It's funny how small things can change your perspective.
In my case, it was a single ray of sunshine coming through a gap in the tattered curtains that didn't quite cover the window to the apartment. It was a bright early autumn morning, around 8, maybe 8:30, one of those days that makes California truly golden.
First, it caught my eye, waking me up from a restless sleep, then it hit Maggie's face just right. She was still zonked out, lying on her back, her naked breasts heaving slightly with each intake of breath.
As I looked, I saw -- really saw -- the nascent lines on her face, the crow's feet at the corners of her eyes, the crease at each end of her mouth, the ever-so-slight etchings of time across her cheeks.
It really highlighted her age, which at that moment was 34 years.
I looked away, sat up and fished for the bong. The little well surrounding the bowl still had a fair bit of weed left, so I packed a hit, found the lighter, fired it up and sucked in the pungent smoke.
Then I looked back at the woman I'd been so madly in love with -- beguiled would be more like it -- and she was the same mature beauty she'd always been.
But I'd been given a brief glimpse of just how old this woman was, and how young I was, and the question flashed through my mind. "Is this who I really want to spend my life with? Is this really the life I want to live?"
Suddenly, I knew it was over.
"Wake up, Maggie," I said as I shook her shoulders gently. "I think I've got something to say to you..."
Ah, Maggie May. What can I say about her that would do her justice?
Her full, given name was Maggie May Cortes, and I'm not lying when I say she was a real mature beauty. Oh, she wasn't a knockout in the model sense, but if you took in the whole package, she was awfully hard to resist.
She was kind of tall, maybe 5-foot-10, and slender, with mysterious dark eyes, high cheekbones, a sensuous mouth and a body that had no excess anywhere. I would eventually find out that her father was Spanish and her mother Irish, a rather wicked combination.
Of course, it wasn't until you became intimate with her that you understood that she had a bit of the earth mama about her. She adamantly refused to shave her legs or her armpits, and, strangely enough, I found it sexy. At least I did at the time.
You have to understand. I was a young hippie, in thrall to the lifestyle of the Sixties, and Maggie was a dedicated veteran from the Haight. She'd grown up in the city, turned 18 in 1965 and she'd been there for all of it -- the good, the bad and the ugly.
Me? I came along much too late to be a true flower child. I was born in 1959 and was just a kid living in Santa Clara when the whole hippie scene blossomed.
But just because I couldn't experience the "real" thing didn't mean I couldn't be a second-generation flower puppy. Oh, as long as I was in high school living at home, I didn't completely drop out, as they used to say. But I did tune in and I did turn on, at least a little.
Fact is, I was a good student, graduating on the honor roll, and a respectable athlete. I had the size to be a pretty good tight end -- 6-foot-2, 220 pounds -- and I enjoyed playing football, even if I didn't completely buy into the jock mentality.
When I graduated, I had a few scholarship offers, and the one I chose was at USF -- the University of San Francisco. After a year at the dorm, I moved into an apartment a block or so off campus and sank myself into the life of the urban college guy.
That's where this tale really begins.
I'm the youngest of four kids, and my nearest sibling was four years my senior. So I grew up pretty much on my own, and by the time I got to be a teenager, my folks were burned out on trying to be strict disciplinarians.
All three of my siblings -- my brother is the oldest, then there are two girls -- were headstrong and confrontational about everything. They bought into the "generation gap" thing, and spent their teenage years at war with my folks.
Ironically, they really weren't into the hippie scene that was going on just up the road in San Francisco. Their rebellion was far more political. They argued -- no, fought -- with my folks over integration, Vietnam, sexual mores, clothes, music, just anything, really.
And they really and truly didn't get along with either of my parents, who, admittedly, weren't particularly understanding about what was going on in the wider world, and weren't very willing to compromise their values to fit changing times...
You have to remember, my folks had come of age during World War II, when lock-step patriotism and conformity was a way of life. Moreover, Dad grew up on the stories of war heroes, and as soon as he could, he left home and joined the Navy.
