Candice Romanow and Daniel Littlewood

Recorded May 7, 2011 Archived May 7, 2011 34:13 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY007811


Candice Romanow (64) tells facilitator Daniel Littlewood (32) about being in San Francisco in the 1960s, living alone in the woods, and her travels in Cambodia.

Subject Log / Time Code

Candice went to college for a year, then went to San Francisco. There, she tried acid and she drank all day. Then after 1 year, she stopped drinking.
Candice went to school for astrology, tarot, and kabbalah. She then went to Big Sur and lived in the woods, eating only brown rice, herbs, and lettuce.
She didn’t become lonely for a long time, she figured out who she was and stayed there for about a year.
Candice explains life lessons she’s learned.
Candice remembers her time in Cambodia. She remembers the food and slow-flowing rivers. She did origami.


  • Candice Romanow
  • Daniel Littlewood

Recording Location

MobileBooth West

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:03 My name is Daniel little would I am 32 years old? I'm here in Ukiah, California on May 7th 2011, and I'm here with Candice. So I just got a chance to meet.

00:16 My name is Candice and Harold Romano. I am twice 32 years old. Today's date is May 7th 2011. I'm in Ukiah California, and I'm the interviewee that is quite a name. I didn't know the full name before we start talking. Can you talk a little bit about each and every part of that?

00:39 Candice and they told me was a good Southern name.

00:44 Harold is a scots-irish name and romanow is a Russian Jewish married name.

00:51 All those are my name. I also have been given names and various other places in the world. I've answered to a ostra sarasvati saturada.

01:06 Song of water there's more

01:13 Tell me a list of the time in Kansas. So that's and I believe you said Tulsa, Oklahoma.

01:23 So how did that mix of names come together in your family first when you were gone? I don't think of Oklahoma as Russian Jews or both of my parents were scots-irish in English. I suspect there was a little bit of Indian and my father they wouldn't really talk about that. I had a four-leaf clover patch in my backyard. So that's part of the Irish. I could always produce a four-leaf clover from Clover everywhere, but one of the section that was for late the whole bunch of them.

01:54 But you did not stay in Oklahoma and those days you could play in the streets and you know, the whole neighborhood would be out there playing and all the parents was kind of keep an eye on everybody's kids and and I like to climb trees and fill adventuring and one day they painted my room pink while I was outside playing football or something, but now I like the dolls and things to sew it, you know, it was pretty good growing up in my memory of that.

02:33 I went to college only for a year and then I left and went with my college roommate and a few other people and awfully headed to San Francisco. It was 1967. What what what brought you out there? What was the what happened in Tulsa soon to make you think well, maybe San Francisco's the place to be

02:56 Well, I have been told that I could go to any college I wanted to and I had to go on a tour of colleges and I chose and Cornell and the fact is my mother was jealous of that and stopped it. So I ended up in what I called Oklahoma State University and the class is weren't even as good as my high school class at the introductory once and so I didn't have any sense of the world. I was Oklahoma. I was from Southeast Tulsa Oklahoma, but my roommates thought she father was a colonel in the Air Force. She know all about the world. She said what's happening to San Francisco. So I said, okay whatever so I didn't have any picture at all of any of it.

03:42 Do you remember your first kind of that the driver your first impressions anything first class because we were flying standby and in those days if there was a first-class you could just fly first class on standby and style. It was hard finding an apartment. It was hard finding a job. We really struggles. We we had to just

04:09 Get very creative and and eventually I got a job as a rate clerk for an insurance company.

04:17 I said I was good with numbers.

04:20 So in that was before computers all those computers happening and I was one of the first ones trained on computer for doing that to can you talk a little bit, but maybe you can talk to about the specifics about what department of the interior of the insurance company that I work. There was a hippie in so she would invite me on the weekends over to the Haight-Ashbury. So I took acid got my mind blown just you know be out in the street and there be cameras. I was wondering if my parents were looking at me. I just this, you know love child roaming the streets but I never really identified as a hippie because they have some of them were really dirty. You know, I wanted to somebody's house and they had like all these people lived in the same house and they had a room. They said this room is a garbage room and you open it and they just took I mean, you know sooner or later somebody had to get sick or rats had to take over right it was

05:21 But I had also made some friends who played Blues and stuff and that's why I ended up in North Beach and that was very much me. I was 20 years old I could drink in any bar in North Beach most the time. I didn't buy anything. I drink all day in the bars. It wasn't just like a night thing. It was like it became a very serious thing the end of my 20th year. I stop drinking but not quite but and I was very we all thought we were the most intelligent people ever, you know would just sit there and they were 30 I was 20, but we were on the same page philosophically.

