Monday, October 21, 2013

A Correction to the Book

Memoirs of a Hippie Girl Correction

For those who already have my book please note: There is a photo on page two that is mis-identified as Donny. This is not a photo of Donny but another friend from the same era. Please do not associate this photo with the character Donny.

This is just a nice photo of a friend in a stylish outfit which greatly resembled a photo I once had of Donny. As these pictures are over forty years old and my brain is 60, I got them mixed up.

I profoundly regret the error and apologize to anyone who knew the gentleman in the picture and might be offended.

Ann Becoy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Gift of Life

Today is a Blessed Happy Day for me. I am  celebrating the Gift of my son who was born on this day 38 years ago.  

I would like to share a little bit of his story.

As a twenty one year old kid who just got out of jail and had spent the previous year in India...I was not at all ready to have a baby. Yet as a spiritual seeker and sensitive soul I did not have the heart to have an abortion. What to do?  On my beloved's advice I sought out the counsel of other women. Each one had a different suggestion. One said: carry to baby to term and then give up for adoption. Yikes!I could never do that. (Like it was a pineapple...just carry it for nine months and then give it away.)

Another said "just have an abortion. It's really not that big a deal as long as it's in the first tri-mester it is safe and it is legal these days". When I recoiled she said: We feminists worked really hard to abortion legalised so that women could have a safe way to terminate "unwanted" pregnancies.

"Unwanted pregnancy." I wasn't sure that it really was "unwanted". I just didn't want it now. I had only been with A. for three months. We were just kind of getting to know each other. It was much too soon. I had just been through a very traumatic period in my life and it turned out so had A. We both felt that this was jut not the right  time. I was torn and tormented not knowing what to do with my "unwanted" pregnancy.

Luckily for me...a vision came in the form of a dream. Or maybe it was a dream in the form of a vision. Either way I was given a very profound message by a group of angels who appeared to me in the form of several well known saints. I found myself  in the middle of a circle of these beaming, smiling, beneficent beings and was wonder struck to find myself there. Not one of the Holy one's spoke. They all communicated with me telepathically and I some how knew and understood everything they were saying without words.

At the centre of this circle of saintly souls I was suddenly told to look in my hand. I felt something and then opened my left hand and there was a ruby red glistening jewel in the palm of my hand. What did it mean? I wondered to myself.
The answer came swiftly enough from the circle of saints and as they beamed their loving kindness upon me I began to weep like a child. Yes, I understood. I looked at the jewel again and saw that it was in fact a large drop of blood. Then I woke up. The message those beings gave me was nothing less than this: "How can you reject a gift from God".

I knew that I was indeed blessed. I told my partner about my dream and when I revealed all the angels he said well what are we gonna do? And I said: "I'm cancelling the abortion".

And so Auriel came into my life. With angels trumpeting his arrival. Seriously! This dream was so profound I had no choice but to follow my "higher intuition".

Needless to say everything worked out. His dad and I got married. I converted to Judaism, Auriel was born and my life has been ever  blessed.
Ann Bekooy

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jailed in Bombay!

Jailed in Bombay 1972 - A True Story

Before I Went to Sleep Each Night I had a little ritual: I put aside a portion of my food in the furthest corner of my jail cell so a certain rat would eat it and not bother me in my sleep. The first night I had woken up to the horror of this gigantic rodent nibbling in my hair. In spite of my blood-curdling scream, no one came to my aid; I had to fend for myself now. Not easy, considering my sheltered former life. Terrified of the rat, I had no choice now but to make it my friend, or at least an indifferent acquaintance.

I sat down on the cement floor on my pathetic little mat (which offered no comfort, for it was infested with fleas) and began to sob. "Why is this happening to me?" I wailed. I had been in India less than a month and now I was in jail. But of course, I knew precisely why, and told myself it was because I did that "stupid dope run to Sweden." 

I was thinking about that trip. It had been successful and a lot of fun, and I had returned to Bombay with my mission accomplished. No, the dope run was not exactly the problem. I was pretty sure that a local character nicknamed Junkie James had betrayed me. I realised now that it was pretty dumb to have told him about my travel plans to Sweden; he surely figured out what I was up to. And he could have passed on that information for money. But what could I do? I needed his help then, as I was new in Bombay and didn't know my way around or even how to find the things I needed for the trip.

Junkie James had the distinction of being Bombay's oldest hippie resident. He'd been there since 1969 and even spoke fluent Hindi as well as some of the local dialect, Marathi. And he knew where to get anything. It was too late now to lament that I hadn't given him a proper bribe.

I was quickly learning about how things worked in India, including its known but unseen system of bribery. Maybe this was my wake-up call. But what good would it do me now, sitting in a jail cell not knowing when or even if I would get out? 

Eighteen years old, naive, a first time traveller  I had barely arrived in India and now found myself locked in Arthur Road Prison. "Talk about bad luck!" I thought glumly. Watching an enormous insect scurrying across the floor with a faint glimmer of sun streaming through the barred opening high up on the wall, I remember how freaked out my mom was when I told her I was going to India. "Ann, please don't go" she had begged me. "I just know you'll get mixed up with the wrong kind of people, drug smugglers and people like that and you'll probably end up in jail." How did my frantic mom so accurately predict this?  Was she psychic?

