The Day I Met Susan Atkins

This is a guest post by Fayez Abedaziz. It tells the story of Fayez meeting a young girl named Sadie back in 1969. Thanks for the beautiful story Fayez.

“Whatcha doin’?”

Walking out of the food market that sun bright day, in July, 1969, with cigarettes and a bottle of cold soda pop, I started down the parking lot toward the street when a movement caught my eye to a fence by a strip of grass at the side area leading to the back of the store.There, in a sort of a flashy movement was a girl, with one hand against a tree, waving at someone with her other hand.

My first thought was that there was a teen girl, 15, 16 or so, just having fun.Then I saw some people talking and laughing, further down, at the back of the store, right at what was obviously a loading dock, a platform leading to the back door.
Two girls stood there giggling and a store worker, wearing an apron, stood there smiling, kind of a goofy grin, you know, like a young guy would react to the attention from or just having a laugh with a couple of cute young girls.

As they went on talking and laughing, the girl by the tree turned and looked right at me as I walked and wondered what she was doing.
I saw that she was not that young, I guessed maybe 19 or 20, my age.
She was waving her arm as I stopped, and looking at her, I thought what a cute, long shiny haired brunette she was.
She stopped moving her arm around and looked at me with a smile.
I remember thinking, what a straight out in your face smile.
Then she said, “whatch doin’?
I returned her smile and said, “hi, how ya doin…I was gonna ask you that.”

She was slim with a nice figure and I saw that she was a pretty girl. She wore pants and a shirt, loose fitting and tennis shoes, as we used to call flat sports shoes.
“So, like, what are you doing, you live around here?” she asked.
“No, I’m actually from Colorado…just visiting here for awhile.”

She walked closer to me, then she gestured to the ground.
Then she walked a few feet down to the grass and sat down.
“Hey, sit here, let’s talk.
I walked over and sat. I took a cigarette out of my pack and she said she would like one.
Then, moving her head back and forth from the direction of her two friends at the back of the store to where we sat, she waved her hand and the two girls waved back.

“How about a pop, I’m thirsty.”
I said sure, I’ll go over and get you one, but she just reached out and slipped the bottle out of my hand.
I was a little surprised, but then I thought, well, this is a hip down to earth girl, you know, no airs, no games, share and be cool.
Dig it, it’s the late 60’s, you know?

“So how long are you gonna be here?”
I told her around a week, though I was going back to Colorado in a couple of days.
I was thinking that if she thought I was going to be here that long, we would have a better chance of spending time together, because you never know when you meet a girl.

I asked her, “so what are you doing, I mean your friends there, what are you guys up to?”
She said that they had already shopped in the store but that they knew that worker from before.
She said something about how they try to get food and other things for free when store throw some away.

“Where do you live,” I asked her.
“Not far from here.” She gestured with her hand and said it was, “like a commune.”
Well, I thought, there you have it, she really was a hippie girl, how about that.
We smoked and she said, “what’s your name anyway?” I told her and then asked what her name was.
She laughed and said something about having a cool name, and, lifting her arms up, she said, in a louder voice,

We talked for a while, it was around noon, when I said, well, just where is this commune and I mentioned that I had been in a couple of houses in the Colorado mountains, including in the Boulder area that served as a common living area for a bunch of ‘hip’ people.
She said it was in a ranch not far from here, that it was in some hills and that people came for horse rides. That western movies used to be filmed there. Then she said there was a separate area where they slept and ‘did their own thing,’
Had she been more specific, I would have connected things sooner than I did those years later.
She said, “our group” and how they all get along and do a lot together.

We must have talked for around half an hour when we looked over and saw her two friends laughing and walking this way.
The two girls were holding a box and a big brown bag.
Then Sadie said wait a minute and she got up and walked toward the girls.
I saw them look me over and laughing and Sadie walked back over, sat in front of me and said that she told her friends that she would catch up with them later and said we could spend some time together.
The girls said hi, waved at me and waked away.