05:58 And then I think when you turn 21 you made a bit of a bit of a life change. Yeah, somebody else in North Beach had been invited to be part of a school in Glen Ellen, California that taught astrology Kabbalah and Tarot. I didn't know any of that stuff was but I decided to go to so it was at the top of the world Ranch in Glen Ellen, California, you'd climb up the

06:26 Ride the bus would leave from San Francisco every day. But I hope by this time just had moved up into Glen Ellyn and the bus would go up the hill and then there was a place where there were 22 TPS for the 22 major Arcana. My friend was card number whatever anyway, so I studied those things and then I knew it was time to leave and I had a map to a place in Big Sur. And so I went to Big Sur drove my car 6 miles up the road walk in another three miles found the person people who have given me the map and tell them I need a place to live and they said well, you know quarter of a mile further up the creek. There's an abandoned gold mine in check so you can stake a claim for 20 acres.

07:12 For $5 a year or something like that. So I did that. So I was officially a gold miner.

07:18 And actually somebody came back once to see if I had anything that look like gold mining going on and I did have a sluice box in the creek and there was gold in it was there when I got there was there when I left but

07:33 What's the describe describe you wake up in the morning?

07:39 Well, it was at the Little Shack had had a piece of baling wire tied around the tree. It was next to an around it to hold the whole configuration together. I slept on a cot. There was a table at a kerosene lamp.

07:50 A fire outside I get up. I'd go outside. I'd start a fire and cook the pot of rice for the day. And then which I put because in Oklahoma, my mother hadn't really used herbs. But I know California people used herbs and I didn't know what to get. So I put Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme and the pot of rice every single day. I had bought them at the store with the names on them and I would just put them in every day and a pot of moochie because that's what people were doing and I gathered miner's lettuce. It's just a while.

08:27 Because I'd heard about scurvy and have to have some vegetables grow. So I was painting at rodak and reading Madame blavatsky and you know, all this esoteric just incredibly esoteric stuff and of course things happened, you know, I didn't even ever think until 30 years later realize that I'd had Visions or whatever.

09:01 Well, I would see it either looking across the creek or up the creek or down the creek or I would just go hiking over the hill so, you know and but the Virgin Mary appeared to me wasn't raised Catholic Family didn't join a church until I was eight but she appeared to me and blessed me and and I had the biggest understanding I've really had in my life. I got in that year and that's that if it doesn't work for everyone it doesn't work has to work for everyone.

09:34 To be imbalance and right

09:38 So I really got the connection. I've never been in nature before and here I was just in nature and so supported and taken care of. I never got chased by anything's I was afraid I might owe I did. I got the first snake didn't scare me at all that I was until I saw it was going around really scared. But one night at had gone that quarter of a mile of the other people's house most of the time they weren't even there but they've given me some meat which one I had made them walk. And you say I had a flash but I'm walking back in the dark nail flashlight.

10:13 And I come to the creek that I have to cross to get to my little cabin and I'm standing there. I realized it's no moon and I can't really see and just like these rocks you walk across. I know I'm at the right place, but I don't know where the rocks are now all the sudden some the growling at me and I knew it was a raccoon. They were just ferocious than try to store my door. You know, they just run at the door to try to get in fortunately. It was a headache but I thought okay, I guess I have to throw this damn, you know, and then I thought no it's meat haven't had meat and once this is my mate and so I just went right back at it and went but for the most part I felt very, you know, I felt safe I felt in fact when I moved into the city years later, I was like afraid to turn on a light switch, you know, all that juice running through the out. You know, I was very

11:13 Countrified so what you said that you knew it was time to leave what you and that you didn't know much about being out in nature. So, how did those two things come together? And how did you how did you find a place to go to that little place? You said it was what what what triggered going there instead of going to that we were witches that had been burned in Salem. I mean, you know, I am if you seen tales of the city, this is me. I mean I have nothing to do. I have no imagination about anything in these things get said to me. But anyway, I've been witches that had been burned in Salem. And so we're meeting again to be reminded of our craft, but it wasn't safe so we wouldn't be meeting for very long.

12:03 How to stop smoking at that time I was smoking like two packs a day because when I do something I do it and I got up one morning. I realized I didn't smoke. So thanks for you know being cleared away from me even before I

12:17 So I got up and I said it's over it's time to leave and the only idea I had was this map. I've been given to this place in Big Sur. I have any other ideas. I had a it's not like I put my things in storage when I left, you know, I'm going back to the city. Just we were going to go one way or the other it was the only thing I knew it was a life-changing.

