© 2022 Robert Sickles
We were so young! Green and foolish, we defied cultural norms, stood up to authority, and, idealistically, tried to live on less—to measure wealth in a different way than money and stuff. That is, to be poor by choice but rich in loving relationships and experiences.
It was early Summer of ’69 when Michaela and I made a several week trip from Seattle to LA to Boston in my 1955 Dodge panel van named "Beluga" with only $100 in my wallet. That actually covered the gas, some food and two flat tire repairs! We zigzagged across America, seeing the sights, visiting friends and relatives. But we were going to Boston on a mission: to rescue Michaela's friend Lori, who had been dumped and left broke in Bean Town by some clod named Clyde.
I had let both my driver’s license and truck registration expire and neglected a burned-out tail light. At the time, I had no permanent address and no school or job waiting for me at the end of Summer. We dressed in patched jeans and faded flannel, wore our long hair in ponytails or headbands, and preferred sandals or went barefoot. The point of all this, obviously, was to give the cops a reason to harass us and thus confirm our conviction that cops were there to harass us. You understand, right?