Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Crossing the Eel River at French's Camp

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Butter in the fly...

July Jewels

July Jewels
Bees to the Kingdom

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hippie

Hippie

Having attended high school in the sixties, a hippie to me was typically a young person with long hair, unconventionally dressed, who decried wealth and status, and smoked pot. Hippies were most likely to be found in Golden Gate Park, participating in love-ins, or in Berkeley, conducting sit-ins.
This pic had to be taken the day I got home from
that trip up to Oregon. I would have ben 17.
They did not have jobs, were into free love, and wore bell-bottoms. As an incoming junior in high school, the summer of 1968, I had minimal contact with anyone who would have remotely resembled a hippie. I considered them to be a benign sort of entity, the way one might view some sort of exotic piece in a museum. They simply existed.

Little did I know as a sixteen-year-old, that I was already infected with this disease; I showed all the symptoms, like wanting to let my hair grow down below my collar, letting my sideburns “hang in there,” and of course, rocking the bell-bottoms, years before I bought property on the Bell.

’68 was also the first year I ever indulged in cannabis, or at least that which came from south of the border and cost ten dollars for two fingers’ worth of dirt-encrusted, stem and seed-filled, Mexican weed. Were I to hazard a wild guess, I would say I obtained it through Dale Nelson, a fellow-though older by a few years-Sunrize employee.

Two tall Oly’s and some of this questionable substance, was more than enough to do the trick, as long as I was not driving. My friend Glen usually drove, primarily because he was the science guy, and always seemed more grounded than the rest of us. Besides, he owned the ’64 white Ford van we tooled around in.

Being the smallest of our group, I rode almost exclusively on the engine cover, between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat. There would have been no seat belts, anyway, for a ’64 vehicle, and there sure wasn’t one for the guy riding on the engine cover, his feet tucked up under him.

With our awareness now of how important seat belts and air bags are, when it comes to safety, I am amazed I lived to write about it. There is no front hood on those old vans, so had we ever run into something, I would have been catapulted through the air like a rag doll, except that I would have gone through that windshield like a brick.

I rode that engine cover from LA to the top of Oregon, and back down to SoCal, on that famous trip that commenced the night we graduated from high school. None of the other four guys in my crew would have been as comfortable on that spot so it was mine. 

I also grew my beard out on that voyage, and not just because we did not always have access to shower facilities. Hell, no. This was my opportunity of a lifetime, because I was not under the constraints of the dress code at Sunrize Market, which mandated whitewalls.

I have been searching for a family photograph that was taken during this time period, in our backyard on Fellowship Street, one in which I was dressed in a white shirt and tie, obviously on my way to work. I know it could not have been after work because there would have been no tie.

What makes this particular photo iconic is that I am standing in the back row, leaning forward with my right hand held up to my lips, most obviously simulating the smoking of a joint. It is not the picture itself, I loved so much, as the reaction from my mom, who thought it was hilarious.

Now, whether she would have thought it was hilarious that I was actually smoking cannabis before I even had a driver’s license (which I got when I was seventeen-and-a-half), I am not sure, but she got a kick out of the pic, much to my shock.
I know the photo exists because it sat on my desk for sixteen months, while I was overseas in Korea, serving in a Personnel Service Company. My nickname “over there” was California and-gasp-I was a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Please don’t hold that against me, though. 

Another sign that I might have been a budding hippie, is that at one point in my youth before I was drafted, my older brother Noel actually confiscated a little plastic baggie of the aforementioned Mexican weed from me. I had cleverly concealed my drugs beneath the bottom drawer of my built-in chest drawers, and he had discovered it. And removed it.

What was I going to do? Go to my mom and complain that Noel had ripped off my weed? In his defense, though I did not swallow this at the time, he maintained he did it for my own good.

“I have been monitoring your drug-use,” he intoned, “and I just think you are a little too involved, you know what I mean? So… I took matters into my own hands.”

I gave him the look. The only time I smoked was when I was with others, usually while going to a football game, or up to the San Gabriel Canyon. I was not a frequent flyer. He took “matters” into his own hands, all right, what matters to me.

The irony, of course, is that coming from Noel, this was almost farcical. Family history has accurately and forever categorized Noel, the seminarian, as the straw who stirred the drink from behind the scenes, and never once got busted.

That seminary gig was golden because well, you know, could a guy training to be a priest, really be that-[Editor’s Note: Ahem…] er, yes, it does make sense that older Bro was just looking after my best interests. I would have a slightly clearer idea, however, if I knew what specifically happened to that confiscated bag of weed.

As you may-or may not-be aware, I have matured into a fully-developed hippie, much to my satisfaction, though I no longer wear my hair long because of my shoulder issues, making it impossible to properly care for it. 

I now compensate in other recognized, and well-established rites of hippiedom, such as consumption of cannabis, which I claim is actually a substitute for the medication I refuse to take for my bipolarism.


As my saintly mother, Pauline used to say, “A likely story.”

And for those of you who had the misfortune of having to endure me as a language arts teacher, and are not seeing the hippie part too clearly, I will just say that being a hippie is not always about long hair and cannabis.You can dress a person like a school teacher, but you cannot take the hippie out of that person.

Anyway, my cannabis use does not phase the VA, which has gone on record as telling me, “If we excluded service to NorCal veterans who used cannabis, we would have no patients.”  

All I can say is I do my share because, well, I am a hippie, and it’s what I get paid the big bucks to do, going on fifty years now. If nothing else, I am consistent. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to take my meds, which I will do as soon as I give the bong a rinse.

Far out and solid, Man.






3 comments:

  1. Are oy thinking of the photo that was taken in the back yard in 1972 (JBD had come to visit)? Since I can clearly see the photo I must have a copy of it somewhere? Or it is in the big house with the larger collection of photo albums that have always been i the family? You know the ones. You know they were returned to the big house, right? They might still be in boxes over there.

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  2. 1972? Couldn't be because of the white shirt and tie. It was in the backyard at Fellowship, sort of on the side where the lemon tree faucet was. There was a bench for folks in the front row to sit on. We'll keep an eye out for it...

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  3. I definitely remember that photo. It must be in one of those albums because I can see it clearly in my head. Great story Mark!

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