Monday, April 23, 2007

American Experience

I'm watching American Experience on PBS. "The Summer of Love". I was 18, in a Navy uniform, and in San Francisco for two weeks in the summer of 1967. It was certainly an interesting experience.

Three things about that two weeks stands out in my memory.

1. I was walking down Haight street with 3 friends, we were all in uniform, and two hippie girls sitting on the sidewalk spit at our shows. They missed. It was the closest I got to being spit on during the war. I don't think it was about the war though, they didn't strike me as aware enough to be anti-war. I think it was just an anti-establishment act, our uniforms could have just as well been postal worker uniforms or dairy queen employee shirts.

2. Free love among hippies was more about drugs than about sex. Me and a friend did pick up two girls, we picked up a couple of redneck types at a roller rink in the East Bay. Hippie girls wouldn't talk to us.

3. The only hippie types that would talk to someone in uniform were the ones hawking the plethora of alternative newspapers being sold on the streets around North Beach, near City Lights. I think they were more left over beatniks than hippie types though, they just published hippie oriented weekly papers.

San Francisco Chronicle has a series of stories on the Summer of Love.

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