Monday, July 19, 2010

Article #109 Hippies

“Make love not war” was the cry of the hippies in the 1960’s. Preaching a counter culture lifestyle, these teens and twenty something year olds were against established institutions, criticized middle class values, and opposed the Vietnam War. Fascinated with non-Judeo-Christian religions, they practiced sexual liberation and experimented with drugs. In a strong statement against American society, young men burned their draft cards. Many escaped to Europe or Canada to avoid going to war. Young women burned their bras as a symbol of rebellion, wore tied dyed clothing, and ran away from home to join loosely organized communal families.

My husband was intrigued by this new philosophy; but I couldn’t connect with the hippie movement because of my conservative upbringing. The news was dominated by their activites. The growing youthful rebellion was fueled by the lyrics of the new British singing group-the “Beatles, ” and other popular singers of that time. Outdoor musical happenings like “Woodstock” in New York, and the musical “Hair” expressed frustration with the world as it had become.

Haight Ashbury in San Francisco was the gathering place. We made a visit there out of curiosity while on vacation. The streets were filled with turned-on hippies happily passing out flowers to strangers in their midst. The words of a popular song by Scott McKensie explains: “If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…Summertime will be a love-in there, in the streets of San Francisco, gentle people with flowers in their hair. All across the nation such a strange vibration, people in motion. There's a whole generation with a new explanation.”

Little by little, I watched my spouse change his lifestyle and beliefs, and become a hippie. He added beads, a mandarin jacket, and striped bell bottom pants to his longer hairstyle and growing beard. The influence of this alternative lifestyle was destroying my comfortable conformity as my husband’s behavior changed before my eyes despite the fact that he had a family and responsibilities. The popular Beatles’ lyrics summed it up: ”You say you want a revolution. Well you know. We all want to change the world.”

There was now a division in our family, as I tried to preserve our family values that we had both shared before our marriage. Although our sons were small, I worried they would follow their father’s path of so called freedom and rebellion.

7 comments:

Jean said...

I can't imagine what it's like to have a marriage changed so drastically by the "new beliefs" of one of the spouses. Wow. Thank you for sharing it with us, Lin.

Linda said...

Interesting reminder of the 'hippie days'. I grew up in a conservative community and well remember the fear that went through that group of people. In secret I found all of it exciting but never cheeped a word of that in public. Of course I didn't have a marriage that was being torn apart by it.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Wow, what a raw post. Nicely done...That last photo is worth a thousand words!

Kay said...

I never got into the Hippie movement because we didn't have a huge Hippie culture in Hawaii. There were little groups here and there but nothing I could relate to. Some of the concepts sounded intriguing but it seemed too foreign for me.

Cheryl said...

I cannot imagine what it must have felt like as you watched your husband change...especially since you had shared such strong values. What a stressful time it must have been.

dellgirl said...

Aaaaah, "hippie days"! I remember them well from tv news coverage.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow..that was a big change for him and I can see how that would have created problems..I am not a conservative person I don't think, but I was never into drugs, drinking or all the open sex of that period...