This Drug Store Had Wheels

~~ A conversation between two of the participants. Originally posted elsewhere. All errors & formatting left as they were! ~~

ME: April 24, 1971 – to that point, and maybe still, the largest demonstration of its kind – an anti-Vietnam War rally in D.C.

Vinny, Neil, Frank, Butch, and I made the journey in “Lola,” my infamous Ford Falcon wagon. What a feeling of power. Masses of people … I remember:

  1. Going through the tunnels at Baltimore, and on the Beltway, seeing carloads of freaks everywhere, all headed where we were!
  2. We got there in the afternoon or evening or night [ok, so I don’t remember, but it was the day prior]. We slept out on the grass near the Washington monument. It’s a wonder we didn’t get crushed … there were vehicles driving around; hordes of people. Wasn’t there a concert going on, too?
  3. I remember marching to the Capitol … the street was literally filled with people – it seemed as far as you could see. People in the trees, everywhere.
  4. A part of the rally broke off and ended up in the streets away from the rally. Of course, we were in that group. Police in riot gear pushed us back. – SCRATCH THAT – DIFFERENT DEMONSTRATION, A YEAR OR SO LATER. I JUST LOOKED THROUGH SOME PHOTOS TO CONFIRM!

Four of the five of us are registered on this Board … you guys remember anything?

I had this penpal I met through Circus magazine. Her name was Charlotte Porter & she lived in Lenoir, North Carolina … about an hours drive from where I now live [can you believe, Bean, that I have yet to revisit? Soon!] …

Anyway, the demonstration was on the weekend, there was to be a series of workshops during the week, and then the following weekend – civil disobedience. We decided to head to NC, to meet Charlotte, for the week and to return for the fun & games [read: riots] the following weekend. Foch & Skin, having more sense, returned home to Valley Stream …

One way or another, the 3 of us were determined to land in jail …

I remember, on the way home, in early May – I think in Bean’s father’s car – passing through D.C. and seeing National Guardsmen everywhere … this was several days after the riots. RFK stadium was used as a jail, there were that many arrests. But not us!

We had our own cell … in the Caldwell County Jail in Lenoir! We made the frontpage … then, a day or so later, there was an editorial about us … really, there was! Bean, Doof, me, Courtney Gwynn, and Jim Clarke – the latter two locals [though Courtney was from Stonybrook, or someplace].

The headline of the editorial?

This Drug Store Had Wheels
Why don’t you pick up the story, Bean … then I’ll add some more thoughts!

BEAN: I don’t know where to begin this story has so many different threads and directions, I need some time here but I will jump in and start posting my recollections…
to be continued….

I don’t remember too much prior to what hapenned before we actually got in to Lenoir that day…was that the same trip where are car broke down in Warrington, Va. first, and we went to Lenoir after getting it repaired or was that a different trip?

Anway I remember when we did get in to Lenoir and met Richies pen pal Charolette, she introuduced us to all her friends, practically all the kids in town but we became really freindly with 2 people especiually, Courtney Gwyn the Gentel Giant because he was Big Sweet Guy who reminded me of Doof because he always had those chubby red rosey cheeks and he had long straigh brownish blonde hair like our Doof, and then here’e where the trounle starts, we also me atnd became friendly the with Voluptorous, sexy ANNA TUTTLE !!! who Courtney has had a crush on since they were kids in Lenoir, and instantly now he had 3 rivals, Doofus, Richie and Me were all in Love at first sight with ANNA BANNANA as I would call her…just the thought of her is sending me in to a sweat right now so it’s time for a cold shower break…
to be continued….and Richie feel free to jump in and pick up, add, or change anything…after all it’s your story too!

