Sunday, November 21, 2010

Part 3 Living Locally and Globally: Why I like hippies

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I lived in an "inner ring" suburb of Cleveland, called Lakewood. Lakewood is defined by that fact and by a few other things:
•It is on the shores of Lake Erie.
•It was developed in the 19th century and in the early 20th century.
•It has good schools and libraries.
•It has 2 small shopping/downtown areas running lengthwise across the city.
•It has loads of parks.

These reasons were probably why my mother probably chose the area, and also why I was able to meet so many hippies.
The hippies could rent these large rambling houses together or a room in one and spend their days hanging on the beach or walking down Detroit to the large number of head shops.

If you grew up in the early 1970s or before, you remember when children were not targeted as consumers or even as conversationalists (and also when emotional immaturity was supposed to be left to the playgrounds and schoolyards). So children were expected to be amused by other children and childish things and left out of serious conversations. Unfortunately sometimes it also meant that important issues were not shared with children.
The hippies were the in-between. They knew and cared about the adult issues but still admired childlike simplicity. So, we would wander down to the beach or to the swings or to the library and encounter long haired, bell-bottom wearing happy adults.
They would ask us questions and answer ours.
Hippies explained segregation, the Vietnam war, Watergate and how some drugs were legal and some illegal for no reason. Sometimes they sat quietly, sometimes they read and sometimes they smoked and sang and danced and laughed or yelled or whatever.
They made money to have money to eat and buy drugs. They did not make money to keep it or have a job to get ahead.

So because of the hippies:
I fight formality which seems to divide. I use immaturity as a tactic as they did; to break down barriers with humor that confuses adults. I understand that I am one person in a tribe-a global tribe. I learned about issues that were happening right then and became aware that is was my responsibility to be totally present in my time and tell others.

And if you appreciate:
local food
excellent bread
wearing natural fibers
thrift stores
songs with messages
wearing jeans
bicycling in your town
cloth diapers
comfortable shoes
cooperative stores or workplaces
free love
Legal Aid or any version of skill sharing without profit
the right to oppose war while not opposing those forced to fight it

Thank a hippie.

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