I'd love nothing better than to visualize this diminutive man driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in that V.W. van he traded in for Dean Moorehouse's piano, collecting waifs along the way, all surrounded in the bliss of the moment.
Then the natural curls in his full shock of hair and his penetrating eyes would exude nothing but positive vibes, wouldn't they?
But from his actions, or the actions of others he chose to associate with, Charlie remains the fearsome face on that cover of LIFE, doesn't he? Well, at least to Middle America, he does.
I have NO doubt that he demonstrates loyalty to his friends; it was his choice of friends or his moment of manic psychosis that I question.
Maybe that's what happens when an adult gives birth to a baby that they have no right to bear, like that of a driver who has no driver's license.
Maybe Charlie knows or doesn't know the effect he has had on kids like me, whether warranted or not.
Maybe he'll never know the legacy he and his cohorts have left on us, staining our psyche like the blood stained the skin of those who were his group's victims.
I'd like to think that in a moment of clear thought, that he knows that there are souls out here that never meant harm to him and never wanted harm to come to anyone.
That we were all so busy wearing polka-dotted tops and hair bands and doing the Twist to beach songs by the very music artists he befriended.
That he, and we, had the 60s by the tail, and that era should have lived long after the decade washed away.
The sensitive ones among us stopped living after August 9th, 1969, not because Life as we knew it necessarily stopped, but because Life as we thought it was going to be did.
Maybe we are all serving a Life sentence for thinking that Life would be as easy and breezy as it was up until that date, and maybe what Charlie was involved in taught us that Life isn't and never shall be that easy breezy.
I'm almost positive that there was, and is, a lesson to be learned by Charlie, and many of us from way back then are still trying to figure it out.
Maybe Charlie already knew the answers back then and the rest of us hadn't even begun to know what the questions were.
All I know is that the stains of those nights are still imprinted on my generation, despite our vain attempts at wiping them away.
Maybe someday, ---, you'll convey my thoughts to Charlie, and maybe someday he'll understand my life experience better than I understand it myself.