Mully: Everyone in the left wing knew of each other, so I eventually found this great group of moms and children that were part of the Red Family. Their idea was to create a liberated zone, similar to those of the NLF, the National Liberation Front, the Vietcong of North Vietnam, who were trying to develop safe zones for their families and villages, while they were fighting to defeat the US invasion. So the Red Family also created a zone of activity on a residential block in Berkeley.
Members of the Red Family had purchased several houses. One couple had split up. Robert Scheer, Bob, the dad, had a house on one end of the street and Ann, the mom, had the house on the other end of the street. They took the “e” off of Bateman and called the street, Batman.
Ann hooked up with Tom Hayden, who had started SDS at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He went on to be in the California State House of Representatives and married to Jane Fonda. Bob, ran Ramparts Magazine and now is on NPR for the Left perspective. These people were some of the movers and shakers of those times. They were all parents and the moms were all Feminists.
Again, we were in a little hotbed of counter-cultural activity. We were so political!!
The Red Family wanted to have a childcare program that included other children in the neighborhood, so as not to be separatist while also creating a place for all the children of the politicos. So I got involved and helped to develop that program. For the first time I was going back to that primary experience in college of connecting to the joy of being with children and their families in a more comprehensive, helpful way: a way of service!
Ann and Bob’s son, Christopher, named the children’s program the Blue Fairyland. Once we were open, we were committed to exposing our children to all the historical events we felt were important. We took our kids to San Quentin when prison guards killed the Black Panther, George Jackson. Our kids were everywhere there was a demonstration. We also were committed to them having fun and so we took them to the Y to go swimming. We all stripped down in the same locker room together, the men, women and kids. It was a very 60s thing to do.
Country Joe had a young daughter named Seven, and they started coming to the Blue Fairyland. Joe brought his guitar and played while we sang and danced the Hokey Pokey with all the children. We became good friends. Just this summer Joe was inspired to have a Blue Fairyland reunion in 2014.
Even though our time there with the Blue Fairyland was brief, it was another merging of fierce ideas and action; trying to change the way things were and make them “better”. Although, upon reflection and years of work with children, “What were we thinking? Bringing those little children to San Quentin, and exposing them to so much adult pain and suffering? “ It really was unconscious, and too much for them, I know now.
I was involved with everything that interested me. The guy down the street was rebuilding his Volkswagen, so I learned to rebuild my Volkswagen. For money we did hauling jobs. We had an ad in the paper. You could call us and we would come to your house and haul your shit away. Of course, we would keep the good stuff, which we used to furnish our own home.
By this time our good friend, Bob Sabatini, lived with us. Bob was gay and we loved each other. He would rearrange the furniture every couple weeks. The house was always full. Robby lived in Seattle but had to go to Court in Alameda County from an arrest, so he was in and out and Bob often brought home boyfriends from San Francisco.
Meanwhile this family living next door with two little girls was having the perfect experience in mainstream USA. Cere liked playing with them, making friends. We as neighbors and parents stood in the yard and talked about raising girls, because all girls are different.
Wow! My story is so long, no one really wants to hear it all.
Eliza: I do. It’s your life! I love hearing it!
Another question for me right now is, “What does it mean to be true to myself as a woman?” I want a career. I want children. It’s overwhelming. You have referred to it a bit but I would love to hear more about what it has meant to be a woman in your life?