Today’s topic was furnished by my Dear One, who responded to my musing out loud–asking myself, in elderspeak–with jack rabbit reflex: ’60’s Love. Did you mean, ahem, relations between people in their sixties? No, no, the 1960’s! Love in the hippie days!
Now that I know my working imagination will be engaged with young people’s’ bodies this morning instead of the alternative, let’s begin.
And start with a downer if prurient thoughts were aroused. We’ll be discussing platonic love, agape love, the John Lennon all you need is love kind of love. The ridiculously simple-minded meme that held force for a brief few years, which said we really could remake an angry world by individual acts of kindness. If we could just, as a culture, learn to capitalize Love.
I say we and mean it literally, that is historically. I was a full fledged hippie, hair, beard and bear claw necklace. Of course, every hippie disavowed being a hippie. I remember vividly–okay, dimly–when the first Time magazine came out with a story about the Hippies on the cover, calling it, us, a sub-culture. No teenager anywhere, ever, has read something like that without issuing howls of derision. We didn’t know what being a “sub-culture” meant, necessarily, but we knew if Time magazine said it, it was bogus, slanted and yesterday’s news.
[NW: And here, in place of any of the false starts I’ve written, with ever increasing crappiness, trying to find a transitional thread to this next point, I’m inserting a Narrators Wormhole (NW). If you’d like to participate, you can pretend there are attention gripping paragraphs about the social structure.of the 1960’s preceding the following]
The point is, there emerged from this social hodgepodge real communities formed around non-violent ideals. Viable if funky farm communes, urban crash pads, Unitarian coffee houses: An entire continental backwoods in which any country road might meander past Alice’s Restaurant.
Decades before the internet, I should probably mention, this organic social movement grew–why resist–like weeds. And this weed grew between concrete slabs. Its anti-war, civil rights, woman’s lib messages were so at odds with the rigid, conformist culture of the 1950’s that its sheer contrast was irresistible to young minds, ever alert for ideals of their own.
Of course we were, are, those still above ground, human beings. We were, are, flawed. We weren’t really up to the task of changing the world one plucked daisy at a time. Comical, in retrospect, maybe, Certainly naive. But innocent in a way we’ll never be again.
And they all moved away from me on the Group W bench.