“When the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then Peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius”
-Fifth Dimension, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
A young friend of mine asked what it was like to be a "hippie" in the '60s. This is my answer.
Like most middle class children of my era, I lived a pleasant, well-regulated life. The shadow hanging over us was the specter of the "Evil Empire", Soviet Russia. The Cold War was in full swing, the Iron Curtain firmly drawn. We practiced duck and cover drills in school and shuddered at photos of mushroom clouds. The UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament combined the semaphore signals for N and D to produce the icon later adopted as the universal Peace Symbol.
A defining moment for my generation was the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the young, charismatic president who carried the dreams of a nation on his shoulders. After his tragic death, the world turned colder and darker. Demons had been let loose.
The Vietnam War began to escalate as many of us entered college. I listened to protest songs and marched in demonstrations in New York City and Washington, D.C. There were still good times to be had: open air concerts in Central Park, weekends exploring Greenwich Village, an unforgettable summer at Oxford University with trips to London (Carnaby Street), Paris, Cologne, Amsterdam. Beatles songs became progressively more complex mirroring the growing counter-culture mindset of college students with time to discuss issues and act on convictions. We rejected, or thought we did, our parents' values. They didn't like or understand our long hair and activism.
My present-day students use the word "hippie" in a mocking or derogatory sense. One elementary-aged child told me that hippies live on the street, have funny clothes, and don't like technology. The high schoolers think being a hippie was all about drugs. When I tell them that I never chose to participate in the drug scene they don't believe me, but it's the truth. I was high on the experience, the music, the sense of being part of a youth movement unlike any seen before.
The war dragged on and a lottery was instituted. Young men I knew chose to resist the draft by emigrating to Canada or fleeing for parts unknown. My husband, a young sailor at the time I was a peace marcher, tells me that servicemen felt unwelcome or invisible on returning home. I was anti-war, not anti-soldier, I reply. We both agree that we would not want to see our son drafted or serving in the armed forces.
Our wedding was as non-traditional as we could make it without offending our families. My hair flowed past my waist as I walked down the aisle. The music we selected included "In My Life" and "Morning Has Broken".
With the arrival of two children, my life settled into a more conventional pattern. But my attitude and world view are still firmly based on what I experienced as I matured in the late '50s and '60s.
I still consider myself a member of the Woodstock generation.
"And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning" -Joni Mitchell, Woodstock
"Keep true to the dreams of your youth." - Johann Friedrich von Schiller
"Blah-age" by Zeusandhera "The Companion Plan for Survival at Home" by Uh...Bob "JFK Motorcade" by Tom Dillard
"Once Upon a Time" by dmcordell