Growing Up Hippy
“Turn off the lights!” My dad would remind us. For the 1000th time. Yes, we took it for granted. But that was our way of life. Saving energy, saving electricity, saving the world — one light at a time.
Tofu or fish every night for dinner with a huge, huge bowl of salad and brown rice. Same dinner, every night.
Drive? Why not walk, or bike? It wasn’t even a question. If we could walk there, we would. If it was only an hour bike ride away, we were biking it. The longer one could go without being in a car, the better. The more we saved, preserved, reserved, the better we were doing our jobs as daughters of Mother Earth.
As an actual hippy child, not just one of the 60s, I got to attend social action camps, political rallies, political conventions and speeches, and best of all – political concerts.
A hippy child did not have a television. If they did, it was placed sneakily in front of the treadmill for exercise or in the basement for movies, only.
If I ever ate meat it was not in the sight of my father. I didn’t even learn how to cook it until I was 25.
I spent many trips traveling to Montague Farm in Western Massachusetts. That was the commune my father spent 14 years in before returning to Ohio where he met my mom. There, we collected eggs, wondered around the farms and sit peacefully at the local Peace Pagoda. We loved every second of it. I remember examining a dead squirrel with my father’s friend. One that the dog brought in. I remember partaking in circular activities like drumming, hiking, meditating. Participating in a play that the local kids put on. Or sitting and watching monks perform their daily ritual.
On one trip to Colorado We visited Naropa, a college that encourages the practice of Buddhism and meditation. We sat in rooms designated for different colors to enhance feelings and emotions. Red. Blue. Yellow…
Some summer’s we went to Martha’s Vineyard. There we played on the many beaches the vineyard had and went body surfing or boogie boarding.
I remember growing up. Slowly.
Meeting interesting people with interesting lives and stories to share. I saw what Carly Simon’s song “Menemsha” really meant. Walking on the rocks barefoot. Watching the rainbow sunsets, literally covering the sky. The clay cliffs. Visiting “The Black Dog.” Bike riding. Breathing. Riding horses on the beach at the Allen’s sheep farm. Meeting interesting people of all races, ages, sizes. Hugging trees. I knew no different.
Other trips were spent lecturing in Colorado at the Conference on World Affairs. I know my father’s speeches by heart. Well, at least I knew how they ended: “No Nukes!” Would follow a much impressive speech explaining how nuclear power was not the answer. We only have one earth. Why destroy it?
When my dad came to speak at my summer day camp, other campers couldn’t believe we didn’t have a TV. That my dad was apart of GREENPEACE. That he had spoken at Woodstock. He spoke with energy and excitement. He believed in every word he said, as did his listeners.
Most famous of all may be perhaps the concerts I got to attend. And meet the performers. The Indigo Girls, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, PHISH. I attended Lilith Fair. I took home special VIP stickers every time. I spent time with Bonnie Raitt and Keb Mo. I didn’t know what a luxury this was.
I feel so grateful for my wholesome up bringing. Well some wouldn’t say it was wholesome but it was. My twin sister and I saw a world too old for most kids. We saw what it was like to fight for ones beliefs. To be educated and use your mind and words in peaceful demonstration. To appreciate nature. To save the world.
And that’s only the beginning.