Saturday, January 2, 2010

Were you alive in the 60's?





I am always amazed how time just creeps along and before you know it you are several decades older. For the last few days I've lain awake trying to remember who I was during the 1960's. I was in high school, graduating in 1971, and for the most part lonely. My mother died in 1960, setting off a decade of feeling awkward. Actually more than a decade, but that's another story. I had plenty of friends, but you can still feel lonely surrounded by people. That feeling comes from within.

Growing through your teens without a mother to fight with is not easy. Dads just don't hold the same place in a young women's heart when it comes to differentiation. High school was hard for me - many of my friends had dropped out and I was the only one on the bus in the morning heading to classes I knew in my heart I needed to attend. I've always been that way. A knowing of the right thing to do, even when my brain says to cut and run, who needs school? Or why not just continue drinking and partying, when I knew it was destructive in so many ways? I guess we all know the right things to do way ahead of actually paying the consequences - we just ignore them. Or not, if we're smart, and actually pay attention to our little voice. Mine was sometimes very authoritative - maybe my mother adding vehemence when it was needed?

It was a wild decade. Many of the same issues as this one - war, recession, a society polarized. Peace, love, dope was the rallying cry. The dope was pot, not the harder drugs that materialized in the next decade. I'll talk about that later. No, the sixties for me was about being young, very young, and not being allowed to participate in the really cool iconic happenings such as Woodstock, or Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. My father would have killed me, even if I could have found a way to get there. Another issue about the 60's for me - I didn't have a car. I did not get a car when I turned sixteen. (The horror!) I took public transportation, or bummed a ride from those friends lucky enough to have one.

I did manage to see BB King in San Francisco at the Filmore. Of course I lied. Do you think my father would have let me crawl into some car driven by "hippies" to go all the way to San Francisco? (Maybe 200 miles?) Naw.

So the 1960's for me was a decade of mostly being too young to be a part of the action. I did however lose two friends to a car accident while they were drinking, which ruined my graduation party because my dad took the distributor cap out of the ($150) car he had bought me for graduation. It was being held out at Pyramid Lake, the same place my friends died, and he wasn't about to let me go. It was so traumatizing then and now it just sounds responsible. Would I have let my girls go to the same party in the same place a decade later? Of course not. Did they do something as equally dumb? Probably. But I did sign them up for the "booze-free" party with their class. Which turned out to not be as booze-free as all the parents had hoped. Kids are incredibly crafty when it comes to circumventing the rules.

So where were you in the 60's? Were you a "hippie" or a "straight"? Or were you somewhere in the middle like me? Were you for, or against, the "establishment"? My husband, the only guy in the universe who went to the University of Oregon in 1969, and was a total "straight." One of those guys who was in ROTC because he knew as soon as he graduated he was off to Vietnam, and thought he might as well go as an officer. How he ever ended up with me is a wonder. But I've always been grateful he paid attention in school. It worked out well for both of us.

So who were you in the 1960's?

Were you even born?

An Addendum: Read: latkas and New Year's Rant to get a great recipe and read a well-written post on the 1960's and our lack of follow-up, plus a call to this generation by My Year On The Grill.  BTW - if you want to link to any of my posts by joining in the conversation on your blog, you can link at the bottom of my post where it says Links to this post.

52 comments:

DJan said...

I graduated from high school in 1960. By the end of the next year I was pregnant and married (shotgun style). But I did become a hippie in the '70s, a little late, but I got there. By then it had calmed down a little, even in California. I can imagine how being ten or eleven years younger was just a little young for the '60s decade.

Sarah Lulu said...

G'day ... I was only 4 in 1960...graduated High School in 1973.

Yes I was very hippie ...kind of surfer chick hippie here in Australia, growing up in Sydney as I did.

I'm still a lot like that!

I like to think I'm in harmony with the Universe and I still wear ...lots of beads and tie dye haha.

A Year on the Grill said...

I was alive... Just a bit younger (1975 graduate). I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, so there was not as many ways to become a hippie, but I got close.

Funny you should mention all this, as just yesterday, I just did an old man hippie rant for my New year's post come take a look

http://yearonthegrill.blogspot.com/2010/01/latkas-and-new-years-rant.html

Leah J. Utas said...

I wanted to be a hippie, but I was too young. Graduated in '76 so I was more a child of the seventies. I always said I was too young to not remember the sixties.

ellen abbott said...

