Castroville Blues

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Blog, Featured | 5 comments

Castroville Blues

 I recently told a story to a group that I hadn’t shared for years. To be honest, it’s too embarrassing.  I prefer to share stories that are upbeat, funny, or touching. But this one remains on my mind even though it took place over 50 years ago.

When I was in college, I spent a semester on a Field Study in 1968 and got a job at an Outdoor Education School up in the mountains outside of Los Angeles. I was teaching 6th graders about rock formations, astronomy, and other outdoor oriented subjects.  We had a week off for Thanksgiving and I was trying to figure out what to do.

I decided to head up to San Francisco for that week. But I went even farther. I called a female high school friend of mine who lived in the Midwest and asked her to join me. I didn’t know her real well but I had always found her attractive and fun. Plus, my high school girlfriend and I had recently broken up and I missed having a female companion. So, I enticed her by telling her that I would purchase her round trip plane ticket. And she took me up on it.

We both flew into San Francisco and met at the airport. We were staying at a friend’s house in SF. We spent two days having a ball. We went to the Fillmore West and saw Quicksilver Messenger Service, we took the ferry out to Alcatraz, we hiked out at Lands End, and we walked everywhere.  On the Saturday after Thanksgiving I suggested that we hitchhike down to Carmel for the day before she flew home on Monday. And she was game so we got up early on Saturday morning, put on our backpacks, and began hitchhiking .

By late morning we were standing by the edge of the road in Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, with only about a half an hour to go. Across the highway was a guy hitchhiking north towards San Francisco. So, we went over and chatted with him for a while. Nice guy but I don’t remember much about him. After about 15 minutes, I went back to our side of the highway and resumed hitchhiking.  They continued to chat for about another 15 minutes before she came back over to join me.

All of a sudden, a car stopped across the highway as it was heading north, and the guy we had chatted with ran up to it and talked to the driver for a few moments. He then waved his arm at us and my hitchhiking partner put on her backpack, ran across the highway, got into the car with him, and it sped off.

I was stunned. What did I do wrong? Was she upset with me? We seemed to be having such a great time. What did that guy say to her?  Where did she go? I never saw her again. Not ever. We just disappeared from each other’s lives. I remember being haunted for a while. I knew that I had tried a bit too hard. But, a little over two months later, I went on another hitchhiking adventure with Farn to go see the Mississippi River and we’ve been together ever since (see my blog from March 2016 entitled Our First Date). Maybe I learned something from this disaster.


  1. I would not have forgotten an experience like that too, John. WOW. Another of life’s lessons…….expect the unexpected. Hard to do tho

  2. John,
    Again I was heartbroken when I read Your consulting story today. By any chance was the girl’s name Sandra Good and the other hitchhiker’s name Charles Manson? It’s not too late to get to the bottom of this.

    Background Checks and Public Records Search – Truthfinder

    If I was you, I’d check this site. You might have the last laugh. If she’s in jail, you can write her a letter and laugh at her.

  3. Your loss is your gain with Farn. Artichokes can do some strange things to people.

  4. Admit it: you had a lot of fun until that moment.
    Only the end was not predicted by you. You lost control .
    I bet she continued her adventure..
    Embarrassing? Yes.
    A loss? No?

  5. Love your story, though the ending was sad for you. Wish I had known better a free spirit like you all those years ago. It was one of those turn around experiences that you don’t know why until the rest of your story plays out. You and Fern have had a great life together. So though the disappointment must have been very strong at that moment, it has turned into the great journey of a lifetime – your lifetime, your story! May your journey continue to be an overall joy despite all the bumps along the way. Jo

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