By then, the war was over, and Dad served his four years rather uneventfully, then left the service and set about raising a family.
Since I was the kid in the family, I kept my head down, my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open. I learned a lot from the mistakes my brother and sisters made. I figured out pretty quick that I could get anything I wanted from my folks if I just played nice. I was helpful around the house, wasn't mouthy and did my best to get along.
As a result, my parents let me get away with shit my siblings would have had to fight pitched battles to get.
Among those things was the OK to go into the city for rock concerts. I guess they figured it was a losing battle, plus they liked my best friend that I went with, mostly because his folks always took us and picked us up. We went to all the shows, at least the ones on the west side of the bay, at places like the Cow Palace and Winterland.
It was at Winterland that I saw the show that changed my life. I was 14 in the fall of 1973 when I first encountered the Grateful Dead. That was also the first time I got high, and the cosmic symbiosis of those two events shaped my life for the next 8-9 years.
I was mesmerized by the way Jerry Garcia played the guitar, they way Phil Lesh played lead bass lines, the seamless ebb and flow of the music, a free form of rock I'd never heard before.
I came away determined to have that experience as often as possible, and from then on, almost right up to the bitter end in 1995, not long before Jerry died, I was a dedicated Deadhead.
Oh, once I became an adult, with a job, a family and responsibilities, I didn't go to as many shows as I did when I was young. But I usually saw a couple of shows a year until the end.
Oddly, I've never had any desire to see the "new" Dead. As far as I'm concerned, the Grateful Dead died with Jerry.
Anyway, I talked my parents into buying me an inexpensive electric guitar for Christmas that year, and I taught myself how to play. Eventually, I figured out that I wasn't going to be much of a player, so when I was a junior in high school, I saved up money from a summer job and bought a bass guitar. That I could play decently.
As a result, high school was a stone blast. I played football in the fall, then spent the winter playing in a succession of garage bands, going to concerts, playing a few gigs here and there, then I'd spend three weeks in the spring back practicing football.
As for girls, well, I recall what Eddie Van Halen said about playing the guitar. He said, "When I got good, I got all the pussy I wanted."
I never got "good," but that didn't matter. I was a big guy, nice-looking and I played guitar in a band. So, yeah, I got laid early and often in high school.
And nothing changed at USF, except the women got better looking and more adventurous.
It was during the semester break my junior year that everything changed. I was at a Dead show at the Coliseum in Oakland during the New Year's run in 1980, and the guy I was with started having a bad trip.
I think maybe he got into some bad mushrooms or something, because he got sick and was really seeing some weird shit. I never cared much for shrooms, I guess, because I had to eat a fair amount before they affected me, and they always made me nauseous.
LSD, on the other hand, I could gobble like aspirin, and during that period in my life, I never went to Dead show (or any other concert) without tripping my ass off.
That night, I was just starting to peak, and I had no clue how to deal with my buddy. I'd never seen anybody freak out like that, and I was looking around in a mounting panic when this woman came over to us and took over the situation.
As she talked my friend into a calmer state of mind, I checked her out, and I could feel my groin tingling as I watched her. After she got him calmed down, she gave me a very sardonic look, maybe because she knew I'd been checking her out.
Why wouldn't I? She was wearing a tight sweater, and her unfettered tits were jiggling nicely -- and noticeably -- under that sweater. She also had on a low-slung peasant skirt and sandals. Even at the first, I was mesmerized.
"I'm Maggie," she said with laughter in her voice. "Maggie May Cortes. And you are?"
"Chris Wilson," I said. "My pleasure."
We started chatting, and the next thing I knew we were dancing together as the show reached a crescendo.
When it was over, Maggie offered to help me get my friend home securely. He was still a little shaky, and I was grateful for the help. I was also still feeling the effects of my own acid intake, one of which was intense arousal.
"What about the people you came to with?" I asked, not wanting to intrude on her scene.
"Oh, I didn't come with anybody special," she said. "Just people from around. Besides, I'd rather take you home and fuck your brains out."