I asked about her commune, as to how are you girls going to get back.
She said that they had borrowed a car. It turned out that the two girls were going to go shopping further away for other things and they would meet later on to go back home again.

She asked me if I smoked pot. I said, yeah, and that I also tried hash and that got me stoned and I would never do that again.
She laughed at that, then she mentioned acid.
Well, yeah, I said, I’ve done some trips.
She said that she and her friends tripped at their commune and she talked about some of what she’d seen there. Some of the scenes were funny, as she described them, and that it was weird how some people reacted.

It was sunny and warm as I expected in California, and it felt so peaceful to just walk around and to sit and relax.
I remember how easily we spent that time, as two kids, the same age and free to just wander around with no cares or problems.
One of the images that stays and plays in my mind, is glancing at her every few moments as we walked and talked.
Seeing her sideways, she looked so young, and most of all, she sounded so sincere.
She would talk about serious subjects and would still tell a joke or a little story about some of her personal experiences.
I thought that she wanted to impress me and I felt good about that.

She seemed to know, or played it by ear, the layout of the area. We would stop at a store and get some pop and snacks as we walked and sat here and there.
When we walked, which was quite a bit of, she told me about her time in San Francisco. I was curious and asked her to tell me more.
She said that she was in the Haight – Ashbury area.
Wow, really, I said, we all heard about that place.

Sadie said that there were hassles from the cops just going into apartments looking to bust people for pot.
It was really cool before, but it got bad with a lot of people moving in the area that just wanted to use you, it wasn’t good anymore.
Then she said there was a time where she and some friends were by the park and some ‘straights’, meaning un-hip people called them dirty hippies and so on, and she kicked one of them when he shoved one her friends. She said that she then ran into the park.
I laughed at that, and she said, you like that? I said, well, I can picture you running like hell after you kicked one of the troublemankers
in that park.
When she mentioned that the Beatle George Harrison had visited the Haight and walked around Golden Gtate Park, I didn’t believe her.
That’s why I didn’t ask her if she saw him there.
Later, I found out that George had actually been there and a large number of people saw and walked with him there.

The walking and stopping here and there, from a fast food place where we sat and ate on a bench, to a park, was cool with me because, well, me being me, here was a cute girl that wanted to be with me.
When I asked her about her friends and the commune she lived at she said that they were the only people she liked and trusted and how cool they were.
She didn’t mention a Charlie.
I didn’t mention the trauma I went through after I had lived with a group of hippies, for a week, which included one of the girls and I in one of the tents, and how I ended up with a broken heart and I collapsed, alone in the mountains, after the week was over.
That was in the summer of 1968, a year before now, here, with Sadie.
That hippie girl and Sadie would later be the main reasons why I would never be the same again.
That was also why I wrote my just completed book about the 60’s, and me, all true, and telling it the way it really was.
That part about the hippie girl, Julie, has a Part of the five parts in my book. It includes LSD trips I took and my commentary, as in all sections of my book about what was ‘happening’ in American culture.
Since Julie left me, I had been continually looking for girls to make love with love with, and that went on for years. I had the fortune of girls being attracted to me.

Later, it was late afternoon, Sadie led us onto a path that seemed to be like the foothills by a town in Colorado or New Mexico.
We waked along the dirt path, going up a ways, and soon we sat some yards away among some bushes.
Sitting there, I did what I usually do, when I’m with a girl. I put my hand into hers. She looked at me and smiled. I leaned over and kissed her. We made out for some minutes and I was, well, that’s me, excited. Then she stood and I didn’t know what she was doing.
She reached with her hand down and I took it and stood.
She walked us further away and we were surrounded by big rocks, bushes and trees.

Sadie stopped in front of a tree, then she did a little dance, wiggled her hips, and sat in front of that tree, and with an open palm, hit the ground in front of her, looking up at me with that same wide smile.

