TLB2 covers the murders and exploits of The Manson Family and the 60s Hippie culture which spawned them. We try very hard NOT to take sides in our crime scene analysis approach to these historic events. Our viewpoints may not be palatable to everyone but we do hope to offer you as much fact and information on the crimes, the criminals and the victims as is humanly possible. TLB2 hopes to give birth once more to this era for those of us who lived through that Summer of '69 or to introduce this moment in time to those of you who were not yet born. If you like what you see here, click the pink diamond "FOLLOW TLB2!!!" button located just below this marquee and join via one of our social media gadgets, and while we're cleaning your Buntline, check out our SiteMap for a full listing of our posts as well! Thanks for visiting TLB2 and may your Buck Knife always be razor sharp! ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Make-Believe on Malibu Beach - A Story…

Barbie-MalibuBeach-NancyPitman-SharonTate 1

Disclaimer: This is a purely fictional tale, no such encounter ever took place…but oh, if it had…

 

A warm, soft-breezy day on Malibu Beach in August of ‘59.

Not a busy beach day for it’s Monday but some pale-skinned tourists and well-healed retired couples and Mothers with young children are quietly filling up the sandy shore. It’s a Teacher’s Day today in High School so teenagers from the Greater L.A. Area are haunting the coastline too - a rare thing for a weekday.

One Mother had to drive all the way in from the Valley to get her teenage daughter to the beach she loved the best, for this young Valley Girl had yet to attain her own driver’s license and was therefore at the mercy of her more-than-patient and loving Mom.

Another Mother had to merely stroll outside onto her own balcony to watch from afar her young child playing in this Pacific Ocean paradise, for this Mother and this child lived right on Malibu Beach, in a very pricey beachfront home. Afar was just as far as this socialite Mother would go in attending to her daughter anyway, so it was just as well they lived on the beach, for she never really wanted to get too involved in her daughter’s life, doing so might distract her from Country Club activities, Bridge games and volunteering for Charity Balls - top priorities for her and all the well-placed Malibu wives of leisure. Who could possibly have the time nor, dare we say, the interest, for a child under foot, when the social ladder had to be climbed for themselves and for the sake of their career-driven Los Angelian husbands?

Not a cloud in the sky and the Pacific was its usual dead calm. Rhythmic, rolling, roiling waves broke ever so smoothly against the pearlescent sand - so warm to the touch and so very dry on shore, so refined as to dare to be pure silica, slippery and oh, so soft it was.

The Malibu Beach Life Guards were at their posts but socializing was more on tap than the thought of saving lives, for the ocean-going populous was so low on this day and the visibility was so high, the water so tame, that to warrant more attention on the well-behaved bathers was a sheer waste of time when girl-watching was so at hand.

Off, down a ways, near Guard Shack #3, the Valley Mom parked her station-wagon and out popped her daughter from the passenger side. Stunning, this teenage girl was, golden blond-haired with a sun-kissed tan, the epitome of a California Girl if there ever was one. Her Mom followed behind her, slowly lugging beach paraphernalia as she went. This Valley Mom was not as beautifully striking as her daughter but you could tell that maybe, in her hay-day, she was. She would keep polite distance from her daughter today, taking up solo-residence on a brightly coloured, hibiscus-flowered beach blanket, her sun-bathing set-up positioned just in the right spot on the beach – close enough to keep an eye on her Valley Girl daughter as she mingled with all of her other teenage friends, far enough away to give her the independence she craved. The Valley Girl hurriedly dropped her shorts and T-shirt to reveal an adorable pink and white polka-dotted bikini, kissed her Mom quick on the cheek and joyfully jogged toward her volley-ball playing friends, when out of the corner of her eye she spotted that young child who luckily made Malibu Beach her home.

Malibu Girl sat in the middle of a plethora of sand-castle-making tools and a couple of what looked like brand-new Beach Barbie-dolls for 1959. One doll was dressed in a lovely blue and white one-piece jumper, the other doll in a matching blue and white sun-dress, matching sea-blue eye-shadow and sun-glasses to boot, a small, white vinyl Barbie carrying-case with all the accessories Barbie would ever want or need and a wondrous mini Barbie Beach house, both tucked away nicely on a beach towel behind this little Malibu Girl. But what caught the Valley Girl’s eye was that this little girl was not playing with her toys at all, for a sure and steady stream of tears which flowed down her cheeks prevented her interest or ability. This lucky little Malibu Girl seemed so lonely - her face so full of sorrow and sadness – emotions utterly contrary to the sheer beauty and tranquility of her surroundings. The Valley Girl stopped in her tracks wondering how on earth anyone could ever be sad on Malibu Beach, thinking that such an emotion must be against the law, or at least the law of any reasonable beach-loving California girl.

“Hi there. Hey, you have the new Beach Barbies, don’t ya? My kid sisters would kill for those dolls. And just look at all those clothes and chairs and towels and shoes and that fantastic beach house. Why aren’t you playing with them, little girl?”, said the Valley Girl to the Malibu Girl.

“No one to play with, I guess. You can’t play Barbie’s and have lotsa fun just by yourself, you know”, said the little Malibu Girl in between sniffles and gulps of air, this Little One possessing the reasoned maturity and the hopelessness of an aged senior citizen waiting for God.

The Valley Girl hearing the Malibu Girl’s response quickly forgot about her teenage friends who were frantically waving at her to come join them in their beach game and instead plunked herself down next to this lonely little Rich-Girl, the warm sand below them and the warm sun above, and without further ado or explanation, the Valley Girl got down to some serious make-believe.