OK onward we go…
What I can remember was that from the moment we pulled in to Lenoir and were introuduced to the towns hip kids we were treated like celebrities being we were ” The Hippies from New York “…there was some kind of impromptu party or gathering at Courtney’s house but first I remember someone probably Courtney knew someone up in the Mountains who had this super pure LSD called LSD25 I think that’s what it was called, and somehow it made it’s way to Courtny’s house that day….when we first got there I was in Courtney’s room and had been lifting some of his weights he had in there…OK so now people started showing and drinking and the drugs took over, I can remember someone saying that you didn’t need to do a whole tab of this acid because it was so good….too late I already popped 2 tabs !!! I don’t know what Richie and Doof took but here’s what I remember next, I was back in the house with the same weights I was lifting earlier with no problem now they were on top of me, I was on the floor and weights were choking me, had it not been for someone coming and removing the weights off my neck I probably would have choked and had it not been for the loud crash Imade when I fell over with the weights no one would have probably came in to find me there…OK so I survived that, next somehow I got a hold of Richies keys to his beloved Ford Falcon the Lolamobile which was parked around in back of the house down this long sloped driveway…I guess I made it in to the car and got it started and began reving the engine really loud, enough to make those not stoned enough to realize…UH OH…who’s in the car doing that and WHERE IS FRANK ??? I can remember popping the tranny in to drive and I came flying up the driveway over the hump that leads out in to the street, I think the car might have been slightly airborn…but there were enough people there to drag me out of the car…probably led by Richie screaming ” FranK you fcuking Jerk I’m gonna Kill you ” ahhhhfongul demendalegoshlamatz..or something to that effect….next to be continued they or we decide to finish our acid trip in private or so we thought by a beautiful waterfall in the mountains of North Carolina….Boone County not far from Blowing Rock…, the hammer is about to fall, stay tuned as Dudley Doo Right appears ! Help Richie !!! Take over before I continue! and Elena the best is yet to come…tripping and the munchies in Jail !

ME: Oh, boy! This brings a smile to my usual scowl!

It was two different trips, Bean … the Warrenton, VA trip – the breakdown – was just the three of us and was about 3 weeks earlier. This one started out with Foch & Vinny, as I described above. Where are those two, anyway?

Anyway, well I remember that day of the acid – was it Courtney’s house? I remember a Becky & her brother, who’s name I forget … Anyway, maybe it was. But it definitely wasn’t the first day there …

We found everyone out on the lawn of the school, which was right in the middle of town, kind of like a Village Green atmosphere. There was a little coffee shop across the street where we’d hang out in, too.

You know what? I have this little sketch book that we all wrote in while in jail. I think I have names in there … I’ll dig it out. Bet it’ll be a trip. Will share any gems here. It’s in my deep storage area!

Anyway, on the trip day … remember going to pick up Courtney’s pay check? It was a bit out of town … I guess I drove … egad!!!! It seemed to me like we kept passing the same place over & over again. Ah, acid! We got to where Courtney worked. It was a big tinted glass building out in the middle of nowhere. We all put our faces up to the window & were making lewd faces, etc. at the secretaries in there. What a hoot … They were laughing hysterically!

This thread might get mighty long … a lot of memories … Gotta go, right now, but this will continue … will dig out the book.

With Anna Tuttle, maybe?

PS – Just thought … no, it wasn’t Courtney’s house. He lived out in the country. Remember we slept there one night out in the car? Anna was there. And his Pops made us pancakes in the AM?

The acid party was in town …

BEAN: Right…Courtney had that round house on stilts out in the middle of the wildnerness, I remember we slept in the car during one of the most vicious thunder and lightning storms I have ever seen even to this day…and the mountain we were looking at was ” Grandfather Mountain ” because the outline looked like an old man if I am correct….( remeber the mysteriuous light up in the mountain that no one could explain? ) and remember the cub bears in the tree that we saw when we woke up for our big home cooked pancake breakfast ! Great Memories….
And I vividly remember going to get Courtney’s check, I think It was at Broyhill the famous furniture manufactuer in Lenoir, I remember we were tripping our little brains out and as we peered in to the offices and were making faces at all the secretaries and they thought we were hysterical…obviously so did the State and local police because I think we were being followed and watched from day one and the minute we got in to town, little did we know then !!???????
Fill me in on Becky and her brother, I don’t recall them?
and I want to hear what we wrote in your journal while in Jail…I bet there is some reference to Jimmy Hendrix and the Song ” Freedom ” because I rememeber that was on one of yours or mine assorted music tapes we had with us in the Jail cell and it was just so ironic for that song to be on while we were locked up, to this day when ever I hear that song I think of us in Jail !!!
Remember the grits and fried baloney they served us…I would roll the fried baloney up in to a ball and bounce it around, but I ended up actually liking the grits, and still do to this day…But the funny part was the guy who would come around at night and sell snacks and candy bars and that sort of stuff, I remember we almost attacked him because we were so so hungry and we bought tons of of stuff with what ever money they let us keep on us…..but we need to back track now…back to the the beautiful afternoon in the country by a gorgous waterfall….doing the best ACID ever only to be confronted by Dudley Do Right the Forest Ranger….now take over Richie….btw what was his real name???? – Bean…to be continued !

