This story is brought to you by my son, and his continuous snooping, as I was sitting in my parents' living room after my father arrived home from the hospital chatting with them and the preacher who came by to wish him well. I was on the computer and we were all laughing and going over the events of the previous weekend, half out of our minds from exhaustion. Keaton, my son is digging through my parents' china cabinet looking for everything and nothing at the same time. Just exploring. My mom and dad's house has been theirs for the past 30 years and as you can imagine there are probably 30 years worth of stuff in those cabinets. All of a sudden I hear," Grandy! I found an old paper, it is from 1993." My ears perked up real quick and I said. " I don't think Keaton needs to be reading the Banner-Press from 1993." Poor Keaton was so interested in it as I snatched it out of his hands before he could see, I may cross that bridge one day but not at that moment. And here's why... After coming back from Austin to live at home with my parents. I did find a job doing hair in a beauty salon in Brenham. Hair was not for me and I knew it. Staring at the clientele as they left the building scrutinizing every hair. Never feeling like the haircut was right. Treacherous, but I had a job and with the help of my family, I tried to put my pieces back together. It wasn't going to be easy because I had pushed the death of my loved one so far back I didn't consider it at all for the reason I was going down this road. I was bitter and angry with little regard for myself or others. Leaving behind my friends in Austin wasn't easy and I missed the lifestyle left behind. It was even worse in my eyes to be back in this lazy town with absolutely no nightlife and the friends I had here would all hang out at a local convenience store looking for enough people to qualify as a party then picking a place to go. No cell phones or internet. Smalltown Texas. These are the times that become so confusing for me. The timeline. In my mind, I think I know in what chronological order they belong but then I know there was no way. All I know is that these things happened and that's that. This story happened right before I moved to Austin and resolved after my return so there is a gap of time I will explain.
It was a rainy day and I slept in until noon woke up and looking under the blinds to the world outside with the sun was bursting through the rain clouds I jumped up knowing I had a short window of time to accomplish what needed to be done. I called my new friend, and the unlucky girl would be a person named Doris. She was a 6 foot tall, 300 pound, 18-year-old, freckle-faced girl, who most people mistook for a man. Well, she dressed like one, again with the combat boots and army fatigues, she had the presence of a giant. She was strange and different and I loved it. We were pals and she was on board with the days' plans. 30 minutes later I was picking her up and we were off to "Three Bridges" a famous crossroads on the outskirts of town where it was gossipped about forever that the cows were fed the exact right type of grain to produce the loveliest psychedelic mushrooms after a rain.
Armed with our hefty sacks we entered the pasture and began picking and I was right, the mushrooms were everywhere, our eyes were bigger than the time we had allowed to us because we were trespassing and cars were coming by. We loaded our bags in the trunk and headed for her apartment.
As we pulled into town we passed a Sherriff and soon we were being followed so I knew it was over and we were in trouble. The Sherriff was coming to get me, as we reached the apartment there were by this time several cop cars arriving with us and we were caught. Taken to the police department, questioned, and released. That was it? We were not arrested. Just confiscated the mushrooms and let go. Whew! That was close. People had been picking mushrooms out there for decades and I never gave it a second thought.
Moving forward a year, I was back from Austin, working and I guess trying a little bit to do the right thing although I was still using drugs but nothing close to what I had left behind. Chatter was going around town that there was going to be this big drug bust. A round-up of sorts. Thoughts of that day with the mushrooms from what seemed like so long ago came flooding back. Could I be a part of that? I remember sitting at work one day talking to my fellow hairstylist and telling her about it and that maybe I would be involved in it. I was right.
Two or three days later while at Soft Touch here came the police and notified me that I was under arrest and needed to come with them. So we walked out of the door of the salon, and it was quite the show because parked in the little lot along Day St. several cruisers were there to get just ME as if I was going to run or something accompanied by our local paper The Banner-Press with the newspaper photographer standing in front snapping my picture like "Say Cheese!". This wasn't gonna be good.
Booked at the station and put in a holding cell to sit with a few other women that were arrested in the same sting. It seems to me that I was the story that day because at one point my lawyer pulled me out of the holding cell long enough for the police to allow the press back there to ask me questions about what I did to be in jail and I answered with something rude and sarcastic
Somehow TV cameras from the show "City Under Seige' were let in the back to approach me and question me about what I did to get here. Shocked and pissed about it because I could see the police in the background smiling about their accomplishments. I was none too pleased. I made a smart remark and my lawyer jumped in front of the camera and I was placed directly back into the holding tank to await bail. Next day...I was in the local paper called The Banner Press, not in the "Brenham Beat", which is a little excerpt in the paper listing 911 calls and arrests. I was on the front page of the paper with my picture, the one they took as the police walked me out of my work. Headline news. I couldn't believe it and personally, I was enraged. I was made into an example for the town. I was the face of our first "B. A. D. (Brenham Against Drugs)" drug bust. The poster child and cover for the whole operation because they held on to my case for a year so they could do this and if you ever find the copy of that paper a lot of people were stung because it was in the middle of the crack epidemic which ultimately turned out to be govt. corruption.
Mushrooms as it turned out were a controlled substance and I was charged along with everyone else for the same thing. This was shady and fully changed the course of my and Doris's lives forever. Besides the paper, I was also on the evening broadcast of "City Under Seige" which was kinda like "Cops", but it was based in Houston and used to cap off the news for ratings. I am from Houston, so are all of my Aunts and Uncles. Needless to say, the phone was ringing at our house that evening and no one knew what to say. What looked like me just about to get on my feet after an insane 2 years of self-destruction turned into the police taking an opportunity and using it in their favor. I bet I was the first person in the history of Washington County to ever get charged with picking mushrooms out at "Three Bridges."
My second arrest. Remember? I got caught shoplifting earlier in life and had already been on juvenile probation for years. I've written my life story a few times and share it in a blog for 15 years in order to help myself and possibly help others suffering through similar life choices. In order to keep it, you have to give it away. The court was not too pleased with me and my behavior. I was slapped with a felony and received 5 years probation (adjudicated) 250 hours of community service.
If talking about this makes me seem as if I am not taking responsibility for my actions and maybe come across as disconnected I want to say that I am now writing about this 30 years after it happened and I do have clarity about what I went through in my small town. I served all of my time, worked all of the community service hours, completed my probation, and went on to be a productive member of society living in the same town never having another issue with criminality, whatsoever. I stayed here and raised my family in this town. My parents and sisters still live within ten minutes of me. This is my town and these are my experiences in it. Good and bad, The good times are great memories that are stored in my heart and the not-so-great things need to be worked out, so I write about it on my own website in a way of documenting. I am okay with this.
I have carried the charges on my back for 30 years and still today so I don't think I am in the wrong for trying to figure out my own life. This is where it happened and I cried real tears of sorrow when I sketched and painted this structure that sits in the middle of my hometown which I am still working around. I love this town and I appreciate this building for its historical nature. I know I have offended people being so open about the place I live and the hardships I have faced while being here and that's okay and I will be alright but this is my space to feel; understand; and document my life and I will continue to do so.
To be continued...