“It’s so great to be on the beach at our nice little Barbie beach-house, Sis. I love our matching outfits but should we dress into our matching bathing-suits instead and go for a swim before Ken and G.I. Joe arrive for dinner?”, said the Valley Girl for her Barbie-doll.

“Oh, yes, let’s!”, said Malibu Girl for her Barbie, her sorrow washing away as with the outgoing tide.

So the two girls began diving into the Barbie carrying case to whip into their new ensembles with accessories - beach shoes, matching towels, mini plastic bottles of suntan lotion, chaise lounge chairs and the all-important Barbie surf-boards - the fact that there were eight years between these two girls didn’t make an ounce of difference. Once their precious dolls were ready, they held on to them for dear life and gleefully ran to the shoreline to dip both their Beach Barbies and themselves into the frothy, silky-smooth waves, giggling, romping, talking for their dolls, having their Barbies surf like the real big girls were doing right in front of them, Malibu Girl and Valley Girl having the time of their lives. The Valley Girl was reminded that you’re never too old nor too mature to play with Barbies. The Malibu Girl wishing she could be best friends with her new, older friend, for the rest of her life.

All afternoon, the pair played without a thought or care, the Valley Mom immensely proud of her teenage daughter, that she would sacrifice her day for this lonely child, lovingly watching her daughter and this little waif from a discrete distance, bursting with pride this Valley Mom was, her daughter blooming into a mature, giving woman, right before her very eyes. If Valley Mom lived a thousand lifetimes, she knew she would never be any more proud of her Valley Daughter than she was today.

The Malibu Mom, on the other hand, not as aware, not as proud, barely glancing down at the two girls in between trips back into the beach-house to fill her martini glass, in between phone calls with her society friends, in between applications of sun-screen, in between reading the latest Hollywood rag, not noticing nor caring, really, that some good soul had made her daughter’s day.

Valley Girl’s friends finally went on to play volleyball without her, realizing the Good Samaritan their friend truly was. The brilliant day wore on for all and as the sun finally lowered in the horizon, Valley Girl’s friends packed up the game and began heading home for the day, a cue for Valley Girl that it was time to say Goodbye to her new little friend as well.

As Valley Girl wiped the sand off of her legs as she rose, she saw that the wide-grin and toothy smile of her new play-mate, Malibu Girl, had washed away and was replaced by an immediate second river of silently flowing tears;

“Oh, please don’t go”, pleaded Malibu Girl. “We just met and, well, I have way more Barbie’s at home, a dune buggy and a camper. I can run to my house and get’em, if you want? Please don’t go, ‘cause if you go, I’ll have to go home for good”, this little girl added, sniffling and gulping yet again.

“Look though, your Mom is waving you in and I know my Mom over there has had enough sun. We have to go, both of us, and who knows, we’ll probably play together again some time soon, I come here lots, it’s my favourite beach. I hope to own a posh home on this beach some day like your parents own. You’re so lucky to actually live here, you’ll soon forget me, having all this before you all the time”, said the Valley Girl, gently patting Malibu Girl’s head as she continued to sit stoic and sorrowful on the sand, arms folded in desperate defiance.

“No. I’ll never see you again, I know I won’t. As soon as I can, I’m leaving here. My family doesn’t even know I’m alive hardly. Sure, we all live under the same, nice roof but we just pretend to be a nice family, our parents don’t even care we kids exist. Yes, once I’m your age or thereabouts, I’ll be gone and find people who really love me, a real family, just you wait!”, cried out Malibu Girl to her new teenage friend.

The Valley Girl saw that there was no use in debating, she could see the hurt in Malibu Girl’s eyes and the determination, even at such a young age, that she meant what she said. To be that disillusioned with your family at such a young age sent pangs of sadness through Valley Girl’s heart, secretly hoping that when she made it big in Hollywood as a model or an actress, she could herself rescue this Little Girl and keep her for her very own.

“Hey, we played all day and I didn’t even get your name”, said Valley Girl, trying to get Malibu Girl to forget her woes.

“Nancy. But I’ll change that too when I leave. I hate my name as much as I hate my family. Brenda has a nice ring to it; I’ll probably be named Brenda when I’m a big girl.”

Clearing her throat and really on the verge of tears herself for this Little One, “So very nice to meet you, Nancy, my name is Sharon. I like my name so even when I become a star, I think I shall stay a Sharon.”

“So nice to meet you, Sharon. We’re best friends now, aren’t we?”, asked Nancy.

“You bet, Nancy, best friends forever”, responded Sharon in the sweetest, most heart-felt way she could.