Well, that was pretty direct, and that's what happened.
Maggie lived in an apartment that was upstairs in an old Victorian home on Ashbury Street. To be honest, it was kind of a dump, but at the time I thought it was Gates of Heaven.
"Have a seat," she said, while she went over to the stereo and looked through some cassette tapes for some music.
I couldn't help but chuckle, because it was just like in "Norwegian Wood," the old Beatles classic, and I recalled the line, "she told me to sit anywhere, so I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair."
The closest thing to a chair in Maggie's apartment was a large beanbag, so that's where I plopped my butt down. I watched as she crouched down fiddling with the stereo, then she stood up and walked toward me, firing up a modest-sized doobie as she came and sat next to me on the beanbag chair.
As she sat down, the sounds of some really cool jazz wafted from the smallish speakers, and it wasn't long before some really awesome saxophone sounds were bursting forth in a very Garcia-like fashion.
It was very free-form and intense, and I found myself letting the music play me, in the finest Grateful Dead tradition, while we shared a joint of some really kind bud...
I asked Maggie who we were listening to, and she said it was John Coltrane. I was familiar with the name, but I'd never been much of a fan of jazz, so I'd never really been exposed to his music. I have to say, however, that I liked it
"Coltrane always makes me so horny," Maggie said, in her throaty voice. Already, she was weaving her spell, almost like she was some sorceress, a Morgan LaFey or Cleopatra or some other seductress of legend.
Of course, I was still tripping on the really good blotter I'd dropped just before I left the apartment I shared with a couple of other USF students, although I was on the ragged down side of my trip.
We shared the joint while 'Trane wailed away in the background, then Maggie left the roach in the ash tray, pulled me to her and we kissed, hard and deep.
I was immediately hard as steel from the way her tongue slashed with mine, and the way her hands roamed over my body. My own hands were sliding up her legs to her naked pussy, which was hot and wet.
We were hot for it now. I pulled her sweater over her head and feasted my eyes on her perfect tits. They weren't too big or too small, right at a handful. Her skirt soon followed, and she lay back naked on the bean bag chair, her eyes a blazing invitation.
Maggie quickly got my own sweater off, the T-shirt I had on under it and my jeans. My cock swayed in front of me as I got up on my knees between Maggie's legs. There was no pretense at foreplay, or anything like that. We were high as a kite and ready to fuck.
"That's it, Chris," she purred. "Come up here and fuck Mama."
I didn't care that she was considerably older than me. All I saw was a hot-blooded woman who wanted my cock, and I wanted her juicy pussy. I aimed the head of my cock at her cunt and slid in like a knife through hot butter.
As I bottomed out, Maggie reached up with her arms and pulled me to her, while she wrapped her legs around my waist to keep my groin close to hers.
I could not believe how she felt. It was like a velvet vise, strong, soft and muscular. I realized as I got up to speed that everything I knew about sex was out the window.
I'd had girls before, but this was a woman, and I slowed my pace, because I wanted to make sure I gave this woman every ounce of pleasure I possibly could. The acid was giving me complete control as I varied my pace, the sensations mounting to ecstatic heights.
In and out, back and forth, around and around, I gave Maggie everything I had as we kissed ravenously. Our sweat-slick bodies were giving off sparks of lust as we slithered together on that bean bag.
Maggie was making the sounds of passion you would expect, moans, mewls and gasps as I fucked her with all the expertise I'd accumulated over the years.
As I could feel the tingle in my scrotum that told me by cum was about to boil over, I hooked Maggie's knees with my elbows, pulled her legs up in the air and began to jackhammer her pussy relentlessly.
Her body was shimmying and writhing as her own climax reached a peak. We were perfectly in sync, climbing higher and higher together. I was straining now, grunting as I worked my cock faster and harder in Maggie's clenching cunt.
Just about the time Maggie went into orgasmic convulsions, I gave her three really hard, deep thrusts and surrendered a cumload that felt like rusty nails spewing out the end of my dick.