We were there for around an hour. For a while, before we left, after we made love, we were on our sides talking and I will never forget her face and her eyes as I looked at her. Later, I would think, ‘I know when someone is telling the truth.’ That same truth I would see in an interview with her, years later, the first one she did for a television interviewer.

We walked and went to another grocery store for something to snack on and she asked me for the third or fourth time to come with her. Come on, you’ll like, you’ll see, and son, she would say.
I have to meet some friends , I said.
She said wait a minute and walked back into the store and I saw her take a pen from a cashier and she leaned on the counter and wrote something. She walked back to me and said, here’s a number, just call that and ask for Sadie.
I said, okay. I wasn’t planning on it at the time.

The day’s brightness was ending and we ended up right where we started. Sure enough, her two friends were there, sitting next to a car. We sat with them and we talked and joked around for half an hour or so.
They were friendly and open.

When they got up, ready to go, they hesitated and kept looking at me and Sadie, back and forth.
“He’s not coming with us, he can’t now.”
They said bye and piled into the car.
Sadie sat in the back, and, as the car pulled away, she waved at me with her fingers and she had a sad look on her face. The first one I’d seen on her.

The next day, I was waiting in a restaurant for the friend I was visiting to come over so that he could take me sightseeing in the L.A. area.
As I was having lunch, I decided that I wanted to see Sadie again. Because I wanted us to alone together again.
I walked to the phone booth in the restaurant and called the number she gave me.
It was at least eight or ten rings before it was answered. A girl asked who it was. I said I was calling for Sadie. There was noise in the background and she asked me again what did I want. I didn’t think she was taking my call seriously. Then she said, wait a minute.
I waited and it was at least two minutes when I heard another girl’s voice. Who is it, she asked. I said I’m calling to talk to Sadie.
Then she said, “are you like, the law or something.” I got a little angry and almost yelled back, but I said, look, I’m not the law, I’m just a friend of Sadie’s and I wanna talk to her.
I don’t know where she is and I can’t go looking for her now, she said back to me.
Okay, thanks. Bye.

There are those experiences that happen and well, you just say, it is what it is.
I liked her than and I like her now.
She said her name was Sadie.
She is Susan Atkins.
I was a young boy and she was a young girls, and so, that is the whole context of that time we were together, not what was to be in a month or in a year later. She was, to my eyes and mind a pretty girl.
I thought that that was a good day, as Sadie and her friends drove away, and that I was a lucky guy. I was lucky, as a passionate young boy.
Thinking of her, as I would think of other girls I had spent time with, was always a really nice time to think of.
And, when I had a mind crash, and fell on the grass, on the University of Colorado campus, in June, 2016, it was Sadie’s image that was up there in the sky, along with beautiful hippie Julie, my acid trips, and anti-war demonstrations and on and on, of my experiences in the late 60’s.
When I was helped up, by a couple, students, that were walking by, the girl of the two first leaned down and wiped the tears around my eyes.


19 thoughts on “The Day I Met Susan Atkins

  1. Hi Carly,
    I don’t know who the two girls were, but were around the same age as me, or a couple years younger All I remember is they were really friendly and smiling like they had no cares, just open and nice. They both had lighter hair than Sadie.

  2. Tom,
    Hi, when I found that Sadie was Susan, years ago, and read some of the false and hateful descriptions of her it really affected, kind of screwed up my mind.
    Some of what was said about her was not true.
    In 2007, I wrote a letter to her, but on the way to the post office, I stopped on the sidewalk for a minute, like a dummy, then I threw the letter away.
    The only one I wrote to was Leslie Van Houten, last year. I and others are trying to get her freedom.
    I sent her a postcard, a colorful one, just to kind of cheer her up.
    I didn’t ask her to write back. I just said hope you’re well and that I wrote to Governor Brown.
    Thanks for the friendly question.