Nancy got up, wiped sand off her legs too and slowly gathered up all her Barbie accoutrement and began to pad back to her beach house. Sharon, once she had seen that Nancy made it safely to the steps of her home, strolled back to her Mom, Doris.

~~~

Nancy, now known as Brenda, dutifully in tow behind her new “Father”, Charlie, would view Sharon’s mutilated body on her California dream-house living room floor exactly a decade plus one day later.

The girls never played Barbies together again.

Barbie doll title photo: ngm.nationalgeographic.com

Barbie, Malibu Beach, Manson Family, Sharon Tate



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bill Garretson…More Unplugged Than Usual? Part Three

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Bill –

  • “Now [I] wake up to a nightmare in my mind.”
  • “What the hell’s going on?”
  • “Am I being framed for something?”
  • What happened, what happened – nothing is making any sense to me.”

One could, without much thought, just decide that Bill is one Tate property Christmas light short of Sharon’s entire string of bulbs but I know that just is not a fair nor accurate assessment. Anyone in Bill’s shoes that bright and sunny Saturday morning would have reacted the exact same way. Bar none! The breaking in of the Guest House door by a gaggle of LAPD uniformed cops, the rough-housing physical treatment they gave to Bill upon his on-site cuffing, the smell of dried blood in the sweltering Los Angeles sun and the incessant buzzing of blue-bottle flies around the corpses of Gibby, Voytek and Steve…as far I am concerned, lesser men would have outright fainted at the sights and the smells, let us not forget that.

Bill, from what I have gathered over the years, is quite the laid-back individual with that very passive personality exterior most small-town/farm country Anglo-Saxon Easterners possess and that combination could be seen as odd to over-hyper Los Angelian city-slicker cops in terms of how one behaves and talks in the hours and days after surviving such an horrific event. Bill does not strike me as an aggressive nor over-talkative sort so a pounding of the fists on an interrogation table and a barrage of “I’m innocent, goddammit!” exclamations would not have exuded from Bill to those Parker Centre detectives, giving rise, of course, to the doubts and quizzical looks those cops began to have about Bill in those early hours and days.

This murder scene, within hours of its discovery, became a media circus and poor Bill was essentially Ground Zero in all the chaotic handling, to include a barrage of lawyers jockeying up to represent him, not because he was anybody special but because he was there, the only surviving person amid a quadrangle of Beautiful People mayhem. There would have been no way for this country boy to assess these lawyers’ motives or for that matter judge who would be the best to represent him. He was in a whirlwind and just basically hanging on for dear life, trying to breathe amid the shock and dismay, the utter confusion of the whole scene, hoping against hope to survive the Legal as he had done the Lethal.

These “ambulance chaser” lawyers would have said they were “friends of ours” or “sent by Rudy” even if they hadn’t been. Bill took and continues to take those introductions as some sort of conspiracy theory clue surrounding these murders, asking himself how could this be, who sent his eventual lawyer, Barry Tarlow, when no personal calls were ever made by him to anyone, including Rudy. Hey, this is Hollywood, Bill. Someone needed to tell Bill this is the Home of the Lie, how else does anyone get anywhere in Tinsel Town without playing the Using Game?

Bill’s main concern was, “I hope this news doesn’t go back to Ohio.” and who could blame him? He heads out West from his small town existence out East and the next thing his family and friends know is he is taking centre-stage in one of the biggest mass murders of the North American 20th century. How do you start THAT conversation>>> Hi, Mom, yeah, I’m fine, weather is great out here, met some celebrities, never knew so much blood could come out of so many bodies, so how’s Ohio these days?”  …*sigh*…

I simply cannot, even with my more than 3D Technicolor imagination, conceive of that initial conversation Bill had with his Mom nor how he would ever wrap his head around this event as it continued to unfold around him. I somehow imagine it’s like being on the

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Full Throttle Roller Coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain,

there is no way to catch your breath until the ride finally comes to an end, your sheer terror either making you laugh uncontrollably, vomit or cry. I’ll bet Bill never really took a decent breath until he flew home with his Mom to Ohio a week later and we know by his own admission he did have nightmares for some time after the murders.

Bill claims that he remained in a “fog” for years - “Nothing got clear until, like, in the 90s and then by, um, well, actually when Rosie called and how she introduced herself and everything. Rosie put me back into hell basically….She did me a favour. This would have been locked away.”

That admission is very disturbing to me for a couple of reasons. First, 1969 to the 90s? Some two decades later? It seems to me that no one, no agency, no organization, no psychologist, no social worker, no lawyer, no cop, in effect no one came to Bill’s aid to help him digest and work through this trauma. After his testimony at the two trials is was “Bill Who?” and off he went by himself back East to try and cope through the rest of his life on his own. Don’t you just WUV the Good Ol’ Days when we would suffer through a shocking event and no one ever thought about the survivor? How he or she would fare, knowing damn well such a trauma would scar anyone’s psyche for life if left untreated?

Is it any wonder that when this Rosie came along, Bill was at least subconsciously desperate for some answers and possibly so desperate that the “answers” this Rosie was giving were good enough for Bill?

Am I the only person who wants to hit this “Rosie Tate-Polanski” with something hard and sharp?! Without a shred of doubt from me, this con-woman damaged forever Bill’s memory of that night. One wonders now with her exploitive influence if a true outline of the events would ever unfold from Bill even under hypnosis? She may have helped Bill in the revisiting of that trauma but I highly doubt muddying the waters with her personal get-rich-quick agenda helped Bill in separating fact from fiction.

She saw Bill coming or rather, she put his face on a dart board and there would be no way for him to escape becoming her bull’s eye, Bill’s more than suggestive nature ripe for the picking.