I graduated high school in 1968 and, yeah, I was a hippie (wore my beads to school where most everybody was 'straight'). Didn't go to Woodstock, missed out on Haight-Ashbury but went to other weekend long music festivals, hitch-hiked to DC for an anti-war rally. Never really grew out of it, never joined the 'establishment', became a self-employed artist/artisan. When our kids were in junior high, all their friends wanted to know after catching a glimpse of us...are your parents hippies or what?

Nancy said...

DJan - Many of us married out of high school back in those days. I'll save that story for the 70's.

Sarah - Surfer chick hippie would be very cool, of course! I would've loved to have been a surfer chick - but lacked an ocean. I'm with you on trying to stay One, loving beads and tie dye, etc. You still see lots of that in Portland. I feel at home.

A Year - I'm off to read your old man hippie post.

Leah - I like that - "I was too young to not remember the sixties."

Ellen - Yay! A true hippie - so glad you stayed true to yourself.

Rain said...

I was gurgling and spitting up probably, lol...born in 68!

linda said...

i was a hippie and hung out at the local commune lots, was madly in love with my boyfriend, hitchhiked and hated everything that was 'establishment'...loved dressing in my 'granny dress' , beads and boots... maybe i was too into fashion to be a true hippie, who knows ;) sadly, it took about two months for SF to go down hill after the "summer of love" in 69, the year I graduated... the haight was never the same after that.

funny, i have been thinking how different is the generation now from us, how silent they seem to be, working away like bees and being organic-which is about as 'anti-establishment' as they get-perhaps i am being too harsh but where are the protests? mass bike rides through SF? a sit-in now and then...

well ok...you get my point...i sort of miss the "good old days" excepting the draft and am waiting for that to raise it's ugly head....again.....
peace♥

Nancy said...

Rain - LOL!

linda - I agree! Where are the protests? The Tea Baggers - that's it?? I'm becoming rather anti-establishment all over again!

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

I was not even imagined at that point. My mother was only 5 years old in 1968. :)

My Sophomore English teacher picked me out of the rest of her students at my desk the first day I was in her class.

"You, I know you. I have met you before. Do you remember me?"

"No ma'am. I'm sorry, I don't think I've met you before." I said.

"You and I danced together at Woodstock."

and then she winked at me. I became her favorite student and she became my favorite teacher.

:)

Nancy said...

Phoebe - Love that story! :-) She was able to "see" you!

Brian Miller said...

i was a mere thought in the 60s...

Hilary said...

Oh, yes, I was alive in the 60's...graduated at 17 in 1964, and went off to college, without a clue of what I wanted. Married at 20, a baby at 21.....full time job....guess I didn't have much time to be too wild.
But I was writing bad poetry, and trying still to find out who I was. The 60's were definitely different.

Amy said...

Nancy, I'm a new follower of yours and a little older than you. I was fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) to be born in the hippie epicenter, San Francisco. Even though I graduated high school and had 2 years of college under my belt, the temptation of the hippy idealism got me in 1968 bigtime - so big in fact that I went underground for 5 years, estranged from my family and society (at least "establishment" society), and majorly into drugs and a very adventurous life style.

My mantra was "as long as I don't hurt anybody..." Well, long story short, I came up for air, got a job, reconciled with my family, married a navy guy who had returned from Vietnam, and had two daughters before the end of the 70's.

I don't regret those five years and I think much societal good came from them; also, that time led me to be less materialistic, more independent, and, finally, to have more compassion for the homeless and needy because I, too, was down and out once upon a time in the late 60's.

Happy New Year! A thought provoking post for sure!

Sylvia said...

I was born in 68 so my teenage years fell in the eighties. I was a very calm and very dedicated to study girl... a geek as they call it now! My true teenage crisis came after the twenties - then I gave the world my Ipiranga scream. Very beautiful memories you have. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I entered high school in September of 1969. My father and mother had separated and he moved down to L.A. while we stayed put in Portland Oregon. Drugs were all around my high school, but, like you, I knew that they weren't for me. I remember being extremely fond of Levi 501's, Janis Joplin, and volleyball.

Marguerite said...

From the time I listened to The Door's music, in the 60's, that was playing in my brother's room, I knew that I was a hippie. I managed to hide it pretty well from my parents, in high school, but when I went away to college, I became a super hippie. It was such a fun time! Very anti-establishment! I lost 6 friends in one drinking/driving accident, in my junior year in high school, which had a huge impact on me. All 6 were in one car that was hit by a tractor-trailer. Cool post!