Feeling lonely and forlorn, all I could think about was my parents and my family and how much I missed everyone back home. After bragging to everyone about my upcoming travel adventures, now I was just a scared little girl sitting in a jail cell in Bombay.  I felt like such a fool. I knew my folks would be devastated if they knew, and I wanted to protect them from finding out. At least for now. But how could I be sure they wouldn't find out?

A Canadian diplomat, Mr. Patterson, had come out to see me after some friends told him I was in prison. I specifically asked Mr. Patterson not to contact my parents, but he had insisted that it was the best thing to do - in fact the only thing he could do for me. I pleaded with him again not to contact them, at least for now. Could I trust him? He seemed a nice enough guy and genuinely concerned.
I had also asked Mr. Patterson, for some decent food and English reading material and he had arranged that. So now instead of watery thin slop for breakfast, every day I got a boiled egg, warm milk, some course bread and a banana. That was pretty good. By virtue of being a foreigner I even got cigarettes, which came in handy for trading. Mr. Patterson had come through for me on that and so I felt I had to trust him. I continued writing cheery postcards of lies to my folks.  

I told them I was happy and loving India, and described places I'd never visited, getting my information form a fancy Indian magazine, the Weekly Post and other glossy English language magazines that I now had.  I had to put up a good facade and hope that my parents would believe it at least until I could get out of this situation. But I had no clue as to how I could get out.

To find out how I got out of jail and for more adventures of a teenage drug smuggler please read:

Memoirs of a Hippie Girl in India available at Amazon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Homeland Security Bullying Innocents

Have you ever been slapped in the face? Stopped from going where you're going? Told you CAN"T go there. In short, ever been bullied?

Most people have been bullied in one way or another and I think many can probably identify with the following story.

Recently I attempted to enter the U.S. from Toronto Pearson airport. I was all set to meet my son in Florida. I was also going to see an old friend I hadn't seen in over ten years.  I was excited to be leaving. I'd just had a week from hell (had to bury my dog, my car broke down, and winter storms were depressing me. I desperately needed a little break. A week in sunny Florida would be just the right medicine.

I was stopped by U.S. Customs who sent me to what they euphemistically call "secondary inspection" and there I was grilled, interrogated, fingerprinted, photographed and generally treated like a criminal. Why? Because of a forty year old minor cannabis conviction from 1973 in Canada and for which I served time.

Clearly, I did my time (spent a year in jail and two years probation) and paid my debt to society...Canadian society that is. It really should be none of the American cops' business what happened such a long  time ago in my own country.

Frankly, it never seemed to be a problem before. I have entered the U.S. on at least 25 different occasions since 1973. And I have always been forthcoming about my past.  Why, I wondered was it suddenly a problem now?

Homeland Security did not elaborate except to tell me that "something appeared" on the screen that didn't appear before.

It is my understanding that the U.S. Government sponsor's this kind of bullying in that it gives sweeping powers to these border cops and some of them, well they're not terribly educated and they are kinda macho and sometimes just get a kick out of harassing people.

I refused to let them get to me. Even when I knew I had now missed my plane.  I stayed calm and Buddha like. When my file was finally processed and I was seen by a second Homeland Security cop I asked as politely and calmly as I could: "may I know why I am being detained, forced to miss my flight, and not allowed to call my son in Miami to advise him not to drive two hours out of his way to come and get me at the airport?"

The "good" officer said almost apologetically, "I'm sorry you had to miss your flight ma'am but we'll give you something that allows you a reimbursement from the airline.  I'm afraid we have to ask you some questions first.

"Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence?" To which I replied honestly, "not in the U.S. sir" and he asked "anywhere else" and I said: "yes, a cannabis conviction over forty years ago. But you guys know about that...I've never tried to hide my past/"

He said: "you were convicted of trafficking narcotics" to which I replied "I never said that...I said it was a  cannabis infraction".

He then told me because of this ancient offence I was deemed "Inadmissible".  I was stunned. "You mean I can never go the U.S. again? " I asked somewhat alarmed.

Good cop said: "well no that's not what it means. You see, all you have to do is apply for this waiver and you can travel to the U.S. any time. Just remember though you always have to have this waiver with you...even if you are just travelling through U.S. Airspace and not even landing in the U.S.  But it is simple enough. You just have to get your fingerprints and have them fill in this paperwork at one of the locations on the back of this page. He showed me a four page document.

I read the document H.S. gave me and I was thunderstruck! I could not believe the list of items they wanted me to proved them. First of all they wanted original documents from the courthouse, RCMP files, get fingerprinted again, write a four page document in my own words describing the nature of the crime, what punishment or fines entailed, what form of rehabilitation I've undertaken. Furthermore they wanted  income tax documents, proof of income, insurance, mortgage or lease (proof of residency), proof of citizenship (my passport is not good enough?), at least two personal character references. The list goes on. ON TOP OF THIS THEY WANTED ME TO PAY  A FEE OF $585.  

There is no doubt in my mind that this is an out and out case of bullying and government sanctioned extortion I wonder how many others have been bullied by Homeland Security.   I'd love to compile some stories if anyone wants to share their story.

I also decided to turn this incident into something artful or at least a good joke. Attached is a song I wrote about my experience. I hope you enjoy it.