Even today, in this Star City Radio broadcast interview, having been many years since his involvement with this Rosie, Bill’s memory is still spattered with the fantastical ideas Rosie fed Bill and although you do get key-word phrases showing that even Bill doesn’t truly buy what he is saying, no longer can he easily separate the real events from the utterly made-up ones, his memory forever muddied by the likes of that woman.

One can only go by what was presented in the trials but in neither do any numbers on a piece of paper come into evidence. Bill is convinced that a) he had written down a license plate number from the van or car that gave him a ride back up to Cielo one night; and b) that the LAPD knew about this number and had found this note somewhere in the Guest House (possibly near the phone). This is a disturbing chain of events as it is never stated by the police nor the D.A. that such a license or any type of numbers were ever seen on any piece of paper nor retrieved from the Guest House.

Bill states that an unidentified detective investigating this case asked of Bill, while he was incarcerated in the first jail and before he had legal representation, “What’s these numbers?”

Bill replies, “What do you mean numbers?”

Detective – “Look like license plate numbers.”

Bill – “I just left it. I was being placed with morons. They’re charging me with murder and they want all the answers…and I don’t have any answers!”

Let me see if I get this right…

You are freaked out enough by whomever gave you a ride up to your house the very night before the murders or a night close to that date, that you jot down their license plate number, then you wake up one morning to find a slaughter house outside your front door and when the cops ask you about “numbers” you go, “What numbers?” Okayyy. I guesssss. But if I’m Bill, I am SO shouting out about that piece of paper even before they haul me out of the Guest House, I’m continuing to rant and rave about that license plate number in the cop car all the way down to the Beverly Hills station and I SO jump like a lion when, finally, a cop gets around to asking me about those numbers…that is IF a) I actually got a ride from someone before the murders who actually DID freak me out; and b) I actually decided TO write down that license plate number.

I don’t see Bill’s treatment by the police as a case of being handled by morons. I see it as a logical set of questions if such a piece of paper ever existed. And Bill should have realized that too IF such a piece of paper ever existed and IF such a weird hitch-hike event ever took place for Bill prior to the murders. And as for the LAPD wanting answers, Bill is the only surviving resident of 10050, who the heck else will they ask for answers? I imagine if you are breathing while all others around you are not, yeppers, you’re up for a Question Fest, then as now. In fact. I’d think it more odd if I were breathing and no one cared what I had to say.

Then Bill says the oddest thing;

“The more they played with me, the more things got locked up in my mind!….basically 30 years for it to come around.”

I’m no psychologist but all I can gather from this admission is that the more Bill talks, he thinks, the more fear he has that he will be blamed for this event. Bill must have believed the more he locked away the details, the more he repressed the trauma, the less he would be damaged by it in every respect. Usually, or at least it’s been my experience, the more one talks openly about a traumatic event, the less one is disturbed by it and the less one feels the need to repress and hide from that event, that “openness” inevitably viewed by law enforcement better as aligning with a truthful demeanour.

Not everything became “locked up” in Bill’s mind. When asked how many bodies he saw that day, Bill accurately responded with, “three”. The detective pushes, “You sure you didn’t see five?” and Bill replies, very clearly, with, “No, just three.”

When Bill knows the complete truth, he states it, very decisively and with no hesitation, no self-questioning with phrases like, “What the hell’s going on?”.

Naturally, then as now, Bill begins to try and surmise what may have happened that previous night; 

“Here’s a woman, just ‘cause I’m having a baby and how could she kill all these people?” [referring to Sharon] “The car was missing – her Ferrari – is it Ferrari? Sharon’s Ferrari. And I’m thinking she’s killed these people and took off! And how could she do it?! Giving birth to a baby?! Stupid things that’s been planted in my mind”, basically admitting that things can be planted in his mind very easily, like the Rosie “stories” later on. Bill knows he is suggestible and this weakness is well known even to himself.

“They transported me from one police station to the bigger one, the detectives playing Good Cop, Bad Cop. These people were idiots. Then they said the polygraph test, ‘Would you be willing to take a polygraph test?”, Bill states he was already legally represented by then but they ask him directly and Bill says, “Sure.” His lawyer, Barry Tarlow says to Bill, “I wouldn’t advise that”, himself thinking Bill might be culpable; whereby, Bill responds, “It sounds like you don’t even believe me. This will clear me.”, Barry asks, “Are you sure?” and Bill says, “Yes!”

Another clear-cut, no self-questioned response from Mr. Garretson.

*When the complete Truth is known to Bill, he NEVER hesitates nor qualifies his answers. Ever. Remember that when deciding what is True and what has been suggested as True to Bill, vis-a-vis the Bill Garretson Story in the Tate Murders.*

Bill is rather traumatized by the next event which happens in the Break Room of the police station as he repeated this event to the Polygraph examiner and decades later continues to re-tell this story. I guess, to him, having police admit that he was the killer only hours after being arrested, the investigation hardly begun, sealed to Bill, his coming fate, that maybe he would spend the rest of his life in a California prison, convicted of multiple murders and all because he wanted to “see the world” before he was drafted into the Vietnam War, to then “legally” commit multiple murder against the Viet Cong. Dramatically ironic to Bill as he sat hand-cuffed in only a skimpy white undershirt and jeans, awaiting such a possible fate;

Bill- “Had me down at this Break Room where there is cops in there”

Unknown Policeman – “There’s that kid that killed all them people in Beverly Hills.”

Bill – That’s [the] kind of shit I had to put up with.”

