Advertisements

Life in a More Crime-Ridden Time

  In 1972, I needed a new registration for my first motorcycle and, since the law in Pennsylvania was that you had to be over 21 to own any sort of vehicle, my trusty Yamaha 250 was “owned” by my brother. I went into a Notary Public in West Philadelphia and told them my sad story—how my brother had hitchhiked to Mexico City to watch the World Cup of soccer and I needed to get the bike legal since I was riding 30 miles a day at 5am to a dye factory in North Philadelphia and got pulled over about once a week.

  I remember the woman behind the counter giving me a very deliberate inspection. Decision made, she pulled open the second drawer down in her desk and turned on the light bulb that was already wired in to the drawer. Then a flat piece of frosted glass came out and was placed crosswise on the drawer. I gave her the original registration with my brother’s signature and she placed it on the glass, lined up the new application, and traced the signature.

  It couldn’t have taken 2 minutes and I think I had to pay an extra 10 bucks.

  The important aspect of this tiny transaction was how it typified so much of my life in the 70’s—a time when both the government and the people simply didn’t have that much respect for the law. In Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo’s police force under was a black-leather jacketed gang that was in the process of simply killing Black Panthers. In Chester, they were a part of the McClure Political Machine—the oldest in the nation.

When I sold ice cream in South Philly, real mobsters would make sure that I was safe so that the kids on their street would get their double-scoops. I got run off the road on my bike by a car with Jersey plates and, I swear to God, the guy who got out was wearing a black patterned shirt with a black tie and dark jacket and had his .38 in a belt clip. In the end, all I had to undergo was 10 minutes of extremely inventive cursing but when I called the police, the desk officer asked if I was willing to make my name public. After about 10 seconds of thought, I said “no” and the officer just laughed and said, “Smart boy.”

I worked as a truck mechanic for the ice cream company and was paid in ice cream to avoid taxes, I watched Harley riders just walk away from police cruisers and then lose them in the turns. One of my friends from the gas station where I worked in the winters told me about how “everyone would come out and salute” when the Pagans would ride through town. He said it was “a feeling of pride.”

I hitchhiked across country once and back and forth to New York City and Florida dozens of times. I slept in abandoned motels, under cars, and just rolled in a green plastic tarp under a hedge. In the Keys, there was a campground called Fiesta Key where $5 got you a space on the grass for your tent, and all the scenery you could stand. I worked as a busboy in the old Stardust on the Vegas strip and watched as a waitress almost fainted when she spilled some glasses on the men seated in the “special table” in the corner.

 In 1973, I moved to DC and became a motorcycle courier. First off, this required going through traffic like a crazed banshee and considerable inventive lying if you got caught. One of my friends had two drivers’ licenses—his dad had made a mistake on the birth certificate—so the police were always calling and threatening one of his alter egos with jail for the thousands of dollars in fines he’d racked up. Up and down 13th and 14th Streets, the burlesque clubs, gay baths, and stripper bars were lined up and the working girls did the stroll out front. And finally, yes, Eddie the Monkey Man was real. I would see him on his wheeled board outside the downtown Woodward & Lothrup begging for money and, when he passed away, the Washington Post ran an article about how he spent his winters in Florida as the high-living owner of two hotels—even dancing in his prosthetic legs.

  It wasn’t a story or a magazine that gave me the sense of noir I try to put into my books. Life was really like that—the law and the lawless were almost in competition. J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI as his personal Praetorian Guard—judge and jury in one. That feeling of paranoia you felt in the peace movement turned out to be COINTELPRO and very, very real. Richard Nixon ran the Federal Government as an arm of his re-election committee and entire police forces were on the take.

  The public reacted with flagrant disregard of whatever laws they felt were just silly. You smoked everywhere, dope was a mainstay of every party, and you could dance all night in Adams Morgan if you knew where to go. Non-violent protests turned into riots and then real riots made the protests look like picnics. I used to fuel up my motorcycle at 3am at the station where the pimps stopped—that place had gas even in the depths of the fuel crisis.

 Oh yeah, and we were in that blessed decade between The Pill and AIDS.

Damn but it was a fine time to be young!

Advertisements

So What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

annotated audrey art

Desert Artist & Coloring Book Illustrator.

Iridescentfox

There are no foxes here

Tamara Philip, Author

Where Love blossoms...

Nostalgia Pie

Comfort food for the soul from a time when things were so much simpler...

Adventures of an author's wife

Editor and publicist for my author wife Michelle McMurrie. Michelle is transgender and wrote her current books under her previous name of Michael Pugh.

