My mother said NO a lot. NO, you cannot go to Woodstock. No, you cannot stay out past midnight at the peace rally concert to see Jimi Hendrix collapse on the stage.
But she was also distracted, a working mother of four, married to my dad during his full blown mid-life crisis. So I escaped–into the dry fountain in Sheep’s Meadow, to the dark edge of the East Village. I was always just a little too young, though, born in 1954, to be a fully fledged hippie.
Still, when I found myself in the Counterculture in the Southwest exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum, tears came to my eyes.
Maybe it was because New Mexico and southern Colorado are so dear to me–and also places of ongoing utopian hopes. There are very few degrees of separation between me and many of the major places and players in the exhibit. Plus, if there is anything I love about the counterculture, it is the clothes.
Uncoincidentally, I’m headed to the 50th anniversary of Twin Oaks commune. Part of my life has become history. I never lived at Twin Oaks, but my husband Rich did for many years.
I was driven crazy during the 1960’s and 70’s by the fact that I always felt I was tagging along after the “older kids.” But in my own way I was influenced by the counterculture–how else end up at San Francisco Zen Center or even for that matter the westside of Santa Fe. My compost pile, my shoes, and my ability to say “groovy” without irony all show the influence of that which ran counter to the mainstream.
And for which I remain grateful.