Mully: We barely made it to Wenatchee. It was the middle of winter, zero degrees and snow everywhere. We had to drive our Volkswagen across the steep Cascade passes.
We finally arrived, and the first thing I did was open the local newspaper. There on the first page was an anti-black editorial, lifted from the school newspaper, saying “Who in the hell do these black kids think they are?” There had never been any black students in Wenatchee or Eastern Wenatchee before. There was one black man who lived over in Eastern Wenatchee somewhere.
I look at Skip, and I said, “Ok Skip, this is where we are, and I feel like I have to respond to this editorial. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? That we’re not going to make it here because it is too conservative? If we get kicked out we’ll just go spend the summer in Yosemite.”
We met the few black students. They were great!
They were from the ghetto area of Lubbock, Texas. They were our age and they had already had careers of their own, and now they were at Wenatchee Valley College on athletic scholarships to later get scholarships to four year colleges. It was part of the integration (Civil Rights) movement. The beginning of Affirmative Action. Somebody up there in the White House was heading up civil rights legislation and trying to balance out the racism and segregation of the past 100+ years.
These new friends were at our house getting stoned every night. I was not smoking, but again getting my contact high. Cere was waking up at 2am and sometimes she would join us. Quincy and Mac, our new friends, introduced us to their great music like jazz and Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, all the best. I remember this hard plastic ball with a butterfly inside of it, Cere’s ball, that we always played catch with while we were talking about the state of the world. Cere loved those spontaneous middle of the night gatherings.
So there we were, just doing our thing; eating fried chicken from the South and listening to music. I was still one of the only women.
The rising social issue on college campuses was about getting the military presence off of school grounds. Demonstrations were happening in the Bay Area and other colleges. Since Wenatchee Valley College also had ROTC, we decided to have a demonstration to get ROTC off campus. The Black Panthers already existed. We were going to do our thing! We felt this action would support the national political struggle.
Skip showed the Black Panther movies to anyone in the student body who wanted to see them and we were singing “off the pigs.” We held the sit-in in the president’s office. Of course I couldn’t go into the sit in with Cere, but we baked a cake and carrying Cere on my hip, we passed it through the window to the protesters.
Our friend, Robby, came from Seattle to support us. I stood up in the assembly with him to explain what the sit-in was about and we got booed. The police came and the administration and demonstrators negotiated a deal. They walked out and everything was fine.
It was May 1969. A couple days later, Skip got called up to the administration office. The administration felt conclusively that Skip had taken a leadership role in fomenting dissent and encouraging the sit in. They offered to cut him a new deal on his job. He could continue teaching if he was “a good boy”. Being a good boy meant he could not fraternize with the students. He could not even chaperone a dance. He could only engage with his students in the classroom. So he negotiated his resignation. And we made plans to leave.
We were controversial in the town by this point. We lived in a small house with a white picket fence on the corner of a main street in town, so we decided to have a large garage sale, to accumulate some money for travelling on. Quincy and Mac came to “protect” us, and to help us with the sale. Quincy had on what he called his “negotiating clothes.” He was dressed up with his green shirt and gold cuff links.
After the sale we packed up our Volkswagen bus with stuff and people. Me, Cere and Skip, Quincy and Mac and another young guy, Stewart. We all left town in high spirits ready for the next adventure. Where did we go? Where else? Berkeley.