12:42 Yeah.

12:44 How do you feel looking back on that experience out you? Did you get what you learn from it and raising them and all of that stuff nothing nothing wrong with that. But that year was you know, I began to know who I was a little bit and have a relationship with life itself and not just being told what to think and you know, I mean, I didn't play in my own thinking I guess it North Beach and whatever but but I made a connection I was I was able to shop for my part in the exchange with life. What surprised you have there.

13:25 What surprised me?

13:28 No, nothing. I mean it was just all new.

13:33 I hadn't expected. I had even thought about it for a minute, you know, so I didn't know but I guess it surprised me that it was safe that I felt so safe and so taken care of I would just take some water and a sleeping bag and go.

13:48 Roman over the hills just four days. You know, I just pick some wild berries and stuff like that. I felt so secure I could just be anywhere as long as I had water. I was pretty okay.

14:01 So this conversation took me a long time to get lonely. I mean that's you know, that's definitely a symptom or something and it was a long tie course, I guess I had some kind of company, you know.

14:16 The creek in it, you know the animals that were animals and

14:21 Could you get to a place where you can feel them or talk to them or understand them? I mean I've done long hiking trips. There's these moments for you like

14:31 I belong here right now not always but right now I belong here. Well, I haven't really left being close with animals. And so that's grown over the time but at that time because I was Raising such narrow-minded, you know, the deer would come every morning and drink right right right at my little Cove on the creek, but I didn't I thought it was better not to bother them. I didn't try to make friends with them. I thought they didn't want to be bothered but that's what I thought about everyone and everything in the certain sense. I mean, you know, it's just I just

15:06 Gave him space. So I didn't, you know, try to get us sign or a message or

15:13 Did buddies or anything, you know, there was frogs and there was whatever there was I never saw a bear. So well bore.

15:27 Well, okay. So at some point you said all right time to come back, but I came and told me I had moved in right after winter and when it was coming up again, I was there for nine months. Am I in here and

15:43 They said I had to move out because the creek flowing through my house during the winter.

15:47 So I didn't know what to do. And so through the mailman. Anyway ended up finding a place one Creek North.

15:54 And I stayed there for three months and then I buy this time I was feeling a little lonely and I read something about esalen and Alan Watson in so I went up to esalen in.

16:07 Walk in the office and said I'd like a job.

16:20 I was really sad and I did go back and then burn the cabin down, you know.

16:27 Yeah.

16:29 There's rat. There's Okies out in Oklahoma. I mean out in Big Sur that you know, this is why I lose hippies and outlaws and murderers and thieves and whoever that lived in those Hills out there and there's

16:42 You know, they came from Oklahoma and and we met because we all love nature. I mean it wasn't like a war between us or anything, but they kind of kept track of things. So they kind of wood go up and check out things and

16:55 You know I had to go and I was really sad to go.

17:01 Will do you want to talk about salon next to do you want to jump ahead a little bit. I'm certainly when you have a chance to talk about some of the travels that you had but if yes lunchtime say something really important to you maybe at the chance to talk about that now. Yeah talk about us on a little bit asselin was like I was there right when it was forming. It was like the Hub of the human potential movement. It was everybody was there and it was before they had it like lockdown. So maybe we'll start first just for people who may not know just describe what it is. It's some Gestalt therapy and Fritz perls was one of the things that came out of there, but the whole human potential movement was almost born there at just some very very very evolved people had developed it. It's on the ocean right there in the middle of Big Sur. Just just incredible beauty.

17:58 And the thing about us learn that was most interesting for me. I worked in the garden there for a couple years. I loved it was on an old Indian burial ground shellmound, I mean and

18:10 But the way decisions were made and then I began to get to know other people in Big Sur to so there's a Big Sur community and there was an excellent community and both were tribal and nature 4 take away the Big Sur but ts12 and we would make decisions together. We would all come together and make decisions big important decisions that matter to everybody and I've never found anything like it since I've made my life's a little bit dedicated to working with pure spirit and some of these things for people learn how to you know, I'm involved with the Native American ways and so

18:44 Holding Council on councils and stuff like that. But really the thing is that it's if it doesn't work for everybody that doesn't work and that's you know, that's what came from that 21st year, but esalen was just wonderful and very wild in in wild in the sense of that. There was no map there was very little for a map.