I just kept churning and spitting out balls of cum as we clutched each other in mutual rapture. Our eyes were locked in what I could only say was incipient love -- our at least deep affection.
I knew in that moment that I'd found the woman I wanted. Later, much later, I'd look back at that moment with no small amount of awe and confusion.
It's really hard to explain the hold Maggie had on me. I was 21-years-old by then, and I'd had plenty of serious girlfriends and plenty of casual relationships before I met Maggie.
Plus, I had grown up in a big-city suburban environment, so I was no naïve innocent latching onto an adult who was there to guide me into manhood.
Moreover, my mind knew that our relationship wasn't healthy, but my body and soul rejected what my mind knew to be true.
For most of 1981, I let my cock rule my life. All I wanted during that period was to be with Maggie, and I overlooked a lot of shit and let a large part of my life fall by the wayside.
Of course, we weren't done that night. In fact, I wasn't even done with the first time. I never completely went soft, but just kept fucking her with short strokes that gradually got longer as my cock re-stiffened from the combination of lust and LSD.
I was in a completely different world, one that was reduced to my cock and Maggie's cunt. I just kept on fucking her relentlessly until I gave up a second hard cumshot, and as I did, Maggie's eyes rolled back in her head as she came again from the power of my orgasm.
We finally climbed in her bed and this time we moved into a 69, working our mouths on our dirty sex -- hell, we didn't care -- then she rode me to a third climax before we finally collapsed in cosmic exhaustion, drenched in sweat and completely drained.
I went with Maggie to the rest of the shows in the run, culminating in the New Year's Eve extravaganza that was already a Grateful Dead tradition. We'd go to the shows, where I met her friends and confederates, then go back to her place and fuck like minks.
As besotted with her as I was, it was close to the same with her. I'm not sure what she saw in me, maybe a young stud who could fuck her all night or maybe a young kid she could manipulate. But whatever it was, she told me frequently that she'd never met anyone who made her feel like I did.
Who knows? Maybe she really meant it. Or maybe she just wanted a young guy to work her magic on, someone who hadn't lived long enough to become jaded and cynical, someone who would be so blinded by love that he wouldn't see the lines and wrinkles on her face and in her soul.
After New Year's I tried to get back into my normal life, but my heart wasn't into it. I went back to school, but I spent most of my nights and a lot of my days with Maggie.
She worked sporadically at a record shop down the street from her apartment, but apparently it wasn't really much of a job, in that she came and went when she pleased. As I was soon to find out, the only important thing in her life was the Dead.
Basically, there are -- or were -- two types of Deadheads.
There were the normal Deadheads, the ones who enjoyed the band when they came around, but who had real lives and other interests.
Then there were the Tourheads, or the professional Deadheads as I came to call them. These were the people whose entire musical catalog was Grateful Dead albums and bootlegs tapes, or Dead influences, such as Coltrane and Charlie Christian. These were the people who traveled all over the country trying to see every Dead show they could.
Maggie, I quickly learned, was a Tourhead. She'd actually gone to high school with Bob Weir and, I suspect, had spent a few nights in one or the other band member's beds back in the day.
It was in mid-February that the moment of truth arrived. The Dead were headed east for their first extended tour of the year, and she was going, along with some of her Tourhead friends.
I was torn. I still had a scholarship and my grades had been good, up until that semester. I hated the thought of giving up my scholarship and dropping out of school, but frankly the thought of going six weeks without Maggie wasn't appealing.
And, too, I was feeling burned out on schoolwork, and I'd already spent so much time cutting classes to be with her that my GPA was plummeting. I'd never really been out of the West, and I was restless to see the rest of the country.
I told myself I needed a break, a time to be free and just experience life. So I told her I'd go.
I dreaded telling my folks, because I figured they'd never understand. I was half-right. My mom was aghast at the thought of her baby quitting school and traipsing off with a crowd she thought of as little more than gypsies.
Surprisingly, however, my dad gave me his approval, grudging though it may have been. He knew something of a young person's wanderlust, having joined the Navy right out of high school. He also had something he wanted me to take.