In addition, as with the license plate “note”, Bill swears that the letters he was writing that night to friends back East were confiscated by the police as well, yet no such letters, like that license plate note, were ever entered into evidence at the trials, D.A. Bugliosi in his book “Helter Skelter” never refers to them and no one associated with this case at the law enforcement level, who has come forward and given interviews, has ever referred to them since. That is not to say such items didn’t exist for I do feel Bill was writing letters back home that night but like so many possible evidentiary pieces collected at murder scenes, after they were examined, held no evidentiary value.

This is where I’m sitting right now on this whole license plate “note” and the “letters” business: I do NOT believe in the existence of that license plate note but I DO believe in the existence of the letters. I do not believe, however, that the letters had in them ANYTHING to do with what Bill heard and felt that night as he wrote them. In essence, they were just normal letters written to friends back home and nothing more. I know, I know, I killed another possible “juicy” piece in this already over-the-top “juicy” story. Hey, I’m not out for a popularity award here, just assessing the evidence and letting it tell me where to go and how to think. Sorry if that bores and is anything but Shock & Awe but I can’t call something a firecracker if it doesn’t even light up.

Bill’s take on the Polygraph Test was one any lay person would have, having had no previous experience with how examiner’s assess the base truth level of a person before they are examined. He does not get into the details but you can tell from how he words this most recent Star City Radio re-telling that it was the questioning of the one-off homosexual act he had experienced at a party in the valley prior to coming to Cielo which outraged him the most during that Test;

Bill – “That polygraph test, some of the questions they…had on there, it was more or less murders committed and they’re wanting to know, ah, shit that doesn’t even pertain to the murders.”

Brian, Radio Host of Star City – “What you had for breakfast two weeks ago or something?”

Bill – “Basically more stupid shit than that, they know, and the thing was even with the letters that they confiscated at the House, at the Guest House, no attorney, no nothing, and what I wrote in the letters.”

Bill leaves that Test outrage in this interview, becoming easily side-tracked as he talks with Brian and Cats, and reverts back to the letters he wrote and again, he references the “Rosie Method” to either justify the importance he places on those letters or to continue to hype-up this radio interview;

Bill – “Now Rosie basically knows what [were] in the letters…some of the letters, ah, she knows and how she knows is because basically to the highest bidder anything can be sold…that’s why I believe who she is!”

Cats, Manson Forum Administrator and Brian’s Radio Sidekick for this Garretson Interview – “She has copies of the letters…”

A surprised Bill completely denies that option - that the reason Rosie “knows” what’s in his letters is because she illegally bought them or obtained copies of them -  rather than wowing Bill with her “magical” knowledge of their content, as if she is some kind of miracle, other-worldly gifted, Tate-Polanski baby. Man, it is tough not to want to slap this woman. This Rosie has done such irreparable damage to Bill, emotionally and psychologically but then again, maybe it’s these fantastical accounts which allow Bill to function day-to-day, these extraordinary “excuses” sitting better for Bill as to why what happened in his life, happened. Maybe just the plain truth was too hard for Bill to swallow.

I still wonder how Bill makes the connection, that psychically “knowing” what was in Bill’s letters is proof of Rosie being Sharon’s baby??? There is no logical step to this kind of reasoning. Bill is grasping at straws to defend Rosie, in defending his own now warped version of the “truth”. It makes me very sad for Bill and gets me very angry at people who exploit this disconnect in Bill, in interviews.

Exactly one week after the murders, Bill is by then freed from jail and allowed to head home with his Mother, back to Ohio. One can only imagine the exhaustion Bill felt on that plane trip home, and the utter confusion still being felt, of the Who and the Why five people were slaughtered to death mere footfalls away from him and he lives and breathes to not be able to tell much of a tale.

Cats – “And then you had to come back to testify…”

Bill – “In both trials, which was rehearsed…[D.A. Bugliosi supposedly saying to Bill], ‘Just say you can’t recall if you don’t know….’ I didn’t want to recall shit! I know I’m being accused of something I had nothing to do with.”

Bills hints that there was some ulterior motive behind Bugliosi going over the questions Bill would be asked in court, when truly that kind of rehearsal is always done by lawyers with their witnesses pre-trial, especially with witnesses who may have difficulty giving straight-forward answers on the stand. Bill, as we can see here, in this interview and in the other public accounts he has given, is apt to expound and give opinions well beyond the arena of the facts, so as I see it, if Vince had not rehearsed Bill, that would have been the injustice to his testimony, not the other way around.

Brian asks of Bill – “After the trials, did you disconnect or did you keep up with it [the media unfolding of the murders]?

Bill – “There was nothing to keep up with, as far as Bugliosi’s book, “Helter Skelter”, that’s his, you know, I mean I’m sure that allot of investigation that went through it in his book, that what he put together, same thing with the trial itself, which articles I read, complete circus. In life, you see, what it is, basically there were things there, things could have went different. I couldn’t figure out, like it was completely blotted out of my mind – the baby….That took over 28/29 years, it came out little by little, bits and pieces…The rest of it came out later and it wouldn’t have had it not been for Rosie.”

Bill is speaking the truth whether he realizes it or not.

He’s admitting in a round-about way that Vince’s book was and is the complete Final Word on these murders, the players and the outcome, as per the facts and evidence in the case and, of course, Bill would be right. Every book published since HS has been a sheer fictitious Tell-All, with some or another “shocking” new tidbit that is never corroborated nor proven, just some hyped-up morsel of fantasy offered to the always-hungry readers of these murders, to grab on to and gnaw away at, colouring an already over-the-top psychedelic history of events, all for the sake of a fast publishing buck. Bill knows in his heart of hearts that D.A. Bugliosi did do one heck of allot of pre-trial work and research, leaving no player nor evidentiary stone un-turned. What’s putting a kibosh on this awareness for Bill is this oh, so damaging influence Rosie had on him to create a disconnect between what he has always known about this case and what exploiters like Rosie and others want him to believe. Bill, being present at both trials, knew first-hand the “circus”-like atmosphere the Manson Family and the Media made of these trials, how the Hall of Justice became quite literally a 3-Ring Circus. I shudder at how all of those Family and Media antics would play out today, in our world-wide-web, have-it-all-Now social media existence. You’d have to wear scuba suits in your living room to survive the drooling the producers of CNN and Fox News would be doing, the 24 hour cycle being tailor-made for such a murderous display.