19:09 So it was great seeing you say that because you came from a place you wanted up with only because of them that I mean again you go back to Oklahoma Oklahoma was just like I was really only allowed to be in southeast corner of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We didn't go any place else, you know, it was malls and shopping centers in that kind of thing. It was very clean and you didn't say anything that wasn't, you know, Dwight and and wrapped real tight. And so all this permission which it started as soon as I got to California, you know, but that's so there was a lot of Therapy Group things like that and

20:00 But it was it works for me.

20:04 That's the main thing I was interested in with the community council though. And the the way that decisions were made by a group big room. What's the weather with all kinds of things but the community council you can only serve on the community council if you had done nothing important.

20:27 So anybody would have had any important office or anything like that did not qualify for the community council and the community council had no Authority but was always listen to and so it would solve all kinds of problems and very often like two people would just be in an argument and then everybody could go and would go but the only people that would talk to them would be the community council members and but they get up there and one side of present their side and the other present their side and pretty soon with everybody there watching did figure out their problem and that'll be that you know, but some butt

21:03 It became clear that these were the people that really understood the most over the most clearest people that weren't trying to prove themselves for busy sort of paying attention to the

21:15 To the pulse of the of the community if it doesn't work for everyone doesn't work what you would be made by up. So we had this one decision to make and this is for the

21:34 There was a manicured Lawns and then the business of esalen of bringing people down from the city. And then there were the people that work there that lived in trailers and had dogs. Well, the dogs were getting on them manicured lawn. And so they decided that everybody had to get rid of their dogs and then there was so much noise. It was a big all day long. We came to the country somebody had the idea and this is what we agreed upon and it work.

22:04 Will tell the dogs they can't cross this line.

22:08 So everybody was in agreement and anytime any dog tried to walk across a certain driveway. It was sent back and said there's like three days of aloe not really out loud growl. But this low kind of resentment from all those dogs over there at when they got that wet all turned on them and didn't give them the freedom that had before and then it was just done.

22:28 And it's like that's totally cool to me. I mean, I love it when it's like that, you know, what a better idea than would have happened if three people in satin room together and talked about it. She's out of the way to kind of jump in time here if you didn't mention some of your work today, so the things you do now still revolver on that idea of community councils and working with the Native American groups in working on that end in that format. She talked about some of the some of the things you've done in that in that way how that still is part of your life.

23:01 Well

23:03 When I left at Siouxland, I went.

23:08 On a three-year world tour boat tours in the right where I went to India and but I always because I lived in the mountains in the world District. That's the only places I went. In other countries that I only was interesting to be interested in the third world countries. So I had live with people and how they made their decisions and and things like that when and then I got married and moved back to Big Sur and we hadn't had my babies at home and we had a big garden and all that kind of stuff and then my marriage ended and my value in the marriage was the children and so I chose to take the children in moved to San Francisco and I needed to get a career and the career I got was acupuncture which I'd been trained in at esalen and work in an acupuncture clinic with free cuz it wasn't really legal yet, but I've learned a lot and so that just started acupuncture college is so I went to the acupuncture College.

24:05 So it's very systems approach to the way I could punch her is used. When you listen to the 12 pulsus you listening to the conversation among the twelve different meridians are organ systems and things like that and and sometimes somebody trying to control everybody else or two or more gather all of these kinds of things. And so you're you're working to balance and harmonize I stir the communication in the person's own body mind spirit cuz it works on all those levels. So that works very well for me. And also it was something I could do wherever I went. I don't even need that language. So I like that but I got him fall in love with a Native American when I left Big Sur, they were just starting to do some Native American Church things and so I sort of look into that and went to San Francisco living with the sufis who also did circles and so I sort of call the first

25:03 One of the very first Native American Church meetings that happened in California for white people.

25:10 And then that's how we began to learn.

25:14 Jail, talk about that that first meeting.

25:22 Well the first meeting that you know that the poor guy who is running and had been brought all the way out from the Mexico didn't have anybody else but you need a fireman to help you run your meeting and so the tip for a fireman somewhere else that we can't go in the TV till it gets there were standing out in the rain my four-year-old of my two-year-old or like lying down in the mother. So tired, you know, we get in on the last person in and the chief who I had a relationship with anyone.

25:49 I didn't get Alyssa cross and told me I was really lucky I got in because if they had made room for me, I would have gotten any of the materials pack, you know, so it's good that people had all scooter together like that, you know, one of the things I remember is that Somewhere in the Night.

