No, unlike the J. Geils Band, I’m not talking about a centerfold, though to me it’s just as sensual. And I am talking about approximately the same era, the early to mid 70’s. My high school years.
Despite the turbulence of the times, I must admit I hold an incredibly large soft spot for that era. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but in Goleta, California we had some hippies then. In fact my high school, Dos Pueblos, was dubbed ‘Hippy High.’ No doubt by rival preppies who envied our demographic. There was a local Vietnam era protest that made some news in my neck of the woods where some ‘damn hippies’ burned down a bank. To put things in perspective, kids in high school, and university campuses across the country were trying out new ways to express their anger over America’s war against Vietnam. Hippies back then were new, and scary to some, and wrong to some, and totally what I wanted to be.
Along about that same time were the Tate-LaBianca murders, and the Beatles came out with their White Album which threw my midwestern bred parents into a tizzy about the societal influences on their daughter. What the hell was this world coming to anyway? Kids protesting the war, those disrespectful protest songs, those fool draft dodgers wearing army jackets, and those God-awful bell-bottomed dungarees! (just for the record I ALWAYS called them jeans – never the D word). The times, they were a-changin!
Despite the fact (or maybe because of it) that my parents were Nixon Republicans, I felt a close affinity for those protesters. The barefoot and besandaled children of the earth whose clothes were Beatles-drug-induced-pilgramage-to-the-dali-lama inspired. It wasn’t fashion then, it was truly second hand store cast offs. Stuff your mom made, or you made yourself, or stuff you wore till it fell apart, then you patched it and wore it some more. The avocado greens, the burnt oranges and browns. The little glints of shiny beadwork and the lucious texture of crochet and macrame. Ah, the memories….
But wait, it’s 2005 and I’m shopping for school clothes with my teenage daughter at The Mega Mall. What’s this I see? Drndl skirts? Peasant tops? Gauzy hues of avocado and brown? I checked the name of the store, thinking we had wandered into an offbeat import store by happy happenstance, but then realized we hadn’t. This was just another shiny logoed franchise store hawking knock offs of the latest styles. After my initial teary burst of infatuation and longing, I noticed that store after store after store was offering what felt like an acid flashback! I found myself not encouraging the purchase of these etherial items as I had just moments earlier, but sadly shaking my head and feeling much the same as I did upon entering an elevator in the 80’s and hearing Stairway to Heaven covered by Musak. A inner battle worthy of DaNang waged within my torutured soul. As I reached out to touch the burnt orange crocheted shawl, yarn dyed to match exactly the batik-print skirt which, in turn had ecru highlights which could easily be paired with that romantic peasant inspired blouse, I recoiled. My inner hippy screamed ‘Stand firm and don’t cheapen those riteous memories by buying this crap!’ Ah, the Earth tones and crocheted textures with shiny sequins? Macrame? It all proved to me too magical to touch, to see them marketed this way was really just too much! Oh no I just can’t deny it – Oh yeah, I guess I got to buy it!