Sunday, June 13, 2010


Yesterday, after working really hard as a week-end warrior in my yard, I decided to take the evening off and looked for a good movie to watch. Not finding anything worthy, I decided to look at my blog roll and ended up on T's blog where I found some really interesting reading. T (I think short for Teresa) lives in Australia and is a self-professed: "hippy, felt fibre artist, fruit, nut and vegi grower, house builder, soap maker, photographer, nature lover, greeny, river pixie, and gypsy."

I really liked this post because it made me think about me and my early life. She said that things "go round and round and end up back where they started." I agree! She also hit upon some of the things that are near and dear to my heart. "Living a slow and sustainable solar powered life is a conscious choice, and love it. ...but reality is often not like the dream. The dream of living in the forest with nature at the door, feet up and relaxed all day long, wandering around the forest picking flowers to put in [my] hair, dancing in the rain, making slow food and slow cloth, having warmth in winter and beautiful days. The dream---hmmmm.

In the 60's when I was going to school, the Hippie movement was just getting started in the San Francisco Bay Area. In January 1967 (the year before I graduated from High School...I sounds OLD!) the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast.

We attended lots of rock performances by legendary artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, and many others at such places as Longshoreman's Hall, Avalon Ballroom, and the Fillmore Auditorium. These were great times. Herb Caen, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper described the guidelines of the hippie code in an article he wrote in 1967. The article described it as: "Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun".

According to Wikipedia "while many hippies made a long-term commitment to the lifestyle, some people argue that hippies "sold out" during the 1980's and became part of the materialist, consumer culture."

When I met Bill in the early 70's, he owned this 1949 International school bus and had converted it so that he could live in it and eventually leave the Bay Area, which he accomplished in 1971 or 1972. He sold everything he owned and moved to northern California, close to Mt. Shasta in Siskiyou County. I followed him up there in 1973 after I quit my job, sold or gave away everything I owned except for what I could fit into my VW, and left the Bay Area on Halloween of that year. It was my dream too, just as it was Bill's (and T's) to live off the land "living a slow and" I loved living so close to the land, living directly in the forest and a big, beautiful pond that we swam in sans clothing, relaxing all day long.

Everyone thought I was crazy...selling everything and moving away. But, I knew that it would work and that the desire was genuine and beautiful. I just needed Bill to prod me along. I left behind all my friends, who continued to still work their 9-5 jobs. They might have dressed the part of being a hippie but they had no idea what it felt like to actually live the part. We had no running water, no electricity (we used kerosene lights), and no jobs. But we also had no ties and no bills. We were free to "wander around the forest" (as T so eloquently puts it), "dancing in the rain, making slow food...having warmth in winter and beautiful days". THE DREAM!

This is Bill and me at my mother's home when we announced that we had gone off to Virgina City, Nevada, and gotten married by a justice of the peace. IN A BAR CALLED THE SILVER QUEEN! The judge was down there having a beer and when we went in to get him to perform the ceremony, he told us to "come inside". My mother purchased this cake at the local grocery store. It was the only celebration that I had except for a "canned goods party" that my dear friend Lela (now since passed away) held for us at her home. What I wouldn't give to have all that curly, long hair back. At the time I hated it. It wasn't "cool" to have curly hair in the 70's. But I wasn't "cool". And did Bill get looks because of his long hair? You bet! My own mother wouldn't say goodbye to me when I left the Bay Area to live with him. I guess she thought I was living in sin.

Here's another photo of me in the early 70's in my tie-dyed shirt. Bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts! And hand-made leather moccasins! Those were the days!
This is a photo of me at Jenner. I used to embroider lots of my shirts with designs in those days too. I never have been one to wear all the Joseph Magnin clothes (comparable to Nordstrom's now). In the first place, I didn't have the money to buy all those kinds of clothes. My mother used to give me so much money each year to purchase school clothes and I always figured that I could get so much more for my money if I purchased fabric and made my own. Which I did. I made all my own dresses, skirts, blouses, even my Prom dress and coat. I have always enjoyed sewing. I guess I got it from my grandmother. She was an alterations person and could hand-draw a pattern just by looking at a dress! I was never that good but I could follow a pattern.

So, the dream? I feel like I am still living it although it has been altered a bit. We still live in the forest but we now have electricity. When we first moved here though and were building our home (like T) we didn't have electricity for about 6-8 years. I never missed it. We had a generator for the well so we always had water. And, we used kerosene lights for years. It was even longer before we had a phone. That was way before cell phones. It's amazing that we never had a real emergency. What would we have done? And, we raised our twins like this for the first years of their lives.

I think that it has given us a better appreciation for what we DO have. We appreciate the small things and we are hard workers. We would rather spend time working on our property and our home than taking elaborate trips. That is not important to us.

"It is nothing new. We have a private revolution going on. A revolution of individuality and diversity that can only be private. Upon becoming a group movement, such a revolution ends up with imitators rather than participants...It is essentially a striving for REALIZATION of one's RELATIONSHIP to life and other people... " Bob Stubbs, "Unicorn Philosophy".


  1. smiles. loved the pics...adn your quiet revolution...we live with little but i am glad we have electricity...

  2. This quote by Stubbs says it all! What I find most interesting is that these photos transcend time. They look as though they could have been taken last week...except for the bus I suppose.
    Wonderful post...most enjoyable. I must pop over to T's.
    Hope your weekend was peaceful.

  3. Lots of us have that dream and for some of us it has been a stop start venture. Currently Dan and I are in 1 bedroom flat in Launceston while he is studying Aquaculture at Uni even though we would both rather be back on our block in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, where the poor abandoned vegie garden the empty chook pens and the kangaroo nibbled fruit trees await our return.

  4. Oh I love this post. Love the photos, love the clothes you made, love the bus, love that you quit your job and followed a dream and made it work even when you didn't have the approval of your mom. This post is so inspirational!

  5. I always felt the Hippies movement was wonderfully idealistic. I still refuse to judge people by how they look and I think my love of fonts was born while decoding rock posters :) Thanks for this jog to my memory!


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