ME: OK … hard thread to reply to, as you said, going every which way!!! Well, I did dig out the book from jail. Will use some of it here. Unfortunately, we had no camera with us during this adventure, so there are no pics. Luckily, though, I did bring one along when we went down for the trial about a month later, plus in ’73 when Carla & I went down for a visit. Went to the school, the jail, Courtney’s house, the gorge … will post some photos soon!

Some clarifications:

  • It was Caldwell County, not Boone.
  • Dudley’s real name was Ronnie Ross
  • And, confirmed by the journal, it was Becky & Bucky’s house [I think their last name was “Robbins”] where your story takes place. That’s where we dropped the acid. From the “journal”: Took a shower at Bucky’s house. That’s the community house of the town. Everybody makes themselves at home & gets high everydayApril 27, 1971
  • I, too, learned to love grits after that experience. Probably, that was the first time the 3 of us ever had them. They served them with red-eye gravy. I remember the fried bologna very well. And, the lima bean soup, basically lima beans floating alone in water. I had forgotten about the “candy man.”
  • Correct, Bean … that was Grandfather Mountain. The lights, however, were – and still are – on Brown Mountain. Probably, from all the acid!!! Every once in a while, there’s a story on them in the paper here. On the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s an overlook – the lights go waaay back! Still fairly well unexplained.

More, a lot more, as soon as I get the photos & my thoughts together!

April 23, 1971 Frank, Butch, Skin, Foch, and I left for Washington about 1:30PM – ****! – Before we even got going I got in a minor accident … Before leaving NY we picked up a couple of hitch-hikers who rode all the way down. Wow, the roads were full of freaks heading to D.C. In NJ we were very nearly busted, and in Philadelphia, got lost. Finally arrived about 9:30PM and slept outdoors near the Washington monument with a few thousand other early arrivers. Plenty of grass.

April 24, 1971 People keep pouring in. The demonstration is gigantic – maybe 500,000 – At about noon the march begins, but never really gets organized because of the numbers – it’s peaceful anyway. At about 4:00PM, we left the rally at the Capitol & returned to the car. I can’t believe all the drugs freely going around. We camped at the monument again [with about 20,000] for an all-night rock concert, most of which I slept through. Man, I’m awfully stoned.

So, my memory is still fairly intact!!!

It says, in the “journal,” In Virginia we got a flat & had to buy 2 new tires – Now, we’re close to broke, but will continue. About 30 miles from NC border we camped out – a really nice spot. April 25, 1971

I remember a group of 15-20, I would guess, of the locals sitting in a circle on the front lawn of the high school in town. That’s where we found everyone …

Image Insert:

41.61 KB – Me, on the lawn, at a return visit 2 years later. Hairy, aren’t I?!?

Probably even before that, as we entered town, we saw the jail, with its covered walkway over the road. One of us remarked something to the effect of hoping we never saw the inside of that place. Remember this Bean?

Image Insert:

61.49 KB The Caldwell County Jail

April 26, 1971 We got an early start & pulled in Lenoir about 11:30. Went straight to the high school & met some really nice people, including Charlotte, Anna, Courtney, Jim, Ken, etc. Gave us money & food. –Let’s go back, Bean!!!We like it here & might stay longer. We’re almost like celebrities here in this straight Southern town. –Bean, you said this very thing!– At night about 15 of us went to this beautiful spot all alone in the mountains by a waterfall [the Gorge] & had a picnic & got high. About 10:30 everyone left & we stayed on & slept there. Really nice.

I’ve got the arrest warrant here – of course that wasn’t till a couple of days later – signed by one SBI agent Charles E. Whitman. Luckily, it includes the location of the scene of the crime – Rural Paved Road #1328 The Wilson Creek Road, near Brown Mountain beach – This is good, and thoughtful of Whitman, as now I can likely find the place. I want to go back & sit there a spell.