JeannetteLS said...

I finished high school in 1970, and the brother who was my friend, in 1968. HE went to Woodstock, but I was, at heart a rabble rouser. We demonstrated at the town library with my mom in sympathy with Martin Luther King, so it kind of ran in the family. I did not join the hippie lifestyle because, with the family prediliction for addictions, I thought it might kill me. I DID demonstrate against the war, but never the veterans. My other brother was a Marine. I have an entry about this on my blog. But I am a TRUE child of the wild child era and I think that has both moved me forward AND held me back at times--I have held me back, I should say. But I am grateful to have lived in that time, and gone to my high school. We had a day devoted to the first Earth Day--everything related to the environment, and we had Moratorium Day, to hold our own PEACE day, though to apppease the town ROTC came. Our principal threatened the entire school with dentention if we made so much as a GRUNT against ROTC. He hammered it into us that we HAD to listen to the other side. A remarkable time and school. Thanks for jogging the memory!

whiteberry said...

I born on 5th of July 1988...

whiteberry said...

I born on 5th of July 1988...

Kathy G said...

I love how much you learn about people by reading their blogs.

I'm a bit younger than you--I graduated from high school in 1977. I didn't do anything counterculture at all, and neither did anyone in my circle of friends. Looking back on it now, perhaps a taste of something wild would have been nice.

I lost my father at the age of 13, so my mother was the single parent. She did many things that I thought were too strict; I think that when there are two parents in the house their discipline compliments each other.

kenju said...

I most certainly was - I graduated from college in 1962 and married in 1964 - so I (and my husband) watched hippies on TV and wondered what the world was coming to.....LOL
No we didn't; we decided we had been born too soon!

Delwyn said...

Hi Nancy

I wish you many happy days for the new year...and yes I was marching against the Vietnam war, in Christchurch NZ in my first year of university in 1969 or maybe that was 1970...it's too long ago...So I had my teens in the 60s before becoming a bit of a hippy in the 70s.

Happy days

Nancy said...

Brian - You're just a youngin!

Hilary - I think most of us go off to college without a clue as to what we want to be.

Amy - Another true hippie! You'll have to tell us about going underground. It's true that most people end up in the same place around age 35. Most have families, jobs, responsibilities. I think it was great you had adventures, however. Maybe we're entering a new 60's...

Sylvia - It seems that sooner or later we show our wild side. For me - it was the 70's!

Elizabeth - Levi 501's - yes! Didn't they look great on everyone?

Marguerite - College is a great time to explore, I think. Wow, six in one car. What a tragedy. That would affect you, for sure.

Jeannette - Thanks for sharing. I think being a wild child from that era also held me back and moved me forward. More about that when I get to the 70's.

whiteberry - You are my children's age...

Kathy - I totally agree about the discipline. One parent is kind of lost sometimes without support and some balance.

kenju - I knew plenty of people who thought the same thing! LOL!

Delwyn - I didn't realize NZ was marching, too! Tell us about it sometime...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Hi, I graduated from h.s. in '61, went to college, got a job. In '67 I became a hippie wannabe... fashionable and working by day, wearing bellbottoms and listening to underground music by night. I traveled Europe for several months in late '69, then needed to get a serious job again. I grew to hate the establishment and described my politics as radical, but my lifestyle was fairly conformist.

GooseBreeder said...

Hey they loved this post didn't they?
1970's..London, centre of the Universe, nowhere else to be.I'm grateful.
Drive a 1970 Beetle and when the music fits it's a timewarp..love and peace to you all!

Boomer Pie said...

Your Haight Ashbury photo brings back lots of memories. I was right there! It was fun while it lasted. I like your attitude so I signed up to follow you. Stop by my place and have a Margarita and a laugh. http://www.boomerpie.com/

Pam said...

I'm also just a bit younger, graduating in 1976. So I was not quite old enough to be a hippie, but I wanted to be so badly!

Linda Pendleton said...

I gre up in Southern California, graduated high school in 1960 and was married the same month. A year later my daughter was born, then in '64 my son. So I was busy with family...irritated by the protests, the bombings, and chaos out on the streets, and then the war. But I was pretty silent about it all...and maybe why now in recent years, am so vocal about politics, civil rights, equality and all that. LOL I'm more hippie and spiritual now than I was back then. LOL

I loved the '50s.

Have you heard Susan Boyle sing "Who I was Born to Be?" That is my theme song for 2010!

Nancy said...

