Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mud People

You can't see it very well, but this is a t-shirt I saw at Target, from their "Summer of Love" series. Yes, they are selling Woodstock-themed clothing as if it's all the rage. Why couldn't this stuff have been cool when I was into it? When I was in high school I was all about hippies and high happy muddiness. I would have killed for a Woodstock tee. The mass-marketing of Sixties-related merchandise would have been my consummate joy. So now I'm confused: Was I behind my time or ahead of my time?

As it was, I had to go it alone, as a nerdy teenager, dressing up as a hippie when the school had a costume day during spirit week, something that none of my classmates could dig. I listened to Donovan albums in the basement and strung beads. I read whatever books I could find in our small town public library on the 60's and the hippie movement. There wasn't a ton, but our librarian Mary Daniels was cool and she had bought a few books, including one on Janis Joplin.

I was desperate to hear 60's music, but this was around 1979 and 1980, and the only outside source was AM radio. It was a few more years, I think, before FM radio became available in our area. About the only place I could hear lots of 60's stuff was on this oldies radio show hosted by Dick Clark on Sunday afternoon. I listened very carefully to the names of bands and songs, and then on our rare excursions to Hays or Dodge, I scoured the one record store in the mall and bought albums by The Guess Who, the Doors, the Lovin' Spoonful and Donovan, Donovan, Donovan. My best and only chance for finding a Donovan album was in the clearance bin. But gradually over time my Donovan collection grew and I had Sunshine Superman, Fairy Tale, Mellow Yellow, Catch the Wind, Gift from a Flower to a Garden, Hurdy Gurdy Man.

The only Donovan album that survived from that period was the Sunshine Superman album. It was my favorite, because it's lousy with sitars and lyrics about medieval castles and the like. The other albums came to an unfortunate end which is another story, which maybe I'll tell someday.

Back then I was also a Trekkie nerd, and I faithfully watched Star Trek every day at 4:00 after school. But my access to any information about the show was scant. I had to wait for that occasional trip out of town, and hope that the bookstore in the mall had something, anything about Star Trek. One time I found a book that was about Star Trek conventions that had color photos of people wearing Spock ears. It had only a small sprinkling of photos of the cast from the show. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I grabbed it anyway. So this latest surge of Original Star Trek merchandise amuses me, and does my old Trekkie heart good.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! A peek into your childhood. You were cool, not nerdy! :) I love The Guess Who. My mom has a funny little story about them. Thinking of the 60s and Star Trek in addition to you being a kid in the 70s--the coloring of your childhood is rich and comforting. I want it wrapped around me!
    Nice piece. I enjoyed it!