Image Insert:

46.13 KB Bean & Rich, after our trial a month later, saying goodbye to our impounded funmobile! It was given to some unnamed women’s charity!!

But, I get ahead …

April 27, 1971 Went into town for breakfast & then hung around the Coffee Shop near school to meet people … After school Courtney took us to his place about 28 miles away – We ate & slept there. I feel so free & good right now. Outasite! Yeah, I really wrote that!

Image Insert:

54 KB Courtney’s house – octagonal, I believe.

It was there a lot of flirtatious stuff took place as Anna Banana came out there, as well. We were having a blast.

A list of names I recorded while in jail. Heck, I have no idea who most of them are. Do you?

  1. Charlotte Porter
  2. Ken Bradshaw
  3. Buck & Becky Robbins
  4. Anna Tuttle
  5. Vicki
  6. Pritchard
  7. Courtney Gwyn
  8. Jim Clark
  9. Dan
  10. Melinda
  11. McCormick
  12. Frank
  13. Larry
  14. Eddie
  15. Beverly
  16. Clara

I’ll pause here, Bean & others reading this. I’ll wait till you get home from Vegas old buddy. See if this jogs any memories! More to come from me …

I wouldn’t remember this – not all, anyway – but I knew I’d need it someday, and smartly drew a little sketch while passing the hours in the jail cell.

The cell we were originally placed in was a real upscale model! Such good fortune! The back section was divided up into sub-cells – 4 of them – each with its own entrance. Lavishly furnished, each had a bunk on the left [as you looked in] and a toilet up against the back wall, with the exception of the far right cell [again, as you looked in] which was a double [quadruple, actually]. This exclusive unit had two double bunks, one on each wall [l & r], with the toilet in the middle. So, this luxury suite of a cell held 7 souls. We, since Jim Clark was immediately bailed out, were but 4, so we had all the room in the world! But wait, that ain’t all! That’s just the back portion. Out in front of that was the living quarters – a long, basically empty area, with a shower stall in the left front corner – another toilet in the right front corner – all as you looked in from the outside, ala a warden. Between that toilet & the quadruple bunk room, was the cell door. All along the front, from shower to toilet, was a table & bench, with a small “window” in the bars to pass food through. Remember that place, Bean??? Who took the big bunk?

Image Insert:

56.54 KB
The fine artwork of Rich & Doof!

Image Insert:

42.74 KB
Bean’s contribution!

I remember talking to my Uncle Vince on the phone about bail – $1000. He asked me when I wanted out. I said on Monday, thinking the rest were in till then. That was the hearing date. Unfortunately for me, the others – Bean, Doof, & Courtney – were bailed out sooner, after 3 days worth of fun. I was moved to a regular tiny cell for the next two days. One of my all-time favorite weekends. A 5×6 cell – or however big those little things were – and some real nice, genteel southern gentlemen for neighbors. I was literally climbing the walls [bars]. There were these high little windows. I struggled mightily to catch a view.

Image Insert:

45.98 KB
Courtney Gwyn – and girlfriend who’s name escapes me – in the Old
Neighborhood for a visit a year and a half, or so, later.

Courtney writes, in the journal:

What a happy day! 5:30 some dude came in with some grits for breakfast. Of course, we slept through it.

Now, how the heck did we end up there, anyway … the 4 of us in that cell? Hmmmm ….

BEAN: Thanks for those memories Richie, and the artwork…priceless !!!
Now tell the story about my father and brother-in-law coming down to bail us out and our haircut expereience ! Didn’t I climb the Holiday Inn sign and refused to come down to go to the barber to get my hair chopped off?…Bean
Too bad we didn’t become famous rock stars after this because the movie rights would have been worth millions !!!

ME: I can’t personally attest to the Holiday Haircut story, as I wasn’t there to eyewitness the event … I, alas, was still in jail!!! However, my Bean, I do recall that was the story at the time. I know that I believe it!!

As for my haircut, I had a personal escort – the Sheriff [can’t think of his name, either. I’ve been raking my brain – or what’s left of it! No dice. Several years back, I think I recall reading in one of the local papers that he passed away. FINALLY! The bastard! No, no … just joking.]

