Hippie Days – All Over Colorado

pict0005-241x300-4843411Hippie Days –All Over Colorado

After two weeks of traveling hundreds of miles, experiencing innumerable exciting new adventures and interminably crisscrossing the state of Colorado waiting for Scooter’s hearing aid to be fixed, we cross over our second mountain pass Pike’s Peak and arrive in Colorado Springs to find that, amazingly, it’s fixed and ready to go. After taking a quick look at the Air Force Academy we’re “On the Road Again” toward our rendezvous with the gang in Boulder. Trudy’s sister Mary Ellen and friends are taking the summer off from college, working and playing in this young progressive town where the University of Colorado is located.

Of course they don’t know we’re coming, but Trudy has given us an address and assured us that we’ll be welcomed. Maybe not, when they see a family with two kids and a dog in a big Dodge van drive up.

“Hi, anybody home? I call into the open door.”

A cute tall blond woman comes to the door smiling, “Hey.”

“Hey, we’re friends of your sister. Did Trudy tell you we might be stopping by? I’m Terry’s sister Jill.”

“I’m Mary Ellen,” she nods her curly-head. “We’ve been looking out for you. Do you know where Trudy and Herb are?”

“Not exactly, but they’re on their way here. We left them in Arkansas. Our rendezvous in Aspen didn’t happen and this is our next stop.” In the meantime everyone’s jumped out of the van including the dog. “Here come the rest of us.”

Thankgod she doesn’t look horrified. “You guys come on in.”

Mary Ellen is sharing the place with a couple of openhearted friends, and we end up staying overnight in the van, and being offered use of their bathroom. Another sign of the times. The gang shows up the next day. We have a rousing evening together and decide to go camping in the mountains near Nederland. Obviously their apartment isn’t going to hold us all.

To give the adults some peace we take the kids to a movie ‘Herbie Rides Again’ that just happens to be about a Volkswagen. They’re excited to watch a movie about a car “just like Uncle Terry’s and Herb and Trudy’s that flies.


Children’s Diary – Boulder CO – July 13

We stayed with our new friends Mary Ellen and Molly in their apartment.

We went to the movies in Boulder. Herbie Rides Again was about a flying VW.

Life and Deaf – Chapter 10 – From the Horse’s Mouth

On our way to a new life in Boulder

Having got bogged down on my blog again, I start reflecting on why it’s been so hard to sit down and write this memoir. A light bulb goes off. It’s not just mine, it’s my son’s. Where’s his side of the story? I dash off an email to him.

“Dear Ray, As I struggle along with my/your memoir I realize I’m missing the most important part. You. Your memories. I have an idea. How about writing sections from your point of view and perspective. Some are already written. We could combine, read and critique each other.

I’m reading Salman Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton, written in 3rd person to be less personal, more honest? You should read it. Made me think of this idea when he told how he was bullied in school and never told his parents. Sound familiar? He says, “when he’d become a writer his gossip mother said “I’m going to stop telling you things because you put them in your books and then I get in trouble.” But she couldn’t stop telling anymore than he could stop writing. Love you, Mom”


Rushdie’s sent away from home – India – to an English boarding school. Thrown into a new school and uprooted from his family and culture in Bombay, he’s not only an immigrant, but he’s not interested in sports and is a geek before his time. He never mentions the pain to his parents. It would just cause more trouble. He just swallows it.

I get a reply:


You have good timing, was going to email you soon. Love your idea about a collaboration. I’ve written some tidbits whenever I reflected upon my past, mostly parts that needed to be healed. I’ll share what I have below, but take note it’s just reflecting and healing on past hurts, the majority of my life was a lot of joy. :)”


So here is the first installation from my son Scooter, now called Ray:


First grade was where it really all started, an accordion of events unfolding one after the other in compressed time.

It was the first time I would be mainstreamed into school as a deaf child. Thinking back on it, it was a hell of an adjustment because in pre-school and kindergarten, I was in a school specially for the oral deaf to teach us how to talk and read lips rather than sign language. It was a sheltered environment where everyone was accepted for who they were in the most natural way and it was also a great deal of fun.

I remember in the middle of the year we all put on a circus to friends and family where we’d dress up as different animals and pretend to be like them. I was an elephant walking a tight rope and we still have a video reel of that somewhere. As children we love circuses and when we think of them we feel joy and happiness. That’s what school felt like; a fun circus where I was learning a lot and having fun amongst fellow deaf children and caring, compassionate staff.