Chris Brake Show Podcast

LIVE! Every Wednesday @ 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central on StrangeLabel.com

Mindy Ogg

"To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play." ~Albert Einstein

WorldofHarley

Fun for the whole asylum!

Big Red Carpet Nursing

Fun & Progress!

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

lorellepage

Reader-to-Writer

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

Blinginitwholesale produces wholesale rhinestone apparel and hot fix crystals

Customized bling shirts and rhinestone heat transfers

tylersculinary

Tylers culinary blog

The Chalk Outline

the blog home of mystery writer Jeff Markowitz

kurtbrindley.wordpress.com/

KURTBRINDLEY★COM

Mik Mob's Music Mass

share YOUR favourite tunes with The Mob

Riley Amos Westbook

A fantasy Author with too much free time on his hands that likes to Support Indie Authors.

terry73's Blog

A fine WordPress.com site

To Boldly Go

My mission to seek the Lord and to boldly go where He leads me

pgcps mess - Reform Sasscer without delay.

Fight corruption in PGCPS. Innovate, Change and Transform - Create Transparency and Accountability Initiative.

12 Week Weight Loss Course

Losing Weight & Looking Great!

On The Heath

where would-be writer works with words

Amanda Dyer

Founder & Creative Director at Maison by Amanda Dyer & Editor-in-Chief, Living 360 Magazine & Mompreneur 360 Magazine

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Journal Edge

An online blog with highly informative, cheerful and inspirational articles for people who love travel to India with passion and make a different Lifestyle. Vikas Acharya is the founder and managing editor at Journal Edge Online Blog. Contact me to find out how I can help you create high-quality blog content, lead magnets, ebooks, and web copy for your business.

Art Attack

Discovering art in everything

What's Good?

Around the globe..

The Digital Inkwell

If poetry be the food for love, pen on.

Harga Timbangan

Dunia Timbangan,081280780615,081291999252,0216016259,Harga Timbangan,Harga Timbangan Duduk,Harga Timbangan Digital,Harga Timbangan Analitik,Harga Timbangan Manual,Harga Timbangan Gantung,Harga Timbangan Duduk Digital,Harga Timbangan Duduk Manual,Harga Timbangan Lantai,Harga Timbangan Mekanik,Harga Timbangan Gantung Manual,Harga Timbangan Gantung Jarum,Harga Timbangan Buah Digital,Harga Timbangan Neraca Analitik,Harga Timbangan Elektrik,Harga Timbangan Digital Gram,Harga Timbangan Gram,Timbangan Duduk,Timbnagan Manual,Timbangan Duduk Manual,Timbangan Analitik,Timbangan Laundry,Timbangan Mekanik,Timbangan Salter,Timbangan Nagata,Timbangan Cahaya Adil,Timbangan Quattro,Timbangan Sapi,Timbangan Ternak,Timbangan Adam,Analitycal Balnce,Moisture Balance,Timbangan Sn Timah,Timbangan Oc Timah,Timbangan Chq,Timbangan Matrix,Timbangan Acis,Timbangan Lantai,Timbangan Gantung,Timbangan Gantung Jarum,Timbangan Gantung Manual,Jual Timbangan,Timbangan Barang Digital,Timbangan Pemancingan,Timbangan Galatama,Timbangan Obat,Timbangan Neraca Analitik,Timbangan Lantai Digital,Timbangan Camry,Harga Timbangan Laundry,Harga Timbangan Beras,Harga Bandul Timbangan,Anak Timbangan,Batu Timbangan,Timbangan Daging,Timbangan Buah,Timbangan Sayur,Timbangan Barang,Timbangan Balance,Timbangan Floor Scale,Timbangan Counting,Timbangan Anti Air,Timbangan Water Proof,Timbangan Jarum,Timbangan Duduk Jarum

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

Setsu Uzume

Speculative Fiction

d|gI+Al hEGeM0n ...d|g|Z|nE

Works of Thought... And Pictures of My Soul

Jobsdhamaka Blog

Job Interview Tips and Career Advices

LOVE AND OLIVES

Just a regular thirty-something-year-old trying to capture the essence of life in writing. Join me as I journey through the ups, the downs and the adventures in between.

Predictable in Her Unpredictability

Doing What Makes My Soul Shine

Boost Facebook Likes

Fast, Cheap Followers and Likes

Anti-Hero

A man who will break rules and play dirty, only bound by his own code of survival.

sheila sea

like thalassic velvet

canadatothabay

canadatothabay

Spirylis

To awaken the unique and infinite consciousness, the essence of all things in Creation, and the essence within us all.