    1. What a great story! Thanks for sharing. Lucky you! U met her and banged her in the same day. I wasn’t even alive yet in’ 69, but it must have been great time to be alive! Let’s hope they let Leslie out, enough is enough. Governor Brown needs to mind his own business and let her get paroled.

  3. Thanks for that Justin,
    Sometimes I wish that people could have seen and felt what I did in those days with people and places I knew and are gone.
    The majority of kids-teens to their twenties- that looked and wanted to be with a group of ‘hip’ people, or hippies in a commune place were well meaning and wanted to see, to discover a more down to earth, sometimes spiritual way to live.
    It seemed to me that a lot of that started with the Beatles with long hair, songs about different things, love, peace, no to violence (especially from good man John Lennon) and to ‘know’ and to ‘care.’
    I saw girls like Leslie and guys like Paul Watkins.
    They were looking for that simple ‘aware’ life, to belong with ‘our fellow’ guys and gals.
    One night, minutes for Susan and for Leslie, a combination of drugs and that mindset from some guys at Spahn, and believing, for a while, being ‘zombied out,’ that’s all it took. If not for that ride and those minutes, neither girl would ever have hurt anyone.
    Neither girl killed anyone. They were accomplices and were dumb. It’s all debated and I show what I mean in my upcoming book about the late 60’s. I don’t say this to argue here. There are other forums for that and I’m tired of the hate said about Leslie and Susan.
    Yeah, the years 1967-1969 were ‘something else’…like…you know…
    I think that you would have really liked it there. There were wonderful hippies I was with for a while, the true good hearted and fun ones in Colorado. That’s in my book.
    The difference between others and myself is, I was there, I did and I saw.
    And, thanks for your support for Leslie’s freedom. She’s there but they release those that committed 1 or 2 murders after 20, or 30 years, how’s that justice?
    I wish I could go back to those two days in Chatsworth. Maybe, if saw her again, well…you heard of the difference ‘one flap of a butterfly’ could do to change things…

  4. There really is no justice in this country, I really don’t have much hope for that. It’s sad. You have cops out there that murder people and its caught on video yet they walk free, time and time again. The girls realize their mistakes and are reformed and can be productive members of society and if released would NOT kill anybody . These cops will kill again and are free to walk the streets. That is justice in America. I do commend the parole board for granting Leslie’s release, but shame on the Governor for interfering, he’s a real scumbag for that. What’s the name of the book?

  5. Cool enough Steve, thanks.
    Also, here, I wanna say sorry for some misspelled words. As I was typing, the connection kept going in and out, so I was eager to get the article posted when I saw that the internet connection looked steady and so, I quickly pressed ‘post.’

  6. Fayez, it is too bad you aren’t happy about the things said about Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten. They participated in some of the most brutal crimes imaginable. You tak about having sex with Atkins, yet a month or so later she is holding Sharon Tate with a knife to her throat, telling her “look bitch I have no mercy for you. You are going to die so you better be ready”. Disgusting. Leslie holding Mrs LaBianca down while Krenwinkel begins to stab her and then she joins in saying “the more you do it the more fun it is”. I am sorry but I just don’t get you. By the way, I am the same age as Krenwinkel. I have no interest in your book. I lived the 60’s. I lived not far from Spahn Ranch. It was a crazy place. As far as Krenwinkel and Van Houten being released? God I hope not. They received the death penalty and it was over turned to life with possibility of parole. I tell you what. Once all the victims are released from their graves, including an unborn baby boy, then maybe we can consider parole. Until them, no.