BEAN: Don’t remember too much about all these details myself…I do remember though my father slapping me across the face as soon as he saw me for the first time after driving all the way down to bail us out…after he slapped me he hugged me while crying but he was really mad, and I can’t say that I blamed him !!! The haircut story with me climbing up on top of the Holiday Inn sign, all I can remember was my father and Brother-in Law trying to talk me down to get my hair cut, eventually I did come down, and you were right it could have been worse they didn;t make us get military crew cuts !!!
Did Doof’s father come down too? I think my father brought down your bail money from your mother if I am not mistaken? I really can’t remember much, so much was going on so fast…and then there is the story of about a month later with us having to fly back for the trial and our great lawyer the infamous Morris Murskey !…

ME: So, we go to the demonstration, head on down to NC afterward – camping out on the way. We meet up with the locals, are treated like royalty, have a blast, and spend a couple of nights – one at the gorge & one at Courtney’s. The following day, we drop acid … and all hell breaks loose …

I think that gets us up to snuff!

Oh, and no, I don’t think Doof’s dad came to NC to pick us up.

After leaving Broyhill’s to pick up the paycheck & provide free entertainment to the ladies there, we continued on to the gorge. The 5 of us – Rich, Bean, Doof, Courtney & Jim. It was early. A bunch of others were going to meet us up there for a picnic/bbq after school sometime. We passed them coming up, as we were going down, in the company of the police a bit later on …

Image Insert:

49.02 KB
Brown Mountain Gorge … the scene of our arrest.
We were sitting on the big flat rock at the time.
Pic taken in ’73 on a return visit.

We got up there, and all began well. We had my tape player, were listening to tunes, enjoying the peaceful scenery, and smoking joints, laughing, having a good ole time. We had acid with us … either Jim or Courtney did, plus more pot. Suddenly, as if he was dropped from the sky, there stood Dudley Do Right, the NC State Forest Ranger.

We were stunned … not scared, mind you [I don’t think anything would have scared us at that particular time] … but very stunned. There was a little plastic baggy sitting on the ground before us, filled with some marijuana. [Or, “Mari-huana,” as it is spelled on my warrant for arrest.]

Dudley asked us what we were doing.


Dudley asked what was in the bag.

More silence.

Dudley repeats the question.

Someone poked me from behind. So, I picked up the bag, emptied the contents on the ground, and waved the now empty piece of plastic in the air.

“Nothing,” I finally replied.

Dudley wasn’t quite as dumb as he looked. He took out a cigarette box & scooped up some of the Mari-huana from the ground. He placed it in his pocket.

“Don’t move. We have you surrounded.”

Yes, he really said that, or something similar. Of course, nobody else was within miles, but we didn’t know, or care … He marched us up to the dirt road. The acid was tossed in the river. Lucky fish that nibbled on that!

We got up to the ranger’s vehicle where he then radioed for assistance. We were absolutely blasted! I remember singing songs … Jefferson Airplane’s, Volunteers of America [is that the name?], was one of them … we were oblivious to what was actually going down. We did realize that I had forgotten my cassette player down by the river. Dudley marched us all down again to fetch it. Pretty nice guy, actually!

We passed what seemed like eternity – I have no idea how long it actually was – just goofing around, waiting for the Sheriff’s cars to come. And come they did.

I got to ride on out with a deputy by my side in my car, while the rest rode with the Sheriff himself. I was tripping wildly & told the deputy that. He asked me if it was like drinking beer! He was clueless! I felt like the gas pedal was a marshmallow. It is a miracle that Deputy Dawg & I didn’t end up in the bottom of the gorge somewhere. If he only knew!!! As we meandered down the narrow dirt road, gorge to our right, a car or two of locals, coming up to join us, passed us. I’ll never forget their shocked expressions as I waved at them, grinning.

Doofus had this great idea to stash our pot in the little panel between the passenger door & the windshield. It came off with screws. Our stash was secured in there … rolled, as the newspaper article says, with rolling paper simulating dollar bills & American flags.

