“I look fairly dazed in the photo”

From Paul Ayers, Balboa Island, California: In spring 1971 I decided to take a break from my studies at Berkeley, and head for the east coast to visit friends from high school.

With four strangers I drove non-stop to New Haven where my friend Paul attended Yale. I stayed with Paul for a week or so and then went up to Boston to see my friend Mitch who was at M.I.T. At that point, for reasons I can no longer recall, I went out to Amherst. There I fell in with a small group of people who were planning to travel to the Mayday demonstrations in Washington D.C. I had done a fair amount of demonstrating at Berkeley and had thought about going to Mayday, so I decided to join them.

We drove without break from Amherst to Washington in a classic VW bus. I don’t recall much of the trip as the group decided to make the journey on LSD. Once in D.C., the group was asked to participate in one of the first actions of the protest, the April 27, 1971 sit-in at the Selective Service Headquarters.

One of the few things I remember about the event was the attempts by Selective Service employees to enter the building; a number were dragged over us; one of them kicked me in the head. It was during this time that the photo used in your book MAYDAY 1971 was taken. I am in the photo as indicated by the green arrow. I look fairly dazed in the photo; that is what no sleep, the use of psychedelics and being kicked in the head will do for you.


I remember we were arrested, loaded in a bus, and taken to a jail. I was locked up for about 4 hours until the mother of one of my Amherst companions, who was a lawyer, bailed the two of out. She took us home to Arlington where I got my first shower in a week or two. I remember her telling me my arrest would keep me from being an attorney; it didn’t.

Shortly thereafter, having had enough of the east coast, I booked a flight to LA where my parents lived. When I got to the bottom of the jetway I went down on my knees and kissed the tarmac.

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