HomeOpinionI Never Knew I was A Hippie

 By Sallie Elkordy CJE –  Thanks to Worldwide Hippies for asking me to share my story of activism.  While I never realized that I was a Hippie, I’ve always known that I respected them. One day a conservative man, whom I had known for years, vehemently ‘accused’ me of being a Hippie.  I thought, “Cool”. Proud am I to be counted among you!

My parents Mary and George Ottavino believe in helping others. They have always been active in their beliefs.  My father was most particularly supportive of humanitarian causes, and my mother holds the firm belief that, “If you can, you must.”  This belief stemmed from the fact that my sister, Mary Bess, who was mentally retarded, could not herself contribute.

I had wanted to volunteer for years, but was not sure how I could make a difference.  I now recommend to everyone who wishes to contribute their efforts, to “follow their bliss”.  I love to laugh and as a stand-up comic I had access to many other comics and performers who could help me fulfill my “mission of cheer to raise spirits, awareness and eyebrows!” and so I embarked on producing 250 comics, dancers and musicians in shows serving hospitals and homeless shelters throughout NYC.  I liken my tale to the movie, “The Natural”, because it best describes being blindsided to the detriment of one’s goals, with a belated return to that pursuit, and a passion to make up for lost time.  And so at the age of 33, I leaped forward (Sallied Forth, if you will) with reckless abandon to the merriment of many.  I have produced 900 comedy shows thus far.  We have a “Ludicrous Line-up” this April Fools Day in a Veterans’ shelter (8 comics, with special guest Professor Irwin Corey, “The World’s Foremost Authority”).  At around our 400th show, we went non-profit as the Museum of Comedy.  I did this so I could raise money to pay the many comics I had previously asked to volunteer.  I refer to the Museum of Comedy as a “for-loss organization”.  Some families go on vacation and others produce comedy shows in hospitals and homeless shelters.  I owe a debt of gratitude to my husband Mohamed Elkordy and my helpful children Mary Elizabeth and Abbas (aka, Merry Mary and Joy Boy).  Comics who have donated the most performances are Bill McCarty, Lorene Farnsworth and Brian Kiley.  I could never have pulled off 900 shows of this nature without them.  Highlights have come in the form of performances by Celeste Holm at the Lenox Hill Women’s Shelter, Carol Channing at the Veteran’s Hospital in NYC, Pat Cooper at Gilda’s Club, Joe Franklin at United Cerebral Palsy and Henny Youngman as the first Grand Jester in our “Parade of Fools!”  We then had the privilege of honoring all of these stars at the United Nations for the first International Comedy Hall of Fame.  We also honored Bob Hope, who returned the favor in abundance by choosing me to represent him on PBS for their retrospective of his comedic contributions to the troops during WW II.

You know, activism is often associated with protesting, but volunteerism is activism too.  Don’t allow financial constraints to restrain your earnest desire to change the world for the better. Having only a limited budget forces one to be creative, which in the short run, is a good thing.  A bit of advice, which applies to everything you may ever do as an activist:  don’t expect gratitude; pursue your endeavors solely to improve the human condition, with ‘achieving your goal’ as the only compensation you anticipate receiving; expect setbacks to occur frequently, but don’t allow them to diminish your enthusiasm.  Don’t forget the most basic tenet is:


If you have a good idea, act on it right away!

~ Relieve a homebound caretaker of their duties long enough for them to have some fun, as do normal folks, or to accomplish a task far greater than you, yourself can accomplish.  [When I read that Sandra Day O’Conner announced that she would be stepping down due to her husband’s dementia, I wrote to her and offered to care for her husband so that she could remain on the Supreme Court. I never heard from Justice O’Conner, but I had offered the only thing within my power to affect the outcome I desired to see.]

~  Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to distribute to hungry people in your travels and throw in a couple of York peppermint patties for the “after dinner mint” experience.  [When Princess Diana and Mother Theresa died within days of one and other, I saw people lay flowers, as is the tradition, out of respect for the lives they had lived.  I thought about what they stood for, having seen Princess Diana take her son William, future King of England to make-shift tents within London, so he would know how the homeless population lived and having watched a documentary of Mother Theresa’s life and the astonishing amount of good she generated and thought how can we pay tribute to the lives they led?  Feeding people made sense and my kids and I would make 6 sandwiches every morning before I headed off to work.  Sometimes I didn’t even make to the subway before the sandwiches were gone.  A most unfortunate commentary on the need for it.]

