What were we Thinking

1967 was the year of Turn on, Tune in, And Drop out, It was the mantra of the sixties generation. Black Panthers carrying guns were defending themselves from police. and giving free lunches to children. Vietnam war  protests started being held in stadiums. Cities on fire because of Race riots. Dope was everywhere, pot, LSD, heroin, students being shot by riot police and dying on their campuses. And it was scaring the shit out of the establishment. 

What were we thinking 17- and 18-year-old women exploring sex without marriage and no birth control available to them? Young men were careless in not using condoms. So unwanted pregnancies and unwed mothers abounded.

My best friend believes she became pregnant during her first sexual experience. She married a 16-year-old boy who was a wild one. He ended up in jail. A premature child was born. He survived and there was something romantic in the experience of playing house. Bill , served his time.was released from jail and Karen was waiting with her baby and everything they owned packed in an old van. Chicago was the destination where a fresh start could become a reality based on a dream. The fringe of the revolution was creeping quickly up to them. What were we thinking?

Soon I became pregnant and wrapped myself in the delusion of love. My reality was I had nowhere to live. Women that I shared an apartment with also became pregnant. So we had to go home or get married. Some Babies were placed up for adoption so the mother could get on with her life and not embarrass their family. And one unwed mother who would have a child out of wedlock.

Bernice and Al, my foster parents. Did not want me to return to their home. They took my car. So I lost my job. I called Karen, and;she said I could live with her and Bill. It wasn’t long before I was on a bus to Chicago. I felt like a character in a sad romance novel.

The bus station was a huge round building filled with people coming and going and it was loud.  Never had I been in such a building,  after waiting a few minutes inside, I decided waiting outside would be a better option… I spun around and around with my small cardboard suitcase. There were so many doors, which one should I choose?  I found my way out onto the street where I waited. No show. I was sick with panic. A cab driver asked if I needed a ride. Even tho I had never been in a cab and had no money, I took him up on his offer. Gave him a street address and told him my friends would pay for my fare. When I arrived Karen wasn’t home. I couldn’t pay the driver. I curled up into the smallest ball possible in the entrance to the building and prayed the driver would leave and not kill me. What were we thinking?

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