Three Excerpts from
Lynette Fromme’s Unpublished Book
We all came from houses with doors, doors that were supposed to be closed when there were things going on that we weren’t supposed to see, and when our pants were down. Making love was never shown to us. It was explained, as if a chore and a duty, hidden behind those doors. And little by little, action by action, we learned not to believe in anything, and that the word “Love” was not understandable, so, therefore, not to be discussed often. In essence, we learned all the guilt, the heavy guilt, that makes bad out of feeling good.
Out from under we popped, to get away from those doors, and the chore of it, and find something exciting, and do something that felt good.
My father had kicked me out of his house at the height of an argument over an opinion difference. He had become so enraged. He told me never to come back, and that was all the severance it took. I had no place to go. I stuck out my thumb on a freeway entrance, going through all my tears to Venice, where I remembered beatniks lived. Afraid, with all my books, my dictionary, my eye makeup clutched to me, I sat on a bench staring at the ocean.
Suddenly, an elfish, dirty little creature in a little cap hopped over the low wall, grinning, saying “What’s the problem?” He was either old, or very young. I couldn’t tell. He had a two-day beard and reminded me of a fancy hobo—rather elegant, but my fear was up.
“How did you know?” I started to say, and he smiled really bright, and I had the strangest feeling that he knew my thoughts.
“Up in the Haight I’m called the gardener,” he said. “I tend to all the flower children.” My mind was struck with the thought . . . that a gardener plants seeds, and I became more afraid and clenched my legs together. “It’s alright,” he told me, and I could feel in his voice that it was. He had the most delicate, quick motion, like magic, as if glided along by air, and a smile that went from warm daddy to twinkely devil. I couldn’t tell what he was.
I was enchanted and afraid all at once, and I put my head down and wished he would go away, and when I looked up, really he was gone! And I turned my head, wanting to talk to him now with urgency. And as soon as I turned back around, there he was again, sitting on the wall, grinning at me. I had only conceived of such things in fairy tales.
“So your father kicked you out,” he said with certainty, and once again my mind went with the wind, and I laughed and relaxed . . . We talked and I felt very good with him and freer, much freer. “The way out of a room is not through the door,” he said, laughing. “Just don’t want out and you’re free.” Then he unfolded a tale of the 20 years he’s spent behind bars, of the struggle and the giving up and the loving of himself.
We came back to the fact that I didn’t have any place to go. He told me that he was on his way to the woods up north and that I could come with him if I wished. I declined, having obligations to fulfill, having three weeks of my first college semester left. Then I looked at him, wanting to get up, crunching up my face in thought. “Well,” he said, moving down the walk, “I can’t make up your mind for you.” He smiled a soft feeling and was on his way. I grabbed my books, running to catch up with him. I don’t know why—I didn’t care—and I never left.
I felt close to him and layed on his shoulder, wanting a daddy to hold me . . . I hoped that he would pursue me or touch me, or rape me or anything good really, yet without me giving up to it. It was a little girl-game I wanted to play. But instead he told me: “So, you’ve been hurt and now you’ve locked yourself up. You’ve got all your love tied up in the past, and associated with bad or sad experiences. You wanted your daddy to hit you, didn’t you?” It was so and I nodded. As all daughters, I had wanted all the attention I could get from my daddy . . .
Day by day, we became more aware of Charlie, who was ever aware of us, and each tree and each branch and each leaf. The way he explained it was this: “What’s happened, see, is me not adjusting to the ‘Free World’. I’ve made up my own world. In other words, I didn’t and wouldn’t adjust to society and their reality of things.