If you remember the '60s, you weren't there Robin Williams.
Well, I was there, I remember and I have a display of mementos at the
Douglas County Library. It wasn't easy. So much had to be left out.
For me, "the Sixties" was from 1963 through 1973, starting with a
jolt on Nov. 22, 1963. I was in history class and the principal,
trying to hold back tears, told us President Kennedy had been shot.
In February 1964, The Beatles played on "The Ed Sullivan Show." We
smiled again for a while. I saw The Beatles in concert twice. Music
became our media, connecting all of us baby boomers.
Then Buffalo Springfield sang: There's something happening here/What
it is ain't exactly clear ... I think it's time we stop, children,
what's that sound?/Everybody look what's going down. And we looked:
at the Berlin Wall built in 1961, at our fear of Communism, nuclear
bombs, pollution and friends being sent to Vietnam many returning
crippled or in flag-draped coffins.
We asked why and got resistance. The Establishment didn't like us and
let us know it. There were protests and riots. The race to the moon
was on, and we couldn't get along on Earth. The advice spread: Tune
in, turn on, drop out, question authority. The world took note.
Slogans blossomed. Make love, not war. Flower power. Do what you want
as long as you don't hurt anyone. We let our hair grow, wore
bell-bottoms, tie-dye, sheepskin coats, beads. And flowers in our hair.
We became known as "hippies" and saw things differently under black
lights, strobe lights and lava lamps. We shared ideas about love and
peace. We talked about civil rights, healthy living, religion, sex,
women's issues and everyone's rights. We planted organic gardens,
read and wrote books (including Zap Comix), started communes,
attended love-ins and concerts and invented granola. Four of us were
killed and nine others were wounded protesting at Ohio's Kent State
The year 1968 was significant. Hippies made the news. Violence
erupted at the Democratic National Convention. Athletes saluted black
power at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Bobby Kennedy and Martin
Luther King Jr. were assassinated. We watched "Laugh-In," "Planet of
the Apes," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and live performances of "Hair"
with nude performers.
In 1969, Max Yasgur opened his farm near Woodstock, N.Y., for a
weekend to remember. We donned backpacks and hitch-hiked across
America and overseas. Being in the Tower of London, the Blue Mosque
in Istanbul, the Colosseum in Rome, camping in the Black Forest,
finding relatives in Wales, seeing people in their own cultures and
tasting their foods, made me realize there was more to the world than
textbooks. It was real, I was part of it and it was beautiful.
I thought I'd get over being a hippie, settle down and get normal. It
was "just a phase," as Mom said. I married in a traditional ceremony,
but with The Beatles' "Let it Be" playing as we walked down the
aisle. The back-to-the-land movement was in full swing. We bought a
farm in Wisconsin, learned to chop wood, carry water, heat with wood,
grow a garden. We started a family.
All through the years, the music was there: Dylan, The Who, The Moody
Blues, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Lovin' Spoonful, Joan Baez,
The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Kinks, Jimi
Hendrix and so many more.
Today, I stop, look around and again see lines being drawn. My life
is a combination of old-fashioned Midwest values and the 1960s
consciousness. I believe in America, hard work and honesty. I still
believe in peace and love, family, organic gardening, The Beatles and granola.
The '60s exhibit will be on display in the library foyer until June 28.
The 1960s are still alive. I'm going to a Beatles festival in Las
Vegas to see Pattie Boyd, Donovan, Spencer Davis and Billy J. Kramer.
June Davies has lived in Douglas County for 12 years, is a news
assistant for The News-Review and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go ...
WHAT: A 1960s display from the collection of former flower child June Davies.
WHERE: Douglas County Library, 1409 Diamond Lake Blvd., Roseburg.
Start at the left of the display and continue right through the 1960s.
HOURS: Noon to 8 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and
Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
COST: Admission is free.