre Jail

Yeah, it was a different time

Before hippies turned into yuppies turned into bobos (bourgeois bohemians) turned into hipsters turned into Millennials

Before ideals succumbed to money, succumbed to getting a job and raising a family and paying back student loans and the rent

Before Apple and Google and Facebook and Trump

Trump
Hippie Hair?

Before Reagan and Clinton, the George Bushes and the miracle of Obama

Before we stopped believing in our leaders and started watching our parking meters

Before big money bought politics and there was no 99 versus an impotent 1 per cent

Before the end of the American Empire

Or… just at the cusp

It was 1970

When I drove a blue 1964 Pontiac Tempest

1964 Pontiac Tempest
The reliable Wolfie

with a green and brown camouflage left rear fender

up and down America

When she was still the Land of Opportunity and the Great Melting Pot

When the green metal queen still welcomed the poor and huddled masses

Statue of Liberty
Miss Liberty when her torch still burned brightly

Who made up our country of immigrants

Brits and Germans and Poles and Jews

Finns and Irish and Italians and All

Even after we kicked out the Chinese who built our railroads

and interned the Japanese who were on the wrong side of another war

Long after we wiped out the natives with smallpox and broken treaties and trails of tears

Before we built xenophobic walls along our southern borders and turned back hungry refugees from our fearful shores

Syrian Refugees, 2015
The 2015 Poor, Unwelcome, & Huddled Masses

America was still great, or so we liked to believe

And I wanted to discover every bit of her

By soaking up her history and geography and dialects and foods

I wanted to meet her people and learn her songs

Songs of freedom, songs of protest, songs of the open road

Songs to, and of, myself

Walt Whitman
Songs to himself

Who was I?

What was my country?

I was 22 years old in 1970

And I had a lot to see, to learn, and to… experience…..

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Travels with Wolfie, Prologue
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