In 1968, after Jim Maxham and I separated, the kids and I moved into a Housing Authority rental on Novak Ave/St. in San Jose, CA. Housing Authority rental = ‘hovel’

The kids were 8 (Tracie), 7 (Scottie), 5 (Laurie), and 2 (Mattie). I was scared the entire time we lived there because it was such a rough area – gangs wandering around, motorcycle gangs roaring up and down the streets, etc.

One day Scottie was mowing the lawn, this tiny little guy that the mower handle was almost higher than he was tall. A guy on a motorcycle stopped and helped him mow the entire lawn and this is how I met and came to rely on the Gypsy Jokers for safety in the neighborhood. From that day on, they always rode by and kept an eye on us.

Fast forward to yesterday, March 29, 2015, 47 years later, reading a book offering –

Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel –
Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel: From a Joker to an Angel by Phil and Meg Cross

[Image: Gypsy%20Jokers_zpswwrzkcs8.jpg]

“In the early 1960s, a young Navy vet, motorcyclist, amateur photographer, and rebel named Phil Cross joined a motorcycle club called the Hells Angels. It turned out to be a bogus chapter of the club that would soon find infamy, so he switched to another club called the Night Riders.

Like the bogus chapter of the Hells Angels, this turned out to be a club whose brotherhood was run by a man Mr. Cross describes as “a complete person.” One day, Mr. Cross stuffed the leader in a ringer-type washing machine and joined a club called the Gypsy Jokers. He started a San Jose chapter of the Jokers and embarked on the most action-packed years of his life.

The Jokers were in the midst of a shooting war with the real Hells Angels. The fighting became so intense that the Jokers posted snipers atop their clubhouse. This was a rough time, but it was also the height of the free-love hippie era, and as a young man, Phil enjoyed himself to the fullest. He never let anything as minor as a little jail time stop his fun. Once, while serving time for fighting and fleeing an officer, Phil broke out of jail, entered his bike in a bike show, won the bike show, and broke back into jail before anyone discovered he was missing.

Though Phil was tough—he was a certified martial arts instructor—the Angels proved a tough foe. After multiple beating-induced emergency room visits, Mr. Cross decided that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so he and most of his club brothers patched over to become the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels…”

I was just amazed looking at this book and reading the description – here were my heroes from the ‘ghetto’ days that luckily we survived and moved on from. I will finish this after I read the book……………… and send Phil Cross a message!!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.

  WAY O.T. - 1968 cjs In 1968, after Jim M...
That is some story, Jean. I always knew you were one tough cookie and I can't even imagine what it was like for you to have to move into a housing authority rental with four small children! What a relief it must have been to know that someone was looking out for you. Hopefully, you didn't have to live there for too many years.

True story...somewhere around 1970, my mother-in-law, her sister, and their mother, packed up a station wagon, hooked up a pop-up trailer, and traveled across the U.S. with 5 children. Ron was already grown at the time, so did not go.

They left Ohio and traveled west along the north route all the way to California, then traveled the southern route back home. They were gone for just over four weeks. So, they got a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere and some bikers came along to help them. Lois said they were nervous the whole time and sent the kids to sit up on a hill to wait it out. But, they were lucky, and the men changed the tire then went on their way, refusing to take any money for helping. I wonder if they were Gypsy Jokers?

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."

  Re: WAY O.T. - 1968 Mare749 That is some story, ...
I hope so!! I was there about a year and then Roy Richard swept me off my feet!!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.

  Re: WAY O.T. - 1968 cjs I hope so!! I was th...
What an incredible story!!! Like Maryann, I knew you had led an adventurous life, but this blew me away! What a frightening experience! I can't wait to find out what you learn!
Keep your mind wide open.
WAY O.T. - 1968

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