The couple divorced in 1994. “He’s dead now, he died of lupus,” noted Ms. Iaccaci. All along, she had continued attending Dead shows and keeping in touch with Mr. Garcia, who lived just down the road from her in Stinson Beach. She was backstage at Mr. Garcia’s last concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1994.
“It wasn’t a great life for him, the last few years,” she said. “Too much pressure, too many people relying on him. Too much bullshit. He didn’t really have fun. … No one left him in peace. He sort of got dragged in a lot of directions.”
In 1997, Ms. Iaccaci sold her ranch and moved to Montecito, California, to care for her dying mother. In 2000, she returned to New York.
“I always knew I’d come back here,” she said. Her three brothers are no longer living, but she said she’s grateful her son Nicholas, now 43 and a computer technician, lives nearby in New Hampshire.
She spends her days tending to a back injury and Oscar, her pet Chihuahua. Every so often she goes to a fancy dinner party.
“I would go to see music, but there’s nothing to see. It’s all so bad,” she said, adding that in her opinion even Mr. Clapton lost his mojo after giving up drugs.
But she doesn’t seem to have many regrets. She is well aware that, from the moment she hopped on that VW bus, she had a front-row seat at a moment when a music-loving, acid-dropping generation seemed truly poised to rip down all hate.
“I consider myself so fortunate to have been able to freely experience all that,” she said. “I have so many stories I can’t tell, that I’ll never tell, but it was just incredible.”
Asked if she was dating anyone, she replied, “Not at the moment.”
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