SEX! DRUGS! ROCK N ROLL!
Are you paying attention?
TUNE IN! TURN ON! DROP OUT!
Did these words catch your attention? How about…
MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR!
Welcome to the Love Generation, a time when we burned our bras and draft cards and were tear-gassed, shot and beaten, while demonstrating against a war that killed so many of our brothers and sisters. Innocent, gentle, idealistic romantics, we collectively believed in Flower Power, gathering with our guitar-strumming companions to sing folk songs and hand out daisies to bemused old people, which included anyone over the age of 30. We’d pass around a bottle of Annie Green Springs wine, share some weed, love each other A LOT, whine about “the Man,” and make big plans about how we would fix the world. Everything was far out and we were feelin’ groovy.
As a culture, we had extremes and evolutions. Some of us so feared the “military action” in Vietnam that we ran to Canada and other foreign shores to evade being drafted. Self-proclaimed peace-seeking pacifists turned malignantly militant and wreaked havoc on an already insecure and restless America. Soldiers returning from combat were met with general apathy or scorn, as if they were to blame for the country’s problems. Marijuana opened doors to mood-altering, narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs. Free love became increasingly freer, aided and abetted by the advent of THE PILL. Despite that medical marvel, the number of unplanned pregnancies, illegal abortions and sexually transmitted diseases exponentially rose.
On a lighter side, fashion trends kept up with the times – tattered bell-bottomed jeans, dashikis, granny dresses, peasant blouses, mini-skirts, midi-skirts, tube tops and butt-baring shorts – we wore them all. Our hair – from head to toes – went through stages of total absence to entirely au’ natural; every length and consistency from chemically-produced Afros to ankle-length locks painfully home-ironed into arrow straightness. Some of us bathed regularly, used cosmetics and paid attention to our personal hygiene; others, not so much.
As we aged chronologically, the world grew along with us. Events, both wonderful and heinous, occurred which impacted the entire global community. Social revolutions and evolutions took place that shaped and reshaped humanity and the known universe. Political regimes came and went. Wars were fought, battles won and lost; horrific diseases were obliterated until new, monstrously horrendous ones took their place. Countless animal and plant lives became extinct before mankind took heed of its inhumanity and launched an effort to cease and desist the decimation of Planet Earth.
Wait a minute…weren’t we taking about the 1960s?
Wasn’t I describing the last century? Isn’t it a new millennium? Isn’t it true that the only things we can totally believe will happen in life are birth, taxes, death and change?
As a generation, we most assuredly changed. Other than those who met untimely deaths, including James Eric Tucker, a beautiful member of my Miami (FL) Central High School class of 1967 whose life was cut short in Vietnam a few months following graduation, may he rest in peace, we are double the age of the “old” people we thought we shouldn’t trust. A majority of us have become mainstream America; others live in service to America. A few are felons; some are cultural misfits, others have become social, political, spiritual and community activists.
Despite all the unbridled lust, thousands of us never found our soul mates, multitudes endured failed relationships and countless couples have celebrated silver wedding anniversaries. Many of us care for our elderly parents, children and their children. Still others devote their lives to simply, joyfully, loving life and all creatures, great and small. As thoughtful human beings, we teach; as a collective, we learn.
Now, just like the good old/bad old days of Flower Power, the times, they are a-changin’. And just like way back then, we can be a creative, positive, part of that change. Here, you and I have a weekly opportunity to meander down Memory Lane, speculate about the future, offer some empathy, share experiences, events and people who have shaped ourselves, learn from one another as we contribute a life lesson or two. And all along the way, I believe we will discover that even though we are all spectacular individuals, inside each of us lies a beautiful, powerful spirit just waiting to be bequeathed.
Editorís Note: Welcome to Dower Power, Janetís new weekly blog. Also check out her post on the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Camelot. Until then, please share your stories below – How did your yesterday transform you into who you are today?