It was 1965.
The world was filled with the promise of change.
At least that is what all the teen magazines and the television talked about.
Well that wasn't true either.
My mother's version.
The television often put down the young people who were exploding on the world with a vengeance. Called them naive.
"Mama, why do they have to be so ugly to kids on the t.v. and papers?"
"Bobby Sue, you will understand when you you are older, dear. And don't be calling them ugly. they are only telling the truth."
They were fueled by music that demanded change. And more was to come. Dylan. Bob Dylan. My mother loved him. Listened to his words as if he was the new messiah, Jesus came back and preaching to the young masses with the Mother Mary/Joan by his side. At least this time he was able to get a girlfriend.
My mother. Young,15 or 16. Long straight hair. Braided. Free flowing. What ever hit her fancy.
What didn't hit her fancy was being where she was. Kentucky. Small farming town with a lot of hateful talk against the things she admired. Boys from England. Young music makers who talked directly to her. She envisioned herself a movie star. She would settle for television if she had to.
California. That was the place to be. Where the sun always shined and someone would surly saw her for the star she really was.
She saved for years. Since she was 13. All the money people gave her for birthdays and Christmases. You know, they have no clue what to get teens today. She would con boys into buying her presents later. She hadn't spent her own money since her breasts grew in.
In 1965 she left in the middle of the night. She walked to the transition and boarded a train going west with a million of dreams in her head and $39.56 in her pocket. Clothes she had a few.
Reality of California struck her about 8 hours after she got there. Every teenager that ran away seem to come here. All with stars in their eyes. And at every train station and bus terminal there seem to be dirty old men waiting for them. Offering them jobs. Jobs that only a dirty girl would take.
She might have been suckered by one of them if she had not meet a woman on the train. She was from New york. Not the city but the state. She was in her twenties. She had been to college. She was a career woman. Her clothes were like those fancy clothes in the fashion magazines. Fitted like Jackie Kennedy and Doris Day wore. Her name was Sandra, She was heading west to get her little sister.
Her sister ran away a few years back, she was the same age as my mother when she did. Those dirty old men found her quick. She ended up in the blue movies she had heard about. She ended up selling her body to old men for a another old man's pay. She was kept on drugs so she could bear it all. Some guy found her fetching, felt bad for her. She was the same age as his daughter. He saw her a few times. Got to know her. Finally got her parent's number.
At this point you might ask, " Why did they send another daughter out to the land of lost daughters?" It was simple. What she had become was more than they could bear. They were a proper family. Things like this happened to other's family. Ones who's parents did not raise their children right. Ones who didn't give enough discipline. Not to families like theirs. They had one daughter who was successful, though unmarried, proving their ability to parent correctly. They wrote their youngest daughter off 2 weeks after she left.
Sandra was there when the phone call came. She was there when her parents hung up saying to the man on the other side their daughter was dead. She was there 10 minutes later when the phone rang again and her parents to busy consoling each other to notice the phone rang once. She took the info and told her parents the whole ordeal was too much and she was going on a two week vacation to Montreal with her girlfriend from school and roommate.
My mother heard the story of Sandra's sister. She begged my mother, Bobbie Sue, to go back to her home in the small town Southern America. She begged her to finish growing up there. To go to college if she wants to leave home for better things. She told Bobbie that there were greater freedoms there than being 15 and alone in Southern California.
But she had a million dreams in her head and would not be swayed. Sandra gave her $50 more dollars. She said to get a room somewhere while Bobbie looked for a job. She told her to keep it some place safe. Someplace hidden on her body. She also gave Bobbie her phone number in case of emergency. Sandra tried to get Bobbie's parents phone number, even her last name, but Bobbie was too smart to let her call her parents.
Bobbie got off the train. She avoided all the traps set for the young runaways at the train station. One man was very instant until Sandra came over and told her "Don't talk to strangers!"
"Yes Auntie," was her response. they all backed off her after that. She wasn't a runaway. She was a young woman with her aunt. No easy pickings.
Shortly outside of the train station they parted ways.
Bobbie first went to the movie studios asking the guard to go in for her audition. That worked out as expected. With all those big guards telling her to go home it didn't kill her dreams. Well only a few of them. But she started with a million so she had plenty to spare. The last studio she tried Rock Hudson drove up as she was trying to convince the guards. She started unbuttoning some of the top buttons of her blouse.
"Honey, all the women here have them and you are waisting them on him. " He smiled and gave them a wink as he drove on through.
She had no idea what he was on about but it was the first time she ever tried had to use the power of what God and Jesus had given her and had not worked. She looked around and saw all the pretty young girls. Everywhere. Most with what she had and more.
The dinner. The dinner where that starlet was discovered. She went there.
She sat and sat. She ordered things and ate slowly. Slowly sipped at her fountain drink.
Hours passed and every time they talked about throwing her out she ordered something else. She was sitting near the window. Just waiting to be discovered when she saw Sandra. She was walking on the street with a woman. She was very thin, she was very warn. She seemed older than Sandra. She realized as she choked on her drink that was her little sister. The girl who is 2 years older then herself. That was when her dreams died from the epidemic of reality. She had to start a massive grave in her mind. She realized she should follow Sandra to safety.
She paid the waitress for the last drink, turned and grabbed her bag and ran out the door.
She burst onto the street.
They were gone.
And that was how my mother ended up in California.