  7. Hello Rosie how are ya, hope you’re fine. Good. Well, okay,
    can time truly heal
    see there that green slowly swaying leaf on a still quiet California eve at that hill in Simi Valley or at Santa Susana a yellow butterfly you’re gazing at it see it floating away in this warm air floating away like the softly waving memories floating around in our minds oh some memories of some 60’s days the images take me away some sad some pleasant Sadie what did you mean cause I was thinkin’ and writin’ have another sigh as you’re reading and let me gaze into your eyes as you’re reading, Rosie and others, some sad and some…it’s not all gone away she passed me the joint and I lay back with my head on her lap and Sadie smiled and said you’re a boy from the desert and her eyes went up to the skies and she seemed to float away can we keep tryin’ to find some meanings without crying Rosie, it’s alright you don’t wanna read my book it’s also delayed by months with additions, editing, agents it’s only around 700 pages there’s never been a book like this I got exhausted keeping so much inside when I read what I wrote…it ‘blew my mind’ all I had seen and done no one saw and did what I did in the late 60’s no one in the US or the world I could think and talk in two cultures before I was twelve without an accent I was both a foreigner looking at America in America and as an American living here all this time I hung around and lived with real honest ‘hippies’ at times I lived on and off with glamorous rich girls-
    two times with two girls at the same time-four different girls- I was called a radical cause of some activism anti-war demonstrations and more- and I saw and traveled and met and sat with every, just about, anyway, Americans from the city to the country, and know how and what they do and think, generally, anyway I’m not looking for approval for what I did think or for anything in my book- I didn’t want or need
    anything or any opinion from any agency, entity or any person- it’s all my experiences views and opinions the part about Susan with visits to Cielo Spahn the Courthouse and more is around two hundred pages it’s what occurred and there is a lot of ‘fun and funny’ let’s say, the way I wrote it -I didn’t make society society made me-
    like the sun and rain and then…the wind made the leaf on that tree go to Simi or Spahn or Colorado and you will see have a nice day and eve and too…do you like soothing herbal tea?

    1. Fayez, I am sorry but I do not understand you. You are saying you were 12 when you had your encounter with Atkins? Your writing seems to show you have not really matured very much. Do you understand that Atkins was leading a life of crime long before she met Manson? Granted she had a tough life as a kid but lots of us did. Yet we did not make the decision to commit cold blooded murder. Believe me I see the beauty in nature as I live in one of the most beautiful states here in America. But there is much more to life than leaves blowing in the wind. All your colorful writing is childish. You had a sexual encounter at 12. Nothing to brag about. Please try to understand, Atkins was not a beautiful person. She gladly helped break into a house and helped tie up terrified people. She helped stab and murder terrified people. Have you ever looked at the photos of the victims taken after their deaths? Have you ever considered their terror and pain? Have you ever considered the pain it caused their loved ones? Have you ever thought of an unborn baby? No. You think of a sexual encounter between yourself and Atkins. A cup of herbal tea is meaningless. You I believe are delusional and truthfully I doubt your story. Grow up. Understand even if you did have that encounter with Atkins it was meaningless. She was nothing but a cold blooded killer who laughed about her crimes.

  8. I guess that you don’t get that I’m writing as I do, at times, in a different and usually humorous/sarcastic way. I don’t see how you misread what I said about being 12 years old: I said that by the time I was 12 I had the experience of two cultures and languages, NOT sex, for crying out loud! I was twenty years old when I met Susan. Read the post about my meeting her, it says that. I have posts on sites that deal with real world problems and my book has serious issues, including legal ones at the Manson trial. If I cared about what people think of how I write, in various ways, I wouldn’t do it. My writings are based on what I have done and what I have found by research, too.
    I use my real name everywhere and when I talk of serious subjects it is usually with straight forward analysis and straight on opinions. So, what some see as ‘different’ writings or whatever, by me, apparently don’t see that some of us have some creativity. From my degree in history, to an equal amount of credits for an English major, to my having read dozens of books on matters of history, to my research on the Manson situations with many books on that subject, I don’t give a rat’s butt what anyone thinks about me views and writings. I say what I believe and think, because I know things and most people do not. I’n not a scholar, and so, my book is a general historical narrative. But I also see how ignorant and delusional so many people are these days. I’m one of the last people you and some others should question since we have principles and are not in a popularity contest. Along with some others on sites dealing with the Manson situations, I say that we have ‘done our homework,’ and have something to say. There’s nothing mysterious or weird about us writing in various ways and so on, except, as I stated above, there are, at times, sarcastic and fun ways of addressing an issue here and there. Knowledge is power and that is much of what gives someone as myself, confidence. I take a stand like a man and I feel good about myself. Have a good day.

