Whenever I hear the word “institutionalized” my brain starts playing the old Suicidal Tendencies anthem. All I wanted was a Pepsi!!!!
Lately, someone has been exclaiming, “Sister Wolf was once institutionalized!” I assume this refers to the time I entered the juvenile justice system after running away from home. It’s a part of my life and my history as a rebellious teenager. It’s also a badge of honor that affirms how defiant I was, and still am.
In October 1967, my “husband” and I went to Washington DC along with thousands of other hippies whose aim was to gather at the Pentagon. In the background of the photo above, you might be able to see the National Guard lined up. But never mind about them, just look at my fringed bag and my hippie love beads! What a time to be young and out of control!
Eventually, while hitchhiking in another city, we were questioned by the police and I couldn’t remember some dates on my fake birth certificate. I was taken to the local juvenile facility and held there until arrangements were made to fly me back home. All I remember about that place was the fried chicken and grits.
Back in California, I still refused to stop seeing my “husband,” who had valiantly hitchhiked his way across the country to be with me, risking a jail sentence. My mother gave up and I was sent to a correctional school for girls, where we wore little uniforms and learned to accept authority. Some of us were cunning enough to pretend to learn it.
After a few months, I was allowed to spend weekends at home with my mom. I was usually relieved to get back to the school, where people were predictable and not bi-polar.
At 15, I went straight from the correctional school to London. During the day, I took my mom’s diet pills and scurried around Kensington Market. At night, I danced for hours on end at a disco bar in Earl’s Court.
Ah, I could write a book, couldn’t I? But that was my only brush with an “institution,” I am sorry to reveal to those who wanted more than a Pepsi.