John Molinari, writer of “I Just Happened To Be There.”
“I Just Happened To Be There,” is a collection of autobiographical stories about a personal journey, which took root during the social unrest of the 1960s, and how it evolved into a living-large lifestyle, landing him front-and-center alongside some of the most famous, iconic figures of the times.
It is an honest, humorous, sometimes outrageous recounting of his take on the shared experiences of a generation. At its heart is an inner struggle between two conflicting desires, a duality of spirit in which one force seeks the answers to all things spiritual and will stop at nothing short of fulfillment, while the other craves to live life to the fullest, looking for fun in all the wrong places. As it turns out, each gives the other a run for its money.
These parallel explorations went beyond the normal boundaries—limits that most would not dare approach—pulling him in opposite directions. Whether pursuing the clarity of intense spiritual study and self-sacrifice, or the fog of all-nighters and over-indulgence, his close, personal associations ran the gamut from spiritual leaders, activists and social pioneers, to entertainers and underworld figures. He wound up befriending such stellar cultural icons as Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, and Allen Ginsberg, hanging with Robin Williams, tripping with Jimi Hendrix on the roof of the legendary Albert Hotel in Greenwich Village, and drinking the night away, one-on-one with Frank Sinatra. In a way, his adventures are marked by road posts personified by these pop icons.
He pushed to the extreme in each genre, enabling him to meet its owner. John’s travels have taken him to many exciting locations, including New York, Hollywood, San Francisco, Berkeley, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and India.
In the creative world, he has been a musician, standup comedian, actor, writer, cooking-school teacher, and more. In the business world, he has been in magazine publishing, advertising, and marketing and television for many years.
This book and these stories cut across generational lines. Anyone interested in the sixties and their lasting impact, not only those who lived it, but those who are clearly fascinated with the era, will enjoy and appreciate this very human, give-and-take journey of trying to better oneself while enjoying the ride.