Blissed Out - I was a fashionable hippie, too. More into the music and politics than the lifestyle.

Goose - I would love to have been in London in 1970! I had several Beetles - of varying colors - a few more than one color at a time. :-)

Boomer - Lucky you in Haight at it's prime! I will stop by for sure!

Pam - I'm not sure you had to be one in the 60's - it's never too late. The politics are similar...

Linda - I love it that you are so outspoken now on all the issues. We need that attitude again. "Hell no, we won't go!" I will google Susan's song!

L said...

Not to have a mother to fight with during your teens .....that is truly sad...I think that's how girls establish themselves as women.

Nancy said...

L - I agree! My girls certainly did. :-)

Lily Robinson said...

Class of '74 here... Like you, I was too young to really experience it. I was a front-porch hippie. Loved the clothes, played my guitar, and dreamed about what everyone else was living.

Nancy said...

Lily - Love how you said that - "I was a front-porch hippie. Loved the clothes, played my guitar, and dreamed about what everyone else was living."

Natalie said...

I was born in 1965. Unfortunately, I was already drunk by March 1966.
Apparently, i was teething on my mother's 21st Birthday, so they all just fed me brandy until I collapsed into a heavenly slumber.
Drunken wild child?

Ribbon said...

Yep I was alive an well in the
60's... only just as I was born in 1961.
I was a teenager in the 70's and I was torn between beach culture and punk rock :)

I've enjoyed this post, thank you
best wishes
Ribbon

Jill of All Trades said...

Yes I was alive in the 60's but I was just a young whipper-snapper, born in 1956. I do so remember the hippy era and was a wannabe hippy in the early 70's. I had the very long straight hair, long bell-bottom-hip-hugging jeans with embroidery on the but (I added). The only thing I didn't delve into was the drug scene. I was hippy but I was too scared to even think about the stuff. I was also a "little-miss-goodie-two-shoes" as my little brother and sister called me. They totally got into the "scene" and they were younger. Go figure.

Land of shimp said...

Hello and happy New Year, Nancy. I was alive in the latter part of the sixties, but I was born in 1967, so I was concentrating on potty training, no doubt, at the turn of the decade.

That must have been a strange influence, one I've never really given much thought to: the pressure to dropout, and not be part of the establishment being part of an adolescence. I mean, it's a hard enough time as it is.

My parents weren't hippies, in fact, good heavens, that's such a laughable thought. They weren't part of ye olde establishment though, they were both very liberal.

We do have something in common though, I grew up without my mom also. She was alive (still is) but lived in another state. It wasn't a particular hardship for me, but like you, I think to this day how I might have been different. In my case, I don't think it would have been better.

The smallest detail touched me, your father taking away the distributor cap from you car. Isn't it amazing how that seemingly tiny action speaks volumes? You're a parent, so am I, sometimes -- particularly looking back -- it's so easy to see how much someone loved us. "I love you enough to let you hate me for this." is in the action, if not the word.

Deborah said...

A very entertaining post, Nancy!
I was born in 1954 so didn't really come into my own until the 60s were over, but I remember being enthralled and a bit shocked hearing the Stones' 'Let's Spend the Night Together' on my transistor radio - under the covers late at night.
I caught the tail end of hippiedom and stopped wearing shoes for a couple of years (summer only!), tried a few things out that I didn't much like (drugs made me lose control. which I didn't like), and bought the Beat;es Lucy in the Sky..etc as my first LP. Rode home from Sears with it tucked under my arm, afraid I would drop it.
I was a wannabe, really, too straight to be the real thing and not into the political aspects of the era, although in Canada we cried too for Martin Luther King and Bobby. And decried the Vietnam war, secretly proud of our status as a bolthole for conscientous objectors and deserters.
I really enjoyed reading your post and everybody's comments. Quite a time-travelling trip!

Lori ann said...

What an interesting post Nancy, and all the comments too! I've really enjoyed reading everyone.
I was definetly a hippie/surfer child brought up on the beach by hippie parents in baja (we had a house down there) and california. I was a toddler in 1960 but by the 70's I was in highschool. It was great having parents that were hippies too, they'd even write me notes to get out of class for surf trips! (i was a bit stricter as a mom) haha.

happy new year!

ρομπερτ said...

If taken 1960 I was still minus 14 years of age, reading many years later about hippies, enjoying still the music from back then.
Maybe times does a make a return and all will come again.
May you all have a beautiful start into the new week.

Emom said...