26:08 There was this guy with a broom in their turned out. It was the fireman if you know and then he was in a distinct and the chief said this is a say thank you and clean up, you know, so I still go in those meetings and still enjoy them and but I haven't forgotten that, you know, it's it's simple, you know, we just say thank you and keep cleaning up with you. Is there anything else that really rather be at work at Westheimer be kind of philosophies of Life they really have guided you for a long time.

26:50 No, I don't know that there are I mean, I think it really that it keeps coming back if it doesn't work for everyone. So, you know, I spent I learned one of the main things in.

27:02 The least acknowledged class Consciousness is is like it's like it's not even there and yet people are so classes with each other. And so I stopped being I started working on not being a brat and not being the center of attention which I had been as a kid a little redheaded kid with so

27:29 And it's a lot of work and then the other thing is in people's like look at me and treat me like I'm stupid. I mean part of you knows you get older this happens in this culture. There's no respect for elders and things like that, but

27:42 The whole generational thing is part of my

27:46 Domain

27:48 So that's that's one of the values I carius is appreciating the ancestors and planning for the future generations and just keeping that as is when is the awareness is all the time, but

28:05 I started choosing to say less and listen more and just be a part of the community in that way rather than and another other ways and it's been quite interesting. It's been quite interested but Francis I would tell people you know that word in teepees and things like that, you know, when asked when we would have his community council, you know, if people would look around there with the table, I wouldn't trust any of those other people that we haven't that haven't even get anything that could not very convincing have not been very convincing him in All These Years, you know, it's beyond experience the most people

28:48 Have you been able to pass kind of these thoughts down to your children if you work with that?

28:56 Well, that would probably get into that whole off to India thing. Where

29:02 Yes, I mean they both were in the teepees in early days. My daughter is now beginning to really appreciate that. She's 35 or something and she's just now beginning to find a way to incorporate that with all the other pieces. She had to pick up and my son has these appreciation so though, you know.

29:25 For all learning

29:31 I only got about 10 minutes left to think so do we we could dive into some of this talk about the travels you also mentioned some things about spontaneous healing there's a variety things we can talk about with your time is anything, spring to mind that you'd like to address?

29:48 Can we take a break from it?

30:01 Do you want to stop the Roku?

30:04 We could I mean it would just be starting some other whole something.

30:10 How about this? Can I can we can make a deal cuz I used to live in Cambodia Cambodia.

30:34 Well, I went to many third world countries and and I like them. All Cambodia comes to mind quiz Angkor Wat was there but I've been traveling for a while and eating food that I didn't know the name of what it was but they are there was some French food. They had Ovaltine Oleg glass say, oh my God Ovaltine, you know, I hadn't seen anything American just too good to be true. So I was great and it was French and Vietnamese. I guess what the other kind of food that was there and I thought it was a pretty wonderful. They slow flowing rivers in the sample gentle beautiful people and I learned origami in Japan.

31:23 And so I did origami for them and the kids loved it been than every two weeks you had to go to Laos which was quite an interesting thing too because it was a war and my house was it before the war in Cambodia? I don't know what war was but there was or maybe anyway

31:41 And you knew there was a war that what you had to go there every two weeks since I went there twice and you cross a line everybody looks as normal as the people on this side of the line. Look everybody smiling and talking all that stuff only. It's pure adrenaline on one side of the line and not on the other. I mean, I did not see one sign of anything that look anything like a war but it was in the air just stick. It could be is quite interesting and spend the night and go back to Camp buddy the next day, you know, and so and it but I'd go back and they they had these these this origami that

32:18 They they they almost worship. I mean there was something it was too precious in some way. It was too precious and I didn't understand at the time and then I went to Indiana inmate origami for the kids and they loved it. And I played with Mondays through they threw it away or forgot it, but the war was about to come to Cambodia and and many places I went when I cross through at places in Africa and stuff like that. He knew they would look to America and a nice American hoping that somehow we could save so how we could help and even though it was nothing I can do they were looking at me a little bit that way and so when these places get hit around the world, those are my people out there, you know, I don't like it. But today I practice Taiko drums.

33:06 Play Taiko drums and the one with the young woman who orchestrates our group of old one main teachers in in San Francisco, and he's sad but the young teacher who keeps us together here and where the UK otaiko group of Ukiah. She's half Cambodian.

33:27 And we just did a fundraiser for Japan and she made 200 paper cranes for that.

33:40 Does capitulated stay with you or origami still part of your life? I didn't see what struck me was. You know, I gave origami in Cambodia.

33:57 40 years ago

33:59 And then last week the Cambodian teacher is making origami things anyway.