Saint Anthony’s Fire

LSD from the Air Force to the Summer of Love: A Memoir


Available Fall 2019 | Non-fiction / $15.00 | ISBN: 978-1-950393-91-6


I was getting into a rhythm, all the noise falling away, hearing only my heartbeat, and faintly, my coach's suggestions. I was three shots away from an expert rating- 300 points. My coach said “miss the next three shots”. A heartbeat’s hesitation, then I follow the order. I will earn the sharpshooter medal, a silver Maltese cross with two concentric circles in the middle and a little bar hanging under with the word “Rifle.” The only medal I would be awarded.

Military Roots: The world in 1943 - Our country is united in a great effort to defeat fascism. Our enemies are Germany, Italy and Japan. Before the Pearl Harbor attack, before the Japanese Navy, it was not all clear that we would oppose Hitler. A large number of people here did not oppose the idea of "white" supremacy, plenty hated Jews and communists. Many thought the union members were communists and many hated Franklin Roosevelt and his "socialistic”policies to help the U. S. out of the trouble capitalist excess provoked.

1961 brought in a new President, a Navy Lieutenant, to replace the General who had presided over the transition from W.W. II to the cold war. We had suffered through the time of the House Un-American Activities committee, and the fall of its Chairman, Joseph McCarthy and his slimy lawyer.

A new generation of optimistic, mostly tolerant American men and women were ready to play their roles in our military services.

Why did I consent to go with the possible Klan members to the Indiana State Park? Was I simply not assertive enough? If I had refused, along that then deserted stretch of Highway 40, they could have simply forced me to go with them. Why did my friends from St. Louis come along exactly when they did? I was actually used to not asking too many questions, when at any moment my perceptions might undergo a shift..


About the Author: 

Michael Stanis was born in 1943, in Saint Louis, Missouri. Son of a professional Jazz pianist, he studied music and photography during his years at Normandy High School, and later studied concert guitar at the Austrian State Academy for Music and Performing Arts. Between high school and music school he had a series of experiences, outlined in this memoir, during the decade 1961-1971. During 2018, He put pen to paper, and obtained permission from the Defense Department to tell this tale.

Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice, San Francisco Chronicle