We got down to the station – I remember them feeding us bologna sandwiches [what is it with the bologna, anyway!] as we milled about. A newspaper reporter showed up; Charlotte came in; Bean was swinging on one of the open doors in the holding cell; it seemed like we were there for a very long time. I think it got dark. Anyway, I actually told them where the pot was – I don’t think they ever would have found it otherwise, but after that, they dismantled Lola in search of more. I can recall hearing them clanging & banging as they thoroughly looked for the goods. Lola was impounded.

Then, it was off to our cell, after they booked us.

The first night was a trip. We still had no idea what was really going on … I’d bet the sketches above were done that night!

Anyway, they took me across the street to the barbershop, and I vividly remember a little black boy sitting in the “lobby” of the jail-house with his Mom as they took me out.

“Look Ma, there’s Tiny Tim!”

Yep, that’s me! Or was. I hope he’s dead, too! The little bastard!!!! No, no … just joking, really I am. He was probably a good little kid. Anyway, as haircuts go, it wasn’t that bad. I was expecting a Marine-cut. They left a little on top!

Overall, the jail treatment was reasonably good. I do recall one of the first things said to us after we were locked up, by a Trustee, I believe it was: “The last long hairs we had in here never got out!” Another vivid memory. The words just froze out there in midair. After that, though, it wasn’t all that bad.

Still more to tell … I wish you’d help me out here, Bean!

BEAN: Looks what’s happenning on the street
start a revolution
got to revolution…
our generation got old
our generation got sold
this generations got no destination to hold
voulenteers of America….
Was that the Airplane song you or we were singing in the the police car?
and Richie I remember my swinging from the jail door scene quite well…we were flying…that remained the best acid I ever did !
Great accounting of what went on that infamous day at the Gorge…it brought back so many memories. I can vividly remembering sitting on that Rock feeling like I was actually part of it, as if my body was liquid or space and was able to merge or blend in with the physical state of the earth…

ME: Some addendums to this story:

–Sheriff’s name was Ray Moore. I have a great newspaper picture of the SBI agent seated in the front passenger seat of Lola, Moore standing nearby, holding the little marijuana-laced panel in his hand. You can see the stuff in there. The “Drug Store” sign is visible, as well.

–Didn’t know it at the time, of course, but that ride out of the gorge, deputy at my side, was my last trip in Lola.

–The word Freedom is found in the journal – certainly, as Bean noted, a reference to the Richie Havens song.

–On Monday, May 3, we had our hearing.

–Less than a month later, we flew to Charlotte to be in Lenoir for our trial. Charges were reduced to misdemeanor.

  • $800 fine
  • 3 years probation [Ray Bang was our probation officer. We were not to leave Nassau County without his permission. The following summer, Butch & I hitchhiked cross-country through Canada!!! ]
  • Written report of so-many words as to why we shouldn’t use drugs [I turned in a copied anti-drug folder from school.]
  • In addition, I had my license revoked for a year. [Did you guys get that one, Bean?] [*]Plus, since I had the additional charge of transporting “narcotics” across state lines, I never saw Lola again after our sentimental visit after the trial.

–This was one of those life experiences that forever bonded you with whoever you shared it with!

–In Jail from April 28-May 3, 1971

— Another pic, from the time of the trial:

Image Insert:

32.61 KB
Rich, Anna, & Charlotte – I think outside Charlotte’s house.

–Finally, excerpted from This Drug Store Had Wheels: THE EDITORIAL [by Mike Kincaid]:

… There it sits, a vintage station wagon, painted with the names of people from who-knows-where, anti-war slogans and promotional material for the drug cult. Piled inside the car are a tape recorder and clothes owned by three of the young men … A plastic bag, folded neatly, is taped to the panel to keep its contents from spilling out. Several cigarettes which the officers suspect contain marijuana are also taped on the panel, their gaudy wrappings printed to resemble a $5 bill, a draft card, or an American Flag. From the rear-view mirror dangles a plastic “Drug Store” sign with a price list inscribed:

* Grass $20-oz.
* Acid $4-tab
* Hashish $10-gram
* Benies 25 c-5 for $1
* Cocaine $30-spoon

… Going through the door to the fresh air outside, you run into the same group of young people who were standing there when you arrived. You step around them, get in your car, and drive home. And you don’t sleep much that night.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s