Saturday, May 15, 2010

Visiting our friends from the ‘60s at The Farm community





My posting is behind as we spent a week in Baltimore, Maryland, then when we came back I read all the interesting posts my blogging friends had published on their blogs. Now I am continuing the narrative of our visit at the Farm community in Tennessee where we visited our friends from San Francisco – see my last post here.




We had not seen our friends in many years – it seemed so long ago but at the same time just like yesterday. I came over from Paris in the summer of 1961 and we left San Francisco at the end of December 1969. Many have demonized the decade of the ‘60s – mostly conservatives and corporations. The Right has been campaigning misinformation about the ‘60s and the general public has come to believe it. But something significant happened in the sixties. We did not want the drab conformism and materialism of the ‘50s, we had hope, enthusiasm and the desire to make life better for everyone.