The Happiest “Hippie” I Ever Knew – RIP Victoria Scalisi

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The happiest “hippie” I ever knew has left the building. RIP Victoria Scalisi. It was maybe 1991. I was in City Market Savannah and the most beautiful girl on a skateboard I’d ever seen came racing down Congress Street past The Velvet Elvis. Her hair always well past her ass and beautifully so, flew behind her like some flag of individualism and part girl pirate. I froze and watched this mini, dark haired Edie Brickell looking babe skate by and thought, “Whoa, I’m in love.” She clearly took note of my lovelorn gaze and without blinking stared right at me and said in what I would come to learn was her usual coy manner, “Why don’t you take a picture it’ll last longer!” Then came the laughter that was so lighthearted and silly and I caught site of her divine overbite. I was embarrassed. I’d been made. But before climbing into her Griswold station wagon with a giant Band-Aid sticker stuck down the side of it, she gave me those “dark eyes” with some warmth and made a funny, but sincere sad face to let me know that no harm was done. And then she peeled off. A crime had been committed. Now I was more in love than ever. Everything about Victoria was infectious. I think because she had other worldly model looks and the creamiest white skin reminiscent of white chocolate, she distracted you away from her beauty by being silly and a hyper rock chick. All of which was actually who she was but when you were Victoria Scalisi (oh and that romantic name!), people were going to stare and she was moving through a minefield most of the time of people falling in love with her at every turn. Her personality in part became her shield to deflect and yet was her way of making sure her spirit, talent and personality could cut through the superficial and be in the spotlight and enjoyed and respected for itself. Even if yes, the windowdressing of that spirit was not hard on the eyes. Oh and make no mistake here, even though I was the king of Goth kids in high school, and could roll with the Gen X crowd and anyone “rocking it,” Victoria was way out of my league and way past my spiritual pay grade. Like I could only hope to be that “free” and for most of my early and late 20s when I really saw her around, I was way too burdened with self and concealing. It took me most of my life to really express my deeper self. Victoria was way ahead of everybody in that sense. She learned all of that 10 lifetimes ago. We were all really in her classroom and learning from her as she went. And although I was not close to Victoria or part of her usual circle, she never treated me any differently or as a stranger. Nope. She knew energy and auras and when we’d have an encounter, I knew she could see my insecurities and the fact that I could not shake that love lorn look from our first encounter and so her response was always either an embrace or she’d punch me in the shoulder or do a noogie on my head or whatever it was to remind me that life wasn’t all that bad and to skateboard like there was no tomorrow. That was Victoria’s way. She didn’t have possessions to give but she gave you something special spiritually to possess. Did I mention her voice? No, not her speaking one which was lovely and child like. But her singing one. She came to front a very followed and lauded band called DAMAD in 1993. I’ve heard them called Sludge Metal or Crust or sometimes Punk which is how I thought of them in a sense. But any perception of Victoria as “happy go lucky” went out the window when she growled these deep demonic song tones and screeching vocals that were akin to a witch coven that caught fire and maybe the witches ran into a deep cave full of orcs and kicked them in the nuts. That might describe her vocals and I guess in that respect she was embracing something opposite of people’s surface perception while center staging the fact that she understood darkness and her spritely, impish personality was heeled in much pain and learned survival skills. Or possibly she wanted us to know just how ancient of a soul she was by using her voice to invoke how far she’d come through time to be who she was now. I don’t know. I never got to really know Victoria or ask her where all of that came from. I wasn’t her intimate even if I wanted to be and like all of the lives she touched in small and large ways, she wore everything on her sleeve and made you feel as if you were a great kindred. I feel so out of touch with this news of her death. I didn’t know she was sick. Hell, I didn’t even know my friend and former co-worker, Denise, was one of her great run-a-rounds but I should have as Denise is another rare and strange fruit. I’m glad they were close. I can see that they deserved each other. That’s the funny thing. We didn’t deserve Victoria but damn we were lucky to be in the same universe with her and I do thank God for the blessing in my life that she was even if just momentarily and sporadically. Which was her nature. Maxing the moment and being radically sporadic. I’d almost be REALLY sad about Victoria less to know that she’ll live forever and that like Light, her purpose is movement and traveling and while some of us grieve here, she’s breaking hearts and inspiring laughter and making noise right now in the next life. I’d even gander to say right here in Savannah where some will mistake her for a ghost. Doubtful. Its just the power of her spirit spilling back over my friends. One that will always haunt us. Goodnight Victoria. You were beautifully bad ass.