Bill, you can tell, is rather philosophical now about the whole experience, knowing that some good things and some bad things happened in reference to the part he played in this case. And quite noticeably, Bill is still confounded at the Rosie-baby scenario. Of course that “tidbit” was “blotted” out of his mind, fantasy never has any place in reality. I imagine every single day since his involvement with Rosie, he has tried to put those pieces together with what he directly experienced and all I can think is that it’s a crying shame he has been left like this, mired between what was real and what truly never was and no ability now to tell one from the other.

I still sit here today and continue to state: Hypnosis, even today, would be highly beneficial for Mr. Garretson, if only to possibly separate the wheat from the chaff so he could achieve some inner peace. It’s hard to say though if such treatment could be effective, knowing how infected his memory is now with these Rosie tales. We Followers of this case figuratively lost the last witness to what went on at Cielo Drive in those early morning hours of August 9, 1969 by the possible permanent damage done to Bill Garretson’s memory. But I’d like to think a complete memory retrieval is still possible. We, as children then having been so affected by this event, would be grateful for the Truth and Nothing But The Truth; and Bill, having obviously been severely traumatized by those hours, could do well with a similar Final Word as to his direct involvement.

Photos, in Order of Appearance: Star City Radio & YouTube; sixflags.com/full-throttle/

Bill Garretson, Star City Radio, Tate-LaBianca Murders



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Potluck With The Dead…A Story…

August81969-DonaldShortyShea-GaryHinman-TateLaBianca-TopangaCanyon 1

Every year since ‘69.

A house in which to hold the Potluck is chosen every year, beforehand, and ten people attend…every year.

Posted by MsBurbIt’s always on the 8th of August just because it was Sharon’s idea to have these potluck dinners in the first place. She always loved having people over, cooking herself, trying new foods, having Jay bring the wine and over these last 44 years she has accepted the fact that this odd band of souls would be forever linked, so why not get to know one another, truly, was Sharon’s feeling. And through these Do’s, all ten have become very close, you know, bonding better than blood relatives ever would, over an inevitable coming-together of fated Moments In Time and, well, summer wouldn’t be summer if you didn’t have a get-together, at least once.

This year, Gary’s place was chosen. It’s never a big deal for the guys to host the party for they know Sharon, Gibby and Rosemary will help them in the food  and party essentials department, how to buy, how to prepare, how to lay it all out for the shindig. This Do is never a stressful one, no, not for the food.

At about 7:30 p.m. people start to arrive, the time, roughly, when Sharon and her friends started to get ready for that long ago dinner at the el Coyote. One by one they would “materialize” in their respective cars, cars that have a distinctive ‘60’s era look and feel to them for everything is frozen in time, as it well should be. Up the hill they came. Darkness hadn’t yet enveloped Topanga but headlights were clearly visible as they made their way up Gary’s driveway.

First Jay’s Porsche (he gave a ride to Sharon for her Ferrari was in the mechanics garage), then Steve Parent’s Rambler, car-radio predictably blaring, followed by Leno’s Thunderbird with his dear wife, Rosemary, in the passenger seat, the T-Bird still hauling that ever-present speedboat. Then Gibby’s Camaro, hauling her ever-present, somewhat mooching sidekick, Voytek. Shorty Shea’s ‘62 Mercury was the last up the hill for he had the longest way to drive and really wasn’t known to “rush" in any instance. All were present and accounted for, cars and company. What was missing in the driveway were Gary’s VW microbus and Fiat station wagon, not surprising though, really, for we know they were taken by Bobby and the Girls.

Carrying various well-wrapped culinary goodies, they dutifully walked up August81969-DonaldShortyShea-GaryHinman-TateLaBianca-TopangaCanyon 2Gary’s long wooden steps, Jay carrying a cardboard box filled with various Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs for he was always in charge of the drinks for this Do. Steve was the last up the steps for he forgot to get the board game and the Sony AM/FM clock-radio out of his car. Sharon had put him in charge of the after-dinner entertainment. Tonight’s game would be Mouse Trap and although he always attempted to set the correct time on his radio-alarm clock, that he used to provide the night’s musical entertainment, the numbers would always flip back to “11:45”. Oh well, no matter, it was the tunes they were interested in anyhow.

The line up was stalled some when it was Sharon’s turn to head up the stairs for she had that wicker bassinet, all lined in lovely white linen, a frilly mini bedding ensemble for wee Paul Richard, the soft tinkle of a baby rattle could be heard by all.

Hugs and kisses were exchanged all around. It was always so nice to see one another again even if it was a time-limited visit each year. Sharon, once she had found a nice place for Paul Richard, joined Rosemary and Gibby in Gary’s kitchen to prepare and re-heat all the buffet goodies. The men got together in the living room helping Jay uncork the bottles, everyone laughing and joking, room to room, exchanging pleasantries and small talk on how this last year had gone for them.

Alone, in the dark, deep within the earth, one surely thirsts for company by August.

Everyone was famished. You get like that not eating for so long.

Each dish was incredible, tasted so perfect, the wine was flowing brightly, big smiles on Jay as he became bar-keep and Shorty had everyone in stitches with his down-home ranch-hand humour. Leno was trading secrets on betting to Steve and Voytek was asking after Rosemary, trying to make her feel more at ease for it didn’t matter what year they had assembled since ‘69, she never quite relaxed, you know, always slowly wringing her hands. Rosemary would try and hide her nervous habit from everyone, especially from Leno, for he became so infuriated that she, for at least one night, wouldn’t settle down, relax and enjoy herself.

