Jerry’s Girl

“It just nails everything right on the head, doesn’t it?” she said. “It just makes everything really uncomplicated. It makes being a good honest person easier. It just simplifies things. It makes the things we worry about 99 percent of the time just hilarious.”

She said it wouldn’t be a bad thing at all if young people in America to start taking acid again. “Bring it back!” she said, noting, “There’s a lot more pressure now. It’s hard to get jobs, even if you go to college, it’s hard to make a living. Everything’s hard. Schools are awful, except the ones that cost $5 million a quarter.”

If Ms. Iaccaci were a young woman today, she said, she “wouldn’t want to bring kids into this world. The air pollution, all that we’re doing to good old mother earth. It’s just not good. … Greed’s taken over, money has trumped everything.”

Ms. Iaccaci’s idyll with the Dead couldn’t last forever, of course. She noticed some changes as early as the late 1970s, she said, around the time the Dead were recording Shakedown Street.

“I was around that whole scene, all the time day and night,” she said, “at the studio in San Rafael.” It was one of the periods when she was closest to Mr. Garcia, and she saw how drugs were getting in the way of the band’s productivity. “You don’t take acid and try to record an album,” she said. “You try to stay up all night, and all day, and all night, and all day, and all night … and try to sleep after that. I tried coke, I gave it a good try. Couldn’t do it.

“It’s insidious and awful,” she said of cocaine. “The minute that came on the scene, everything changed—not the exact minute, but it didn’t take long.”

Fortunately, for Ms. Iaccaci, her system wouldn’t put up with the hard stuff: “I’d have been dead a long time ago. I just couldn’t do the stuff that they were into.

“It’s a bad drug,” she continued. “I can’t believe that people your age haven’t figured it out by now. It’s just amazing, why would people still want to do it! We didn’t have any role models, to tell us it doesn’t work, bad news, don’t do it … God, so many people died.”

Ms. Iaccaci and Mr. Garcia survived the 70’s. But their relationship, which she said continually wavered between the platonic and the romantic, never approached the altar.

“I never thought I’d get married again, for starters,” she said. “But I did. I married one of the Pranksters, from Eugene, Oregon. Zonker. Did you ever read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test? Well, Zonker’s on the first page.”

Ms. Iaccaci and the “mighty handsome” Steven “Zonker” Lambrecht—who was the basis for Garry Trudeau’s cartoon strip Zonker character—wed in 1985. “I just fell for him from afar,” she said. “Especially because he looked a lot like Eric Clapton, who I was just so crazy about … We met, and we fell in love, and we got married.”

Jerry’s Girl