http://www.revolvermag.com/music/victoria-scalisi-sludge-band-damad-dies-after-battle-cancer/23598

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10 thoughts on “The Happiest “Hippie” I Ever Knew – RIP Victoria Scalisi

  1. Beautifully written Shannon, i was another one of those guys that was struck by Victoria’s beauty and personality, i worked at a camera shop in Oglethorpe mall and Victoria was one of my regular customers, she was always pleasant and when she would breeze through the store… she seemed like a force of nature, i can’t say i knew her but someone like that is hard to forget, she had a very natural and singular look, your piece struck me as i had just finished watching Midnight when it popped up on my facebook feed and was missing Savannah and all the cool people and places i got to know in the 13 years i lived there, my condolences to her friends and family, she was one of those specifically unique and special people, RIP Victoria.

    • Thanks John. I had to go back and edit a bit because it just flew out of me but I appreciate reading your own expression towards her and those who are really feeling her loss. I dedicated my morning story in front of Little Gracie to her today in Bonaventure and only had to choke back tears 3 times. I hadn’t planned on it but my Gracie theme is “The Eternal Child” and that’s what Victoria was very much gifted by so it seemed appropriate to do. Thanks again for reading and replying.

      • That’s a very cool thing you did in Bonaventure, i imagine she would have liked that…i spent hours last night looking at all the Damad stuff on youtube… man, what a voice, such fiery spirit in that little frame of hers…no edit to your writing needed…sometimes you just have to let the love flow out of you unfiltered, take care

        • Appreciate you John. I nearly lost it 3 times on the tour that day and The Little Gracie story was the toughest. Glad you conjured her up for awhile…I hope she gets a rad headstone.

    • I agree Glenn. Thanks for reading and the praise. I think of Victoria as one of the “crystal children” here in downtown in the late 80s and early 90s that brought such vitality back to the culture. We were like mystical dreamer kids just doing our thing yet not really understanding how we were making the town vital again. There’s a palate of those faces in my mind and she was one of the most distinct colors.

  2. Beautifully written Shannon. I was not a good friend of Victoria, just one of maybe hundreds that knew her during a small window of time. Unlike most people that may come and go during a lifetime, Victoria was unforgettable. When in her presence you knew she was special, even if you couldn’t quite put your finger on it. May she Rest In Peace and bring many blessings to those that she touched.

    • Thanks for the compliments Jon and taking the time to say hello. I have a similar perspective of just being a mere earthman watching Victoria’s Comet streak past. Her death made me feel my age a little more and that Victoria and youth are not eternal end of day. Even so thinking back to the late 1980s and early 90s, there were all of these colorful spirits running around Savannah filling the place with magic and we were all part of this idiosynchratic creative rat pack and it was all really wonderful. I feel bad for everyone moving in after say 2005? Or Hell, 2000. They’ll never understand what a magical time all of that was in our much smaller tribe. Victoria was a Princess or Queen of it all!

  3. Thank you, Shannon for your incredible description of your experiences with Victoria. I only knew her in a school setting, but was aware of her musical talents. I loved her stories and her passion for everything she did. Heaven is rocking out and enjoying her beauty. 😊

    • I couldn’t bring myself to go to the funeral. As much as I wanted to see all of the characters there and remeet some old friends, it was too heavy for a Monday and I’d felt the town’s sadness for her all weekend and a funeral felt more than I could bear. But I went to sit with her grave that day and straightened up her flowers. I walk my dog there pretty much every day so plop down for a bit and meditate on her and wonder if she’s hanging around. They say spirits hang for a year after but sort of think she’s thinking, “Savannah? Been there done that latah!” LOL! Anyway, thanks for saying hello!

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