He took me downstairs to where we had our game room, which was dominated by a very nice pool table. Dad always bragged about earning extra spending money as a pool shark during his stint in the Navy, and he'd taught all of us kids as much as he could about the game.
It was the one thing all of us had in common, the one place where we bonded. And I'd gotten to be the best player among the four siblings. By the time I got into high school, I could more than hold my own against Dad, and I'd been known to hold a table all night at some of the pubs around the USF campus.
He handed me a small case, and I was stunned speechless, because I knew what it was. It was his competition-quality pool cue and he wanted me to take it with me on my trip.
"I suspect you're gonna be doing some hustling for cash," he said, his gruffness masking his emotions. "I'd rather you hustled with this than selling drugs. Take good care of it."
With that I took my leave, and it would be months before I darkened their door again. I would be a changed person when I did.
There were about a dozen or so in the group we traveled with. Maggie had, believe it or not, a vintage 1967 VW Microbus that she kept in pristine condition. We piled in the bus, and a couple of the guys rode Harleys. Needless to say, it was a pretty eclectic crowd.
One of the group that was traveling with us was an ex-biker that we called Easy Ed, and he was the mechanic in charge of keeping the machines going. He and I got to be really good friends, because we were the only ones with an interest in sports.
The first stop was Chicago, and that's where I first learned the inner workings of Tourheads. It was rare that we arrived at a venue with tickets in hand, so the first order of business was scamming a way into the show.
The next was raising funds, and we did that in several ways, one of which, regrettably, was selling LSD.
We also had one girl in the group who was adept at tie-dying T-shirts and designing art that she could transpose onto shirts and sweatshirts that we would sell in the parking lots.
The girls were also not above turning a trick or two, and I quickly learned that included Maggie. In fact, it would eventually come out that she was sort of the ringleader in that pursuit.
It kind of pissed me off, because I loved her (or thought I did), but what could I do? It was all a hustle, and she was only doing what she had to do for the group. Besides, we were just practicing a free-love mantra of the '60s, weren't we? And I did end up fucking most of the other girls who were with us.
But that was just a small bit of unpleasantness in an otherwise blissful experience. The freedom was intoxicating, not to mention the plentiful drugs.
And I quickly became quite good at finding pool halls where I learned how to hustle. I'd take Easy Ed with me for back-up and we'd stroll in looking like out-of-place hippies.
At first, the real players wouldn't take me seriously, but after they saw my stick and after I started winning they'd sit up and take notice.
I soon got a feel for how far I could go before calling it a night, and I always left with some cash in hand, sometimes as much as $500 a pop.
From Chicago, we went to Cleveland, then Pittsburgh, DC (actually the University of Maryland), on to a run at Madison Square Garden, then to Boston and finally to Hartford.
A couple of the group wanted to go on and follow the band to Europe, where they were playing a few shows in London and Scotland, but Maggie and I both said no. I was Maggie's right-hand man, and usually what we said went.
We skipped the Dead's Eastern tour in May, but decided to hit the road again in the summer, when the band would make a Midwestern swing. That's when things started getting crazy.
There were some serious high times on that tour, but the one that stands out -- way out -- happened on the second stop. It was the Fourth of July, a Saturday night that year, at Austin, Texas, after we'd started the tour in Houston.
Actually, the show was at an old racetrack 15 miles or so outside of Austin at a place called Manor Downs. We pulled into the parking area early that day and Maggie and I set up the tent where we'd be sleeping.
By tacit agreement, we pitched our tent a little bit away from the vehicle, which was designated as Party Central. That gave us some privacy where we could fuck, or just crash, as the mood struck us.
It was hot that day, not quite as hot as it could have been, given that it was July deep in the heart of Texas. But it was hot enough, and across the road was a cattle pond that looked awfully inviting.
So Maggie and I decided to go over and join the crowd that was taking a dip. We just stripped and dove in. As we frolicked in the muddy -- but oh so cool -- water, I noticed this cute redhead chick with nice tits standing by herself in the water.