Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I always thought that I would have made a good hippie

Here I am in probably 1976 with my friend Kelli K.  I loved that wallpaper.  Please note the plaid PANTS. 

Well, I was born in the 60s and all, 1966 to be precise, but I was a little young to be hitting Haight- Ashbury during the Summer of Love. 

I did have parents who LOVED folk music though and I remember many, many nights as a young child as we listened to Peter, Paul and Mary, Woody Guthrie, The Kingston Trio, The Limelighters, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Mamas & The Papas on my parents LPs on the big console stereo.  My older brother is only 18 months older than me, and my younger sister didn't come along until 1970 (and my younger brother didn't arrive until 1977.) So for those first few years (my parents married in 1964), it was just the 4 of us.

No, by being a young child of the 60s, I would not be able to be at protests or travel around in a VW bug.  My first memory (at almost 3) is my mom picking me up and putting me in front of our big TV and saying "This Is Important." It was July 20th, 1969.  (Do you know what was so important?) So I was alive for some of the big events of the 1960s, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.  And I was alive when Richard Nixon was elected. (And when he resigned.)  But I didn't really know anything about it until I was in junior high and high school, many years later.  And although I was alive during much of Vietnam War, I didn't really realize it.  In fact, by the time I really "knew" about the Vietnam War, everyone acted like it had been so long ago. But I didn't get to wear those cool dresses that the women wore in 1960s or the gloves or the hats.  I didn't get to  wear flowers in my hair.

No, I was a child of the 70s really.  And still too young to do things to "change the world." As a kid, we did talk about not littering. A lot as I recall. (Anybody else remember "Give a hoot, don't pollute!") But there was little else that I remember about any other social and culural issues of the 1970s.

The kids weren't listening to folk music then.  They listened to stuff like Bread. (Not my parents, of course, we were still listening to folk music at home.  Although my parents had added the folk country singer - John Denver - to their collection.) We sang "Time In A Bottle" at one of my chorus concerts.  And then at the end of the decade, kids were listening to stuff like - disco.  Thankfully, for a very short time, and thankfully, before I really became a teenager.

The only 70s fashion that I wore was LOTS of plaid. (At least I wasn't the only kid. When you look at my school pictures from elementary school, it is a big sea of blue/orange/purple/green/red/pink plaid.) At my elementary school anyway, we weren't wearing bell bottoms or halter tops. More like Toughskins jeans and polyester plaid shirts.

And so by the time I was a teenager and a young adult, it was the 1980s.  The 80s were NOT a decade like the 1960s.  Or even the 1970s.  It was all about technology. And money. And NOT doing things the "old fashioned way." It was about being better than the next person - in one way or another.  It was about excess and greed. 

But even though I had my collar up and had a boombox, the 80s didn't fit me.  I was, even back then, into wanting to fight for what I believed, but I seemed to be the only one who didn't agree with the "older" generation.  I still wanted to be like the Lorax and but my friends just laughed at me.  I fit more in the naturalness of the 1960s and the back to basics of the 1970s, but I couldn't find hardly anyone who was like me. 

And so, eventually, I mostly gave up.  I did, however, very quietly, very personally, protest against the things that didn't fit me in the 1980s.  And the 1990s.  And I read.

And things gradually changed. Oh, not back to the 1960s or the 1970s. And I don't think that is bad either.  I, and my family, still have plenty of technology in our lives, mostly for the good.  And my daughters sometimes wear skinny jeans (I, thankfully for the general public in my city, do NOT. LOL) But I see that spark in people coming back where they are willing to fight for what fits THEM- and I mean all kinds of people from all ends of the political spectrum.  I see people who care about the land again and their food and where things come from.  I see people who want to have less.  I see people who want to know how to make things and not just always buy things.  I see people who do things because they are passionate about it and not because it will make them the most money.  And I see people trying to do more to HELP each other and not just look out for themselves.

And I'm trying to teach my children the good from this time.  I want them to realize they can have a voice.  They can question the status quo.  I want them to be able to look at all the options that they have in these times.  I want to show my children that even during times of economic struggle, there is much good. I want to show my children that I am willing to do what I am passionate about and that they can too. I want to show my children that there are things that we have now that can make their lives easier and bring us closer.  I want to teach my children to fight for what would do the most good for the world,  and not necessarily because it is part of one side's agenda or the other.

And I make them listen to a little "Puff The Magic Dragon" now and again too. :)

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