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I was listening to some Donovan songs tonight on YouTube, and remembering what a gentle soul he was. If you are too young to remember Donovan, he was almost as popular as Dylan. (But you probably don’t remember Dylan either.) I decided to include some memoirs I wrote, on being a hippie, back in the day. I also included a song by Donovan, my favorite, “Catch the Wind”. My ex-husband and I won 2nd place singing it, in a talent contest at the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Those were the days! My hair was down to my waist, and his was down to his shoulders, and music was everything to us then…

Article as written can be found here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/379561/an_old_hippie_looks_back_at_the_sixties.html

I have trouble remembering yesterday, much less 1969. In the midst of raising a teenager and caring for my widowed mom, the only peace I ever find is when my head hits the pillow at night. But fumbling through the FM stations, I stumble into the world of my youth. And with one song, I am transported to a place of simplicity where peace and love is the only reality. Who is this girl I see with her long, straight auburn hair, tie dyed shirt, bell bottom jeans, moccasins, fringed purse and flowers in her hair? I blink my eyes with astonishment, and discover it’s me! My walls are covered with black light psychedelic posters, and smoke from my incense burner permeates the room. My record player is blaring with the sounds of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Joni Mitchell, Arlo Guthrie, Country Joe and the Fish, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, and Dylan. My first love is a guitar player with long hair, who wears Roger McGuinn sunglasses, and takes me to coffeehouses, where we sing folk songs to a room full of mellow yellow hippies. I am still in high school and live in Atlanta, but I dream of Haight-Asbury and the Summer of Love. The closest I got to Woodstock was the movie, but I watched it over and over, and pretended that I was dancing in the pasture at Yasgur’s farm. It was a time of freedom, brotherly love, and the anti-war movement. We weren’t just rebellious teenagers; we had a cause. We thought that love could conquer everything, and for a short while it did. Life was simple and we were carefree and innocent. Like children running through the sprinkler, we danced and sang and painted our faces (and everything else), and stared into our lava lamps and called everything “groovy”. And the only thing that made us cry was hearing that a friend had died in the jungle halfway across the world, and we couldn’t understand why. So we sang along with the Beatles “All You Need Is Love” and actually thought it might be true. Thousands of hippies headed back to the land or “the garden” as the song Woodstock refers to it. They lived in communes and planted trees, shrubs and flowers everywhere, which led to the phrase “Flower Power”. VW buses, with peace symbols replacing the logo, were painted in wild colors and allowed large groups to travel together. Unfortunately, many took drugs to enhance their experience. I guess even then, I was somewhat conservative, not liking the idea of being totally out of control. I could get as “high” as I needed, simply off the music and the vibes. But I was just a “weekend hippie” and though I dressed the part, I was secretly glad that I could go home and take a bath on Sunday night. On Monday morning, I would go to my civil service job, and on my lunch break, the hippies on the sidewalk would call me “capitalist pig” if I wouldn’t give them any money. The lines were clearly drawn in their world, but not so in mine. Saturday nights at the Twelfth Gate Coffeehouse, I listened to the Nitty Gritty Dirtband and sang along to “Mr. BoJangles”. But back at home, my mother insisted I put “pasties” on the nude in my flower child poster that hung above my bed. And to keep the peace, I obliged her.
 
Not everyone felt as loving towards us as we felt toward them. Ronald Reagan once defined a hippie as someone who “dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheetah.” (You have to admit, he had a point!) It ‘s a good thing we believed in our slogan “Make love, not war.” Like it or not, hippies became a visible part of the culture, and fought against race discrimination, unfair legislation, and human rights violations. For awhile we changed the world, or thought we did.

But in the end, most of us eventually joined the establishment, took jobs, got married, raised families and moved into suburban subdivisions. But all was not lost. We still have our memories, of a magical time, of peace, love and music. A time when the influence of America’s youth brought about change in our society. It was a time that will not be forgotten.

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One Comment

  1. DESPERATELY SEEKING WOODSTOCK STORIES

    I’m an Editor, and owner of Literary Cottage, (who attended Woodstock in 1969), and I am compiling an anthology of stories for an anthology to be published by Adams Media next summer, in time for the 40th anniversary. I am desperately seeking stories from anyone who attended Woodstock in 1969. If you are not a writer, I will help you craft your story. Basics are provided below: full information, guidelines, and a sample story are available on http://www.literarycottage.com/woodstock.html

    Seeking TRUE 850-1100 word stories
    Adams Media pays $100 per story, plus one copy of the book
    Literary Cottage offers three prizes: $100, $75, $50 for top three stories.
    SEPTEMBER 07, 2008 DEADLINE
    Submit to sreyno…@literarycottage.com

    WOODSTOCK ’69 REVISITED will contain fifty TRUE stories written by people who attended the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. Since all the books that preceded it have focused on the musicians, promoters, and staff, this book will be the first one that chronicles the audience’s experience in an up close and personal way. Woodstock’69 Revisited will document the event itself, but is also intended to provide a portrait of America as that tumultuous decade came to a close. Stories should be historical within the context of 1969 and yet unique to your experience. Please spread the word!


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By An Old Hippie Looks Back: Woodstock Revisited on 03 Dec 2007 at 4:08 am

    […] Sparkle’s Search for Happiness put an intriguing blog post on An Old Hippie Looks Back: Woodstock Revisited […]

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