Around the table, the news from each was enthusiastically exchanged;

“I never lose anymore, you know. I’m at Santa Anita race track every day now and I always win! There’s no place to spend the money “Up Above” so I’m just piling it in paper bricks of $5,000 each and building walls with it to make convenience stores strategically placed “Up There”. A Place of Perfection or not, everyone gets the munchies no matter where you are!” was what Leno exclaimed to Steve, leaning far into the dinning table, hands well-in and full of expression, in between manly bites and gulps of roasted pork.

“Good for you, Leno! Me, well, I over-see the Geek Squad now at Best Buy, you know, the one in the Valley near my parents’ house. When those guys get stuck with either fixing a computer problem or assembling a component car or house stereo, I “assist”. They don’t know it’s me but I do get thrills knowing I helped. You should see the stereo components they have today, Leno, man! Wish I had stuff like that in ‘69, what systems I could have made!”, Steve responding, leaning well back in his chair, slowly rocking it back and forth on the two rear legs, Leno knowingly nodding his head in silence, almost Fatherly pride for Steve washing over this Father-For-Real. He always enjoyed his annual talks with Steve, nothing keeps you young like talking with the young.

“How’s the hair business going, Jay?, asked Shorty. “I don’t know allot about cutting hair but I know what I like and that’s SHORT hair, not that Hippie-Girlie look, had enough of that in ‘69 to do me a lifetime!”

Jay heartily laughed and replied, “Well, you know, Sebring International is still a going-concern but not how I envisioned it would be and after that fiasco of a movie ‘Hair’ with Warren Beatty - a take on MY life, seriously! - and after ‘helping’ Larry Geller get together with Elvis to cut his hair and seeing how screwed up Elvis’ thinking became under his ‘tutelage’, a bad taste got in my mouth about this whole business and I basically spend my time now palling around with McQueen. He and I ‘appear’ at Lemans every year and at the Twelve Hours of Sebring event and hit the Land Speed Racing at el Mirage in the Mojave, tool-up and race our own cars and bikes. And if we aren’t doin’ that, well, we’re ‘haunting’ Clint out in Monterey, playing pranks on the guy, you know,having pens drop or hiding stuff on the man, just messing with him enough to make his day a little bit less perfect out there in ‘Pacific Coast Heaven’, giving us chuckles in the process. Steve and I keep a close watch on his neighbour, Doris, too, just because we simply like her so much. Business stresses, well, I have left them all behind me now and I’m just enjoying myself these days. I never did enough of that when I was here, you know, always more or less trying to ‘escape’ Life. I’m not doing that now.”

“You still working with horses, Donald?” asked Jay of Shorty. “Yeah, mostly. I get my most peace from caring for those critters. I brush’em, feed and water’em and they like me for it. Simple. Can’t say the same for people” he offers, chuckling heartily, his face reddening as he did. “It doesn’t take much to make me content, Jay, honest. Never did. I was never any threat to anyone, you know, well, not really. Think people got the wrong idea about me, maybe because of my body build or that I would spout off before thinking, sometimes. Turns out spouting off can get you killed, Jay.”

“Yeah.”

They both looked at one another from across Gary’s dining table, eye-to-eye, then silence…rather slightly uncomfortable silence it must be said, only to be broken with Jay offering to fill Shorty’s glass with yet some more Napa vino. Shorty hated wine but he never told Jay that, just being who they were and in this rarefied company, everything since ‘69 tasted like a good old American beer to Shorty anyhow.

“Your place looks great, Gary. This must be such a retreat for you from all the hurry-scurry of UC Berkeley, huh?” asked Gibby of Gary.

“Yeah. it’s only here that I can think, you know, or write music, play the guitar, read, be myself. Luckily for Us we get to ‘see’ my house as it was in ‘69. I get that the new owners have ‘improved’ on it allot since then but you know, for me, how I had my home was and still is Home to me. I’m glad I can only ‘see’ to ‘69.”

“Yeah. You know what, Gary? I’m still reading that same paperback I had in bed with me, darned if I don’t turn to a new page and the next thing I know, it’s back to the last page I read that night!”, Gibby confessed, laughing and giggling, leisurely leaning back and forth in her chair, Gary laughing with her. Then a paralytic silence overtook them both.

Clearing her throat, Gibby added, “Have some more Ziti, Gary, Rosemary outdid herself with this dish tonight!”

“Don’t mind if I do.” replied Gary and the two of them gobbled down another helping, the act of eating, slowly washing away that last uncomfortable thought.

At the other end of the table, Voytek and Sharon were leaning in, quietly exchanging stories on being parents. “How is Bartek doing these days, V?”, asked Sharon.

“Amazingly well and you know what, he writes some, just for himself, you know, but I think he’s carrying on writing for the two of Us, memoir stuff mostly, right now, but who knows in the future. I am so proud of him, Shar, so very proud. He’s so responsible, mature, such a hard worker. He has done more with his life maybe because I didn’t, with mine. I’m maybe a lesson for my son. That’s good, right Shar, that’s good?”, Voytek offered, silently hoping she would agree.

“You bet, V, you bet! He’s as good as he is because of you and your life. Nothing is ever in vain you know. Here or not we influence our babies, affect in a positive way those who loved Us. I have no doubt that he is the man he is because of you. A published book or play wouldn’t have got you any further, made you any more valuable as a human being nor as a Father to Bartek, trust me.”

“Thank-you, Sharon, thank-you for your kindness towards me, I know I didn’t always deserve it but I never meant to harm either.”

Rubbing his left upper arm, “Hey, hey, I know that, V. We’re friends forever now and parents to boot!”, Sharon adds, knowing Voytek still carried guilt and regret. Being “Up There” doesn’t always wash away everything.

“I know, isn’t it wonderful. Your boy is looking well too, Shar, such a handsome fellow but why not? You’re a stunner and even with those ugly-dog looks of my pal, Roman, how could Paul Richard lose!”

