When I got out of the Army in 1973 all I wanted to do was grow my hair and become a hippie. I knew I was against the Vietnam war, I felt lied to by Nixon, and I liked smoking pot—free love didn’t sound bad either, but I had already met my future wife.
The hippie’s had a voice that resonated with my own and my parents detested them and their ideals. Perfect. My parents also resisted the idea of change. They felt threatened by the growing movement to conserve, to clean up the environment. First the catalytic converter, then the elimination of leaded gas. And soon after, we could no longer use aerosol spray cans or charge our car’s air conditioner with CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). Irritating liberal-minded scientists were claiming some mysterious hole was growing in an even more mysterious layer of ozone. Soon, they claimed, we’d all die of skin cancer. Worse yet, we were told the planet might start getting warmer.
I remember my father, Don, clenching his pipe and spewing angry words. “The very notion that your mother’s hair spray will harm the earth. Bullshit!”
It sounded outlandish to me too, but I was already committed to being a hippie and basically if my parents were against it, it had to be good.
The Hippies were interested in peace, love, social change, and pot. Sometimes more pot than change. But they sparked change in the world and questioned the status quo. No longer did everyone swallow the hook when the loud voices began. We questioned everything fed to us—at least everything we didn’t already agree with.
And we already agreed the world needed to change.