That Started A Week After The Passing of Our Beloved Brother
In Hopes That You, Not Fade Away!
We all have our own story to tell about that dreadful summer morning when Jerry left us.
That day changed my life, forever. Here is my story...
I was awaken by a phone call early in the morning by my sister Helen's voice on my answering machine. She was speaking real slow with the same tone she had when she told me of the death of our father a couple years before.
"Jerry's gone... he's gone!!!" I ran to the phone and just listened to her. Couldn't believe her, didn't want to believe her. I turned on the stereo to KZON, a local radio station here in the Tempe, Arizona area that most of us sisters and brothers tuned into. They were just announcing the offical word of Jerry's death. I just dropped to my knees and cried. I was waiting for someone to wake me from the nightmare... somebody to tell me that it wasn't so. I couldn't speak, I didn't know what to do. I was alone and cold. I listened and waited for an update on where everybody was going to gather. Most of my friends had left town, headed for San Francisco. Hours went by and still no word. I took it upon myself to call the local TV and radio stations to set up some kind of gathering spot. We announced that we were gathering at a place called HOLE IN THE ROCK in Phoenix at sundown. When we got there, we were shocked to see that there were police everywhere. They blocked off the road for parking, and took care of traffic. The whole mountain was lit up by candles. ( the newspapers said that there were over 500 of us on that mountain. ) It was far out! The sounds of drums were heard for miles. The sweet smell of sage in the air. There was no words. Just crys and drums. Every so often you would hear the words, "what now, what are we going to do now?" The helicopters began flying over and news people flocked the mountain interviewing grieving family. I got pretty mad at one point and told them to put the cameras away. Jerry is gone man... he is gone... like the wind he came, and like the wind he go. When it was time for the park to close we all passed the word to gather here the same day next week (thats when our drum circles at Papago Park started, and proud to say they are still beating strong) I heard of a few suicides that was in relation to the passing of Jerry. Now, that was going a bit too far. I kept hearing the words linger in my head " what now? " I had a dream one night to start a phone line to keep everybody together. The next morning I called and set up a voicemail service and made hundreds of fliers reading...
NOT FADE AWAY, STAY IN TOUCH WITH KIND FAMILY!!!
Well, needless to say, Moonlit Gatherings was born.
I can't even tell you where the name came from. I just wrote it down, there it be.
We passed out fliers everywhere we went.( We even jump out at red lights to those cars marked with kind stickers ) A Phish show came through town and we passed out over 3000 fliers! We had to quickly move to a bigger voicemail system to support well over 1500 calls per week. The drum circles started first, then we started our " Sunday Pot Lucks" which still continue today at a local Tempe park. Our weekend campouts started with well over 200 people showing up. At one of our campouts, a band was formed. We called it "420". Sounded good to me. We decided to have a little hoedown in the desert of Scottsdale. We called it the "After Halloween Bash" (it was on the weekend after Halloween in 1995) Over 800 smiling hippies attended!!! Mother Earth's Healing Circus (from DEAD tour) showed up in their school bus and had some KYND trips for all. It was a shrooming time. I had no idea that this many people were going to show up. It was amazing. This Lightline seemed to be working. It was at that show that I became Sister Sunshine aka Alberta Rose(which is my birthname, after being born in Alberta, Canada) I knew that Jerry was guiding my path at this point. This was the first of many "GATHERINGS." We had a 1996 New Years Gathering. Camping for the weekend, 6 bands played. It's hard to tell just how many people did show up, but I can tell you that the numbers is over 1000.We started renting out different venues, always having three day gatherings with camping all weekend, including 10 to 12 local bands. I really support our local bands. These performers make us all feel so good with thier kind tunes, and hardly get paid for what they do. I always try to pay our bands very well.
It's important to know that I am not doing what I do for the money, but for the high that I get from all my smiling dancing irie sisters and brothers. These gatherings are put on by family, for family! The last show that we had was the Bob Marley Jerry Garcia Tribute. Many brothers and sisters showed up, traveling from surrounding states, like Colorado and Utah.
Moonlit Gatherings has had its ups and downs. Or rather my life has had its ups and downs after my boyfriend and I had split up after eight years and two children. It was very hard to deal with and the lightline has gone down a few times, changed the numbers, came back on with an 800 number, and when the National Rainbow Gathering came to Arizona a couple years back, we sank into a big money pit. You see, we were allowed a limit of 200 calls on that (800) line per month, without paying extra. Needless to say we went over that amount by 850 calls.(Everybody was calling us for direction to the gathering) After the 200th call we were charged $.35 per call. We did ask for donations, but , well... not much came in. Sadly, I just couldn't pay the bill myself, and we were forced to shut down the line while I caught up. (still not caught up) We did loose our number and lost a lot of kind callers at that time. We had callers from all around the U.S !!
With much love and thanks to my Mama, I have this Fatty computer and we are now ONLINE!!!
Shine On, Moonlit Gatherings, Shine On - Online!
So this is my story, my words, the life of Moonlit Gatherings.
Welcome and Enjoy !
Much Respect, ~*~Sister Sunshine~*~