While in Jail in Key West, Monkey Tom had told us about Boca Raton, which was only another 25 miles up the road from Ft. Lauderdale. We set out once again in search of a great place where we could settle in and hang out for a while.
Boca Raton turned out to be the perfect place for us. We had found a nice beach area to hang out that had a pavilion where high school and college kids would come to party. Just a hundred yards from the beach was an area full of bushes and shrubs. There were already lots of forts made from the bushes where others had camped. We were called the “bush people.” At the pavilion there were a couple of outside showers, which was very helpful. Just a couple of blocks down the street there was a convenience store where we could panhandle when needed.
The cool thing was that we had all of these high school and college chicks bringing us food from their homes every day. We were quite the celebrities. Everyone was really getting a kick out of us and we were enjoying it and playing it for all it was worth.
We would spend the days swimming in the ocean and learning how to body surf. There were lots of other people who were doing the same thing we were doing—living in the bushes and basically hanging out. We met up with a couple of other guys named Logan and Curly, who were also a part of the hippies counterculture.. Curly had long, curly hair, which was why he went by that name. They had been hitchhiking around Florida as well, who would later travel to the other side of the state with us. We would all make our afternoon trips to the convenience store down the street to panhandle and shoplift as much as we could.
One day we decided to shoplift several bottles of wine to party with the following evening. There was only one person who was at the cash register, so it was rather easy to shoplift. We ended up with several bottles of wine and food for the evening. That evening we had a great time partying with all the locals who would come to the pavilion in the evening. Both Hobo and I got pretty drunk, along with our new friends, Logan and Curly.
The next day was even more eventful. The night before we had met a young college gal who had taken a genuine interest in us, who was now inviting the four of us to her home to hang out with her. She let all of us take real showers and get cleaned up and then we sat around and smoked pot with her all afternoon.
Towards evening, we all headed back to the beach and the pavilion. Out of the four of us, she seemed to be really taken with me. I guess she liked the more shy type. She also had a bunch of Quaaludes, and we all took them. For some reason, I took more than anyone else and ended up overdosing. I had never experienced anything like this before. I had taken downers many times before, especially when I was in Vietnam, but had never experienced this effect.
I was so out of it that I became paralyzed. My mind seemed to be functioning all right, but I couldn’t get my legs to respond. I thought if I could just get to the outside shower I could maybe sober up a bit and my legs would start working, but that wasn’t so. I was still paralyzed.
As I look back on this time in my life, I realize without a doubt that I am very fortunate to be alive and in a sane mind today. During those lost years, I abused my mind terribly with all the drugs I took. I am very thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for saving me and giving me a sober mind that allows me to enjoy everything around me without the aid of mind altering drugs.
After the failed shower attempt, I ended up crawling on my hands and knees back to our bush fort and crashed for the night. The next morning when I woke up, I was fine…just a little hung over and groggy. I was very relieved. It could have been much worse.
With our routine pretty well established, we stayed in Boca Raton for about ten days. Boca Raton had proven to be, for me, the best place we had been to up until then. I really enjoyed myself there. We were just a bunch of hippies hanging out on the beach day after day. We didn’t really have to hustle that much for food since we had all these girls bringing us food from their homes. It was a very relaxing time.