Back story: Following is an excerpt (in part) from Dr. Mollie Fry‘s biography in progress. Fry was incarcerated May 2, 2011 and is currently serving a five year sentence in Federal prison for “manufacturing and distributing marijuana” in California – a medically legal state. She was not allowed a medical defense.
At the time of the raid on the family home she was growing 34 plants in a small greenhouse on her rural property outside of Sacramento, medicating from a double mastectomy and subsequent chemotherapy treatments. She was also sharing her harvest with needful patients at no charge.
Her lineage includes seven generations of physicians from both sides of her family isle. Her grandfather Francis M. Pottenger founded Internal Medicine in this country.
Chapter Three: Finding God
Mollie knelt by her bunk bed and prayed. The small room, shared currently by three other female “bunkies” was one of many in a row with a single hallway down the middle of a two-story wooden building built in 1938 as military housing.
On the wall above her locker a one foot square board held a collage of the life she was missing, two grand babies, a new daughter-in-law and a new step-grand daughter who had just lost her two front teeth. Mollie sighed and thought, “God would turn even this experience to good, but sometimes the end result was difficult to fathom.”
A band of physicians, psychologists, and specialists, the family faith was based wholly in science and what technological advances it could bring to health and healing. Consequently, Mollie never attended church as a child.
My father, my mother, their parents before them, were all scientifically trained, and as doctors they believed knowledge and discovery held the solution to life’s problems. We talked about the complexity and beauty of nature, not the power of God. I knew some people thought there was a God but not my parents. That said I always felt there was something greater than myself helping me through my young, solitary life.
Malibu was much different in the 1960s from the affluent community known today. At that time the beach community was an isolated place with small strings of vacation houses running along a 27 mile (21 today) rocky shoreline. Of the fifteen or more homes along the coast where the Fry’s lived only a handful were occupied year-round. Lacking playmates, rejected by her younger brother, Mollie often found herself alone.
I played with nature and an infinite variety of life along the beach. Tide pools filled with sea life were my only companions. The incredible power behind the waves and the changes of the tides impress me greatly to this day. In just 12 hours blankets of water shifts tons of sand, with God’s hand turning our rocky coast into a sandy beach, then back again.
It was her carefree mother, once constrained by an overbearing mother, who taught her to respect nature, appreciate its diversity, and explore the unknown.
When Mollie was just seven years old she set out on foot down the beach, as was her norm. It wasn’t unusual for the curious little girl to lose track of time, and soon the sun was setting, the tide was coming up fast and a mile of beach lay between her and the home. By the time she arrived waves were splashing against the 10 to 15 foot high sea wall protecting the house, causing a wet barrier between the comfort of home and imminent death for the little girl.
I recognized this was a very bad situation, and it made me feel very little. Unable to traverse the distance safely, I wanted to just sit down and cry, but knew that would not help my situation. Instead I felt an inner strength and heard a little voice inside myself, gently telling me how to pass the waves.
Pulling out the ruled notebook she’d been journaling in, Mollie adjusted her sweatshirt, and went out into the garden to write. A minimum security prison, Dublin Camp was open and guards had no orders to stop her from leaving. The catch was, when they bring you back an additional full sentence is added. In Mollie’s case – a prisoner of the failed “War on Drugs,” she would have another five years added.
She sat and contemplated the frightened little girl inside her, scrambling to safety on that dark, rocky beach. Not much different than today, she smiled to herself, putting her pencil to paper.
The voice told me when to run as the waves went out to sea, when to hide behind the seawall and when to cling to the rocky hill under the houses. When I made it home I was wet and cold. It was now dark as night outside, but my mother never noticed my condition. I felt invisible to them, but I knew I was not alone any longer. I had God to protect me – my inner strength, my guiding light to safety.
One by one her bunkies arrived back to the room, bickering and arguing over a simple curtain drawn or not. “Time to put the journal away,” she thought to herself, pushing the negative vibe of the women out of her head. Besides, there was no denying, her pencil was dull. “Of all the conflicts I’ve been in and I’m halted by a dull pencil and small minds!”
She had to laugh, or she would cry herself to sleep, again.
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Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.
At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”
Today Sharon continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including DOPE (Defending Our Patients Everywhere).
She also pens “Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,” touring MMJ states, following the Green Rush.