Then first grade came along. Not only was I plucked out of a sheltered environment; I was plunked into a foreign one when we moved from Florida to Colorado. So here I was, totally green, totally new, and totally deaf in a brave new hearing world for the first time in my short life.

I was naive at first (then again, aren’t we all allowed to be at that age?) and welcomed the change with open arms — I loved adventure and trying new things.


I knew something was up and different when I strolled through the cafeteria for the first time to get in line and all these kids stared at me. In reality, I couldn’t blame them for that — back then I had to wear these huge body hearing aids. It was like wearing a novel strapped to the front of my chest with wires coming out of it to my ears. It was a hell of a way to broadcast my handicap. I knew I was different, but I still clearly remember that feeling of uneasiness as I walked through and seeing all those eyes following me, with that look of “What’s wrong with him?” I felt like a circus freak who made the mistake of escaping from the circus I so loved.

I remember feeling very quiet inside and wanting to shrivel up so I wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. But I had to keep walking through all those stares, what else could I do?


Life and Deaf – Chapter 9 – Old Movies

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Back to Life and Deaf.

Scooter with his birthday dog.

A memory pops into my mind, so clearly, of Scooter showing his spirit while hoding his teacher, Sunny Bates’ hand in the parking lot of Marineland. He’s stamping his little foot, shaking his head no, next to the old Dodge station wagon we bought from Grandma and Gaga Patterson. He doesn’t want to go home and accept the fact that the excitement and spectacle of watching the dolphins and whales jumping, singing and dancing for us is over.

It all started when my TV cable went out. For a decade I’ve been piggy-backing off a cable that wasn’t supposed to be live. Holding on to the attitude of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book era, I didn’t feel too bad getting a little free cable from a big rich conglomerate. I started cleaning out the space getting ready for a new big legal flat screen variety and there, mixed in with the almost obsolete DVD’s and CD’s, is a copy that says ‘super-eight movies’. I pop it in and begin to watch. OMG, the beginning of our family: Scooter learning to walk. I laugh, I cry as our family life goes scrolling by. I do a quick calculation, 1968 – 1978, from Ormond Beach, FL where the children were born, through our lives as hippies traveling the country in a van, settling in Boulder, CO and our return to Sarasota.

After 1½ hours and a decade roll past, I’m emotionally drained. A smile soothes my face. My memory has been so easily nudged with these genuine images from the past. It’s all on a movie

Nicole and Scooter in Ormond Bch

lost, then found in the clutter of life. I sift through years of gift opening in front of endless Christmas trees, fancily dressed toddlers precariously carrying baskets of brightly decorated eggs, crowds of neighbor kids adorned in peaked hats in front of blazing, then smoking animal-shaped birthday cakes. But in between there’s real life: Scooter’s first steps,first run, first fall, picking himself back up and continuing on; no crying or laughing, just pure inquisitiveness and determination.The kids model silly wild outfits I sew them for Christmas. I sew myself  sexy ones to go with my bleached blond hair. We enjoy drunk,crazy fun times with the grandparents at their 25th wedding anniversary. I discipline Scooter and drag him away when he won’t stay of the street.We dancing and party with friends at a neighborhood New Year’s Eve bash where Ray passes out on the couch deeply enough to ignore us taking the drink from his hands as we continually change his hats. We take old Boulder Hippie friends boating to Sarasota’s topless beach (Sarasota was not so staid back then) and return to romp nude in our backyard.

Crazy Xmas robes I made for kids.

But let me pick up the thread where I left off. Scooter’s new teacher was with us on that Marineland trip. Miss Sunny Bates, the best teacher a child could have, had become a close friend of the family. She loved that boy, his spirited independent ways, quick intelligence and potential to move into the hearing world, and we loved her. After our shaky beginnings with oral education, she took the ball and ran with it, giving him the background he needed to successfully inhabit a hearing world.

Granted the circumstances weren’t perfect-a class of children with mixed disabilities: deaf, emotionally disturbed, cerebal palsied, autistic, aged 2 ½ (or potty trained) through 5. With Sunny at the helm, it worked and I became a volunteer teacher’s aide to pick up the slack, my first job since teaching elementary school in El Paso, Texas. What an eye-opener and education for me, too.

Hope my alterations and changes are not too confusing. Next time a different perspective – a memory from the horse’s mouth – my son.