  9. Okay so you were 20 when you met Atkins. So you received 2 different cultures. Got news for you. Thousands of people come from many different cultures. I am terribly disturbed by Justin Quintana comments. He admits he was not even born in 1969. He has no idea of how horrible that summer was. Although there were many young people wandering the country, there were plenty who weren’t and who were doing productive things with their lives. What happened to Gary Hinman, Sharon Tate and her unborn child, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Rose Mary and Leno LaBIanca and Jerome
    “Shorty” Shea was unspeakable. I for one will never forget them. Manson and Watson threatened the lives of my brothers when they were 14 and 16. Somehow by the grace of God they got away. This was weeks before the murders began. You have something to say…well so do I am the many people who do not want any of the killers paroled. I am just totally sick and tired of seeing people who were not even alive in 1969 feel that “enough is enough”. I had a friend who’s 2 1/2 year old niece was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by a man who was released from prison because “enough was enough” concerning his time served. He was out less than 2 weeks when he killed that child. I take a stand like a woman! Our justice system is not perfect but it is what we have. I do not agree with killing police. Certainly there are good and bad policemen and women. I don’t think Justin sees that. A friend of mine to this day, who knew many in the Manson Family simply cannot believe they murdered all those people. This is even after they admitted their crimes. It saddens me. I can understand your memories of Atkins, but I think if it was me I would keep it to myself. What she did was heinous. What they all did was unthinkable yet they chose to do it. I am one of thousands who every time one of the killers come up for parole, who writes begging that they deny parole. I feel they got their parole when the State Of California stopped the death penalty in 1972. Thank God it was reinstated. Believe me I have knowledge but sometimes too much knowledge can result in too much power. I am also a confident woman. I just hate to see people who just feel that Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van HOuten, Davis, Beausoliel and others are victims. The true victims are the people they put in graves and their families.

      1. This was shortly before they murdered Gary Hinman. My brothers were on a hill over looking Spahn ranch as there were VW parts scattered all over the ranch. My brothers were 16 and 14 and just sitting up there looking down. There was plenty of talk about the ranch and the girls who ran around naked, the drug use and the stolen VW’s. Suddenly a very shot man with a pistol and a tall dark haired man with a gun came charging up the hill threatening my brothers. They jumped in the car and got the hell out of there and never went back. It was after the arrests that my brother’s realized who the 2 men were. Scared them to death. Another friend of mine knew Watson and she to this day is in denial of his guilt. She felt he was too nice and too good looking to do something so horrible. I told her he admitted to what he did and not all monsters are ugly. She also knew Atkins and a few of the other girls but I told her I was not interested in who they were. My family lived not far from Spahn Ranch and my brother-in-law who worked for a super market at that time said he found Atkins, Good, Moorehouse, Van Houten and Fromme dumpster diving numerous times.

  10. You are welcome. You have to understand that many of us to this day have worries over any of the Manson gang being released. I have another story. Back in May of ’69 we were visiting my grandmother who lived in Ashland, Kentucky. My aunt who lived across the Ohio River was telling us about a guy who kept coming into the small coffee shop she worked in as a waitress. He called himself “preacher” and had several girls with him. They were staying in an abandoned farm house across the Ohio River in Huntington, W. Va. During that time a man in Ashland was stabbed so badly the knife went through and he was pinned to the floor. My grandmother knew him and she was scared to death. Shortly after that, “preacher” and his girls were run off and the farm house was burned down by locals. When the book “Helter Skelter” came out I read about Manson being in that area during that time period and it completely freaked me out. Amazing how many lives he and his followers have touched.

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