Today I got a plain manila envelope from the California State Highway Patrol. I panicked and searched my mind desperately for the last illegal thing I did in California. There was that illegal lane change in Joshua Tree, 6 years ago. Could it be a traffic court summons? I gingerly pried open the tape and found a musty old leather wallet inside with paisley patterns on the lining. I realized with a shock it was a wallet I lost in 1972 on a hitchhiking trip near Big Sur. I can just barely remember standing in a long line of hippies on the side of the road. We all had our thumbs out hoping to be interesting enough for a ride up the coast. I was coming home from a month long hitching trip to see a girlfriend in Frisco. I remember looking for my wallet. Talk about a trip down memory lane. There was my moldy original social security card, My drivers license card, look at that haircut! Plus a couple of rolling papers, now what could those have been for? And a lot of old miscellaneous receipts and notes about people who had given me rid es or hospitality on the road. There was even an REI membership refund for 3 dollars. There were a bunch of phone numbers of friends long lost in the mists of time. I couldn’t help wondering what was going through the minds of the clerk at the Highway Patrol who finally decided to go to the trouble of finding my current address and returning my long lost wallet 28 years later. But hey, thank guys!
NOTE: this is an excerpt from an old online journal I’ve had since 1997. You can email me if you’d like to read more from those days. It’s in a hidden directory at the request of one of my old deans.