By Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star-News/Posted at;pasadenastarnews.com –
This ain’t the Summer of Love. But it is the winter of the year in which Californians can celebrate, should they so choose, the 50th anniversary of that summer of 1967. Hippies. The Haight. Really good — and really bad — music. Spare change.
I hadn’t given a lot of thought to that half-century birthday until last weekend, as we were staying with friends in the East Bay hills. When the newspapers came Sunday morning, we went through the happy ritual of separating the wheat from the chaff, journalism-wise, on the kitchen table. Among the expected sections of the San Francisco Chronicle, out popped a special magazine, Summer of Love, 50 Years Later, and over my granola and dark French roast, I was entranced.
Not for any reasons of having been there; not quite. I was 12 during the summer of 1967, not of an age where the folks were going to send me off to the Human Be-In in Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park, a January kick-off to the coming summer that, the Chronicle notes, “combined drugs, music and poetry and highlighted the rising tensions between the counter-culture and the establishment in San Francisco.”
Not that the folks were square. They had long-haired and bearded friends. We spent time every summer in the Bay Area, observing the hippies in their most natural habitat. Here at home, you had your Sunset Strip, your Laurel Canyon. My step-sister did run away to Hollywood one summer, returning with tales of the Girls Together Outrageously. Right in the heart of what is now Old Pasadena, the Free Press Bookstore at Fair Oaks and Colorado offered a glimpse into the psychedelic, with its Bill Graham Presents posters and Zig Zag rolling papers.
So, perusing the magazine, I didn’t feel witness to an alien civilization. Just a long-ago one, though it still resonates out into the future of today….
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