People ask me all the time what it was like growing up as wild hippy gypsy child of the Sixties with a Playboy Bunny for a mom. “It almost seems surreal—like it was somebody else’s life—and not my own,” I often tell them.
It’s hard to compare to an average life, as ours was more like a modern-day version of a Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer story. When I think back about it and our greatest adventure hitch-hiking on the interstate highways and byways of the USA, I can only imagine how it must have felt for Huck and Tom in their day as their greatest adventures were carried aloft on the swift and powerful Mississippi River.
Just try to imagine for one minute being a precocious ten-year old, and along with your younger brother of nine, your fugitive mother, and a dog named Robespierre—you’re dropped off by Hell’s Angels at the last off-ramp on Interstate 8, many miles east of San Diego. All by yourselves, it’s up to you and your mom’s good looks to hitch-hike due east to Miami, Florida, and then make it to the Bahamas by boat.
Now do the same if you’re a single mother. A desperate one whose love for her two boys overwhelms her sense of right from wrong—and allows herself to kidnap her sons after she loses custody of them to her parents—for being deemed by the Dept. of Social Services as an unfit mother because of her “carefree” lifestyle. That’s the way it was in 1968.
Well, I didn’t have to imagine it! It happened during the summer of ‘68; a year without parallel in American history. A crazy year with the ongoing war in Vietnam, the sexual revolution, space race, peace and hippy movements, assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Bobby Kennedy, race riots, the Democratic National Convention, rock and roll, and drugs. It was a year that will no doubt go down as one of the most dangerous and provocative ever. Our epic journey seemed to fit in with everything else that was happening around us.
Without further ado, I recommend you strap on your reading helmet, rev up the chapters, hit the page by page throttle button—and take a trip on one of the wildest rides of the Sixties you’ll ever have. Enjoy!
Corey Lee Wilson