Hop Heads

It was a hot summer’s day. I put on the Jimi Hendrix LP my brother & I had chipped in to buy. I was trying to play my flute along with the wild music of “Stone Free.”

After just one song, Dad came down to the den and told me to turn the volume down. It was up to 11! 

That guy is a genius but like every jazz musician, he’s a hophead. All great musicians get on drugs or become alcoholics.”

Why, Daddy?”

Their brains run too fast. They need drugs to cool themselves down. Like Poe took laudnum.”

If Hendrix is a genius, why can’t I listen to him? I’m trying to play along.”
I held up my silver Bundy. I aspired to become a first chair flautist in George J. Horan’s symphonic band.

You can play anything you put your mind to but don’t get on drugs like him.”

Dad went back upstairs to read the Washington Post. I thought about being born a genius musician or writer & getting addicted to drugs & alcohol. I was fifteen. I had never drunk a whole beer. Bob & I tasted leftover cocktails while cleaning up our parents’ party messes. But we both made horrible faces and wondered how the heck grown-ups could stand such putrid stuff.

So I went outside, wandered into the woods and played my flute as I strolled through the oaks, maples & summer flowers. Notes came to me from trees, sky and birds. I was lost in music. Stone Free. I needed no friends, nothing but my flute and Mother Nature.

Author: dixiewriter

Due to my father's job as an explorer/cartographer, my family moved 48 times before I turned 13. We lived where Dad worked: on mountain tops (in park ranger cabins), in deserts, swamps, along coastlines from Maine to Key West & other wild places. My father mapped parts of Antarctica, living there for 8 months in 1961-62. A mountain peak & a glacier are named after him (William C. Elder, USGS) As an adult, I helped Lars Eric Lindblad (then president of World Wildlife) find out about the migration path of Silverback gorillas (from Tanzania into Kenya). On my information, he chose to move Lindblad Travel's photographic safari camps to accommodate these wonderful creatures. I got a Jimmy Carter grant to teach after I graduated from Madison College. Grantees had to sign up to teach for at least a year in a severely impoverished school anywhere in America. I taught for 3 & 1/2 years in SW Virginia near Bluegrass Central (Galax, VA). I taught 7th-9th grade English, Drama, Journalism. I was the forensics coach. Moved to Connecticut & worked for Lars Lindblad, typing up the manuscript for his autobiography, working with Liz & John Fuller on this book. (They co-wrote "Ghost of Flight 415" & other books about unusual phenomenon. Moved to Colorado in 1982. Worked as "gal friday" for 12 detectives at the Boulder Police Dept. Set up files for DA to use in court amongst other things. Then at a law firm. Next, CU/Boulder for 10 years. At CU, workers could take a free course each semester. So I did 5 Master's levels courses in special ed' & many in creative writing/history/religion & other subjects at the Master's level. I taught "Drama for the Disabled" in Boulder, CO after the teacher had to quit due to health issues. It was wonderful! My last 7 years working, I helped adults/teens/children with various brain differences such as autism. I was diagnosed at age 45 with 3 types of seizures, manic depression (atypical, rarely depressions, mostly manias), OCD & PTSD. At age 67 (!!) this diagnosis was changed. The manias are most likely due to temporal lobe "disturbance." The other symptoms are due to "high functioning" autism or Asperger's. Shock!! I do Tai Chi 3x/day which helps me to calm down. My husband & I work out at a gym 3-5 times/week for balance mostly but also weight training, running etc. We climb the beautiful Rocky Mountain High places (like Long's Peak & Maroon Bells) in summertime/autumn. We love archaeology, so when we travel, it's in order to discover ancient sites. My husband is an actor with a "day job." He has performed in shows with Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof, the road show), Dick van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder), Firesign Theatre/John Goodman/Annette Bening et al. (Wizard of Oz/radio show) & many other wonderful people since age 14. We have traveled to: Iceland, Scotland (twice), Germany (3 times to visit friends), Ireland & fascinating places in America. We usually spend a month when we travel. So we go about every 5-6 years. Otherwise, we stay at home in a town in Colorado, attending Poetry sessions, working in local theater, enjoying our shelter rescue cats, writing, painting & dancing.

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