Family Photo 1973

Christmas 1976

My New Identity: Hippie (1976)

Being a loner mostly put the brakes on partying during high school, which helped me graduate a semester early. Three weeks after starting junior college I dropped out; it was as much an ordeal as high school. I took a shop labor job making minimum wage at my father's scaffolding company and moved in with a guy who worked in the same building. Though I could now afford it, I didn't start getting stoned every day until after my first adult gay sexual affair.

When I was fourteen I "experimented" with another boy that ended in a week when we decided we weren't that horny. Not long after my 18th birthday my new roommate came onto me, a proposal I accepted the very next night. Within two weeks I broke off the affair, consumed with guilt. Smoking pot all day cleared my conscience, so I became a functional pothead, able to everything stoned. I made my first real friends with other hippie stoners and began dropping LSD and doing cocaine when I could afford it.

This 1976 Christmas photo illustrates how un-together I was then, yet I wasn't too stoned to know I was going nowhere. Still college had no appeal to me just then. A months-old package from an Air Force recruiter suddenly made perfect sense. I had no real future and so much to prove, so I marched down to the recruiter's office. What finally swayed me was the old GI Bill, chock full of benefits only pre-1977 enlistees could obtain. So I enlisted in the United States Air Force without really knowing what lay ahead of me. I was that desperate to escape my life and try to find myself. In late February I shipped out to Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Texas.


Family Photo 1975

Two weeks before boot camp