Listeners can now subscribe to the remastered version of my free audiobook Nobody's Property: Living on the Remains of a Life in California on Podiobooks.com. I am working on scanning pictures and other ephemera from Jenny/Rose's trunk and on providing a free PDF of each chapter. Find the pictures and chapters on my living on the remains page.
A few years ago, my father told me the story of how my Aunt Jenny's remains were shipped back to be put into different ground. Dad called me from Oklahoma to describe how my grandmother Edith stood by while workers dug up the urn from under the small brass marker that barely wrinkled the surface of the grass in Oak Park Cemetery. They opened the urn; Edith looked inside. I could see her standing there, in a tasteful suit and stockings and pumps, her light hair neatly and stiffly styled, bowing her head to see. “There were actually quite large bone fragments mixed with the ashes," Dad said. The urn was too heavy for Edith to take on the plane from California to Oklahoma. So she shipped it U.P.S. Ground.
When I was two years old, my parents and I lived for a while in a cottage up Laurel Canyon. There is a picture of me from this time: I'm wearing toddler-sized cowgirl buckskins, my red hair is in high pigtails poking out each side of my head, I'm smiling, and I'm holding a toothbrush. Remember, this was less than two years after the Manson Family came down from the Ranch and murdered Sharon Tate and her guests up on Cielo Drive. The crazed women tasted blood and used it to scrawl PIG on the door. They crashed more than a party; they crashed a culture. And across the continent and the ocean, people were looking for my Aunt Jenny.