The two burst out laughing, clinking their wine glasses and toasting Roman, their Man of the Hour.

Sensing utter quiet to her left, Sharon added, “Rosemary, how’s that dress store doing?”

“Oh, Sharon, so kind of you to ask. It’s going gang-busters, it is. So many pretty designs, such a lovely store decor, I’m so content when I’m there. Leno says it’s silly because it has no front door nor customers for real but you know I’m so happy. I moved it right on to Rodeo, don’t you know. I hit the Big time. I don’t care what Leno thinks. I think he’s jealous anyways, all my free time spent at the shop”, Rosemary offers, smiling for the first time this night.

“Hey, ignore Leno, Rosemary, you know him, if it’s not got four legs and doesn’t hit Win, Place or Show in the 4th, it just doesn’t count!”

Now, Voytek, Sharon and Rosemary were laughing, clinking glasses all three, sneaking glances at Leno who by now had a curious expression, wondering what all the laughter was about. Though, after that jovial moment passed, Rosemary went back to slowly wringing her hands again, under the table as before so no one would see.

In the corner of the living room, a tinkling could still be heard from a baby’s rattle, cooing in contented delight was heard as well.

The evening continued well beyond the ending of that lovely buffet. Gary’s dishes all washed and put away, Jay opening yet another set of bottles, this time from vineyards in Germany and Austria, the sun long since set, everyone moved to the living room to play Mouse Trap. It didn’t matter what year it was, Voytek always seemed to be the one to set off the trap and although everyone tried not to laugh at him, it was darn hard not to for he pounded his fists in an Eastern European way, in utter frustration, every time that plastic trap slammed down on his mouse. The sight was just too funny for words.

Slowly but surely as time wore on, the gang as a whole became less jovial and a little more ill at ease, not in a way that was disconcerting really, just a vibe you could pick up, if you were “there” with them. More awkward silences would spring up in between more stilted conversation. Light and breezy were the topics but somehow they didn’t defend against the evitable. No matter the house, each year the phone would ring at around ten o’ clock. It was always Gibby’s Mom asking if she were alright. Every year Gibby would say she was, of course; yet, every year her Mom would phone. By 11:45 p.m. Steve would make his phone call but, of course, no one ever answered the ring like they had done in ‘69. No matter, he made the call anyways, every year.

That last phone call made and the last wine drank were the signs that the Potluck get-together was winding down, the cardboard box Jay had brought, full of uncorked bottles, was now just holding empties. Slowly the women would pack up all the containers in which the food had arrived and gave them back to their respective owners. Without a formal announcement, when the clock struck midnight, all slowly and with sober resignation put on their wraps or coats and headed for Gary’s front door.

The women hugged tightly, this time, and kissed one another on the cheek. Hand shakes and pats on the backs of the men too. “’Til next year, right, same time, but hey, which place?” asked Shorty of them all.

“Right! Which place?”, asked Steve.

“How about my place next year. I am dying to go for another swim in my pool. I just never got enough time there, you know, and I’d like to splash and play with Paul Richard. How’s Cielo Drive for next year?”, Sharon offered.

Everyone nodded their heads in agreement, no audible Yes from All for they were trying to look away, forcing back tears, their throats thick with emotion..

“And what about a board game? Any suggestions?”, asked Steve, quickly able to clear his throat, his eyes still downcast so Sharon wouldn’t see his tears dropping to the carpet below.

With her head bowed a wee bit too and in a very quiet, almost whispery, wavering voice, Rosemary answered, “How about August81969-DonaldShortyShea-GaryHinman-TateLaBianca-TopangaCanyon 3The Game of Life? Anyone for Life?”, her head rising to meet the faces of the group, sheepishly waiting for an answer.

A slow but determined raising of hands began. All nine of the adults voted Yes and another coo and rattle tinkle from Paul Richard was heard in affirmation.

All voted For Life.

That settled, this ill-fated group of ten slowly exited Gary’s front door, one by one down those long wooden steps they did go, Sharon first in line with Paul Richard’s bassinet, Jay steadying her as she went. Engines started, all sounding pretty darn good for being 44+ years old, headlights turned on and a slight dust-up was made as they reversed back out of Gary’s dirt and stone driveway. All, from their respective car windows, looked back up at Gary to wave Goodbye but his aura had already disintegrated. You see, the vapour that made up this group, well, each would de-materialize in the order in which they had died and, of course, Gary was long since dead, some thirteen days prior to the Potluck every year. Shorty would be the last to disintegrate and each in their fateful turn would “depart”, as they made their way down Topanga Canyon on this night. The pixels of divine light that made up each of them, would separate like tiny glittering stars, as would each of their cars.

August81969-DonaldShortyShea-GaryHinman-TateLaBianca-TopangaCanyon 4The mist that was eventually All became a million points of light and effervescently wafted out into the Pacific, flying heavy and low over Topanga Canyon, out over Malibu Beach and finally out to sea. The clinking of that box full of empty wine bottles, the click-hum of Steve’s clock-radio forever stuck at 11:45 and the tiny coo and rattle tinkle from Paul Richard were the last remaining signs that this Potluck of the Dead had ever occurred.

Rest Well, All, ‘til next year…Rest Well.

Photos, in Order of Appearance: Potluck – barlowvincentchurchofchrist.com; Hinman House Stairs – Unknown Origin; Game of Life – timewarptoys.com; Topanga Canyon at Night – flickr.com/photos/renolauren

August 8 1969, Donald Shorty Shea, Gary Hinman, Tate-LaBianca, Topanga Canyon





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July 25, 1969...July 26, 1969...The Beginning...July 26, 1969...The End...July 27, 1969...August 8, 1969...The Eve...August 9, 1969...The Beginning...August 9, 1969...The Middle...August 9, 1969...The End...kinda...August 9, 1969...The End...sorta...August 9, 1969...The End...For Real, This Time...August 10, 1969...The Beginning...August 10, 1969...The End...August 17-28?, 1969...The Beginning...August 17-28?, 1969...The Middle...August 17-28?, 1969...The End...
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