Interesting responces!! I was 3 in 1960...I was what ever I needed to be to "fit-in" in High school..hippie...geek....straight(no..I don't think so...)intellectual, only when needed..usually I was afraid of my own shadow. Thank you for giving us all a pause for thought..smiles.

Hilary said...

Born in '55, I was a hippie-wannabe. My friends and I walked around barefoot all summer in long flowing dresses, kept my hair long (still do), listened to music, burned incense and smoked whatever we could get. That was about it for me. Most of me is still a hippie-wannabe. ;)

Nancy said...

Natalie - That's terrible about the brandy! Geeze

Ribbon - I would have loved beach culture! I certainly watched all the beach movies. Remember Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon?

Jill - You were just smarter!

Shimp - You are very perceptive - and yes, I do think he loved me enough to make me stay home. Sometimes being the parent isn't always the most popular job, that's for sure.

Deborah - I love that Canada feels our pain right along with us - it makes us closer, I think. And I remember the shock of the Stones "Let's Spend The Night Together!" I tried to keep my Dad from hearing the words while playing the single on my 45. :-)

Lori - Tell us more stories! Wow, what a great childhood - Baha and California with parents that could see the value of a good surf!

Robert - You're just another youngin! :-)

Emom - You and me, both. I could fit in most groups, but was most at home with the hippies and wild ones. But since they didn't all go to school - I hung with a different crowd on campus.

Hilary - I am still a wannabe hippie, too!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wonderful post!

musingegret said...

I too graduated h.s. in '71 so the 60's were peripatetic years for me. The family moved from New Orleans to Houston in 61, then on to Rochester, N.Y. in 63 and back to Texas in 67. I was such a dorky, geeky, "straight" in h.s. but carried the hippie within. (Raised on folk music, hootennannys, Pete Seeger and speaking out for civil rights.)Said hippie didn't emerge until college and then the army-wife years of starting a consciousness-raising group and marching for the ERA. (sigh)

To quote Bob Dylan: "Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

A Year on the Grill said...

I was indeed alive in the 70's... High School College, marine corps and the death of my father at a very young age all defined me for the rest of my life... Probably more in that decade than any other.

It created a desire for independence. became self employed (for the rest of my life), taught me trust in friends, and a respect for other cultures, habits and beliefs (always disagree with about everyone, but always respect what they believe, and never dogmatically attack or insult)...

I could go on and on...
And oh yeah, I won more than one disco dance offs in the 70's as well... I can still HUSTLE better than anyone on my block (and we tried)

GYPSYWOMAN said...

oh, girl, in the 60's i was busy birthin' babies - married very young and started my own family - but all my life i've been anti-establishment, etc - in the 70's and 80's is when i was able to really be more active politically as my kids were all older and i was a single parent - so the whole kit and kaboddle then - loved every minute - and where is that political passion - that willingness to stand up, walk out, act up NOW?

great great post, as usual!!!

Cubil said...

Great post! I grew up in Chicago, but first heard about "the revolution" on a trip to S. California. It was 1966 I was 13 at the time. Just finding out there was an alternative to what I had been shown all my life was like a get out of jail free card! It was like I was waiting for something to get MY life started, so the timing couldn't have been better.

Kate DuBois said...

Nancy, first of all, I'm sorry you lost your mom. It's never easy, but to be so young. So hard.

You and I graduated from high school the same year. The 60's for me were about the Beatles, boys, race riots in my Midwestern urban city, the Kennedy's assassinations, singing "Will You Marry Me Bill" at the top of our lungs while driving friends around in my mother's '68 convertible mustang, and dreaming of being a model like Twiggy to overcome my awkwardness at being so tall and skinny...until college and the freshmen 15 along with the 1970's appeared.

You mentioned your husband being in ROTC. If you and your husband like to read, I think you'd both enjoy reading this memoir "I Promised You Daisies" by Robert Benjamin. He recalls his life from the mid 60's to the mid 70's, including meeting his wife, going through ROTC, being disillusioned and what choices that led to (I won't spoil the outcome) in the moment and the long term. The book is the 2nd in a trilogy of books that are reflective and full of wisdom.

Thanks for your blog. Lots of good ideas.

Cinnamongirl63 said...

Graduated high school in 1981 but I would have been a true hippy. I drive a 68 Firebird and really wish I could have experienced those times.

Cinnamongirl63 said...

Graduated high school in 1981 but I would have been a true hippy. I drive a 68 Firebird and really wish I could have experienced those times.