Sallie Elkordy contact


I Never Knew I was A Hippie — 7 Comments

  1. VACCINES: The Good News is People are Waking Up. The Bad News is WHY!
    by Sallie O. Elkordy, posted 11/1/12 re: 10/31/12

    Halloween Night: I Never Wanted to be Proven Right

    Tonight was extraordinary. I opened the door and looked down the block to see a woman being dragged by a tiny witch with all the determination she could muster. She passed by twenty houses decorated for Halloween and then turned up my walkway and came straight to my door. I greeted them and said to the tiny witch, “I have stickers for you.” She took them and held them up to her mother and said, “SEE”. These were Vaccine Injury stickers. I gave the mother a flyer about vaccine injury and she told me that she was expecting it as I had given her one last year. This child gets my vote for effective communicator of 2012. She was only a tiny spot of a thing, but she knew good advice when she saw it!!!

    Many others came too from the year before just to talk to me. I hadn’t remembered all of them, although I did remember two of them (Nicole is pictured). I distributed 146 flyers and only found three on the ground on my block afterward. Parents rejoiced at times to receive them. What a difference a year makes.

    Why had they come to see me? Unfortunately, because of Vaccine Injury. I gave everyone who had problems my cellphone number and told the others they were welcome to my home if they required further information. Several said they would write “BAN VACCINES” on their ballot when they voted in November, but the overwhelming majority were relieved to know me. Some; however, wanted to “kick my ass” (that’s getting old) but fewer reacted that way this year, by far.

    I never wanted to be proven right, because to be proven right means one thing alone, Vaccine Injury.

    October ~ Vaccine Injury Awareness Month VIDEO covering these topics 1) Vaccine Injury month; 2) write “Ban Vaccines” on your ballot at the polls; 3) Gary Null seeks JUSTICE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFN3Itz_W4

    • From a Mission of CHEER to a Mission of MERCY! Join me and help create a VACCINE FREE WORLD! Event February 21st in NYC https://www.facebook.com/events/645854455461955/ . Please create an event in February wherever you live. “Vaccines are the Greatest Crime Against Humanity” -Dr. Ghis Lanctot, author of “The Medical Mafia”

      Vaccines: Listen to what has happened her in NYC. This Resolution Passed! What I found out at the hearing on TOP of what you will here on this radio program is that we only have 1.2% exemptions allowed in NYC because of a State granted “Home Rule”. This means that the basic CDC schedule of vaccines (almost 50 doses through the age of 5) is MANDATED for 98.8% of New York City’s Children. With that knowledge, add to it this atrocity: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/publicadvocate/2013/10/22/public-advocate

      Listen to my speech at the Hearing of October 23rd QUESTIONING the authority of an unelected group to mandate vaccines. One on the panel stood up and left the room when I said that. They’re breaking all the rules and only a handful of us are pushing back. Bottom line: CHILDREN WILL DIE AND NO ONE WILL GO TO JAIL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-CgNY1RNDc

  2. You are a force of nature and I am happy to have been a part of it. I love you.

    Lorene Farnsworth

    p.s. You should have asked me years ago, I would’ve told you you were a hippie, the old school kind, the kind who do things for others as a matter of course.

  3. Dear Friends, Happy Fool’s Day!!

    A father and son went fishing one day. While they were out in the boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him. He asked his father, “How does this boat float?”
    The father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
    A little later, the boy looked at his father and asked, “How do fish breath underwater?”
    Once again the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
    A little later the boy asked his father, “Why is the sky blue?”
    Again, the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
    Finally, the boy asked his father, “Dad, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?”
    The father replied, “Of course not, you don’t ask questions, you never learn nothin’.”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  4. Very cool article Sallie! I never knew I was a hippie either, in fact I don’t even think its a term,”hippies” used. In School we were either “freaks”,”jocks” or “geeks.’ A reporter first used the term Hippie to describe what he could not make sense of. it really caught on ey?

    I was a helper, lots of helping with asking higher ups, in charge “But WHY NOT?”, always looking for the thrid option, is a very importent quality in activisim with keeping dialouge open, true its not always protest and we need to start with all that we have to offer, even if that is little, it counts when unified,combined with helping and laughter its a win/ win combo.

    I commented over at Hippie Chan where I saw the later half of this piece so I wont repeat, just commenting Great ideas here.Congrats on all the comedy in service..Laughter is the best medecine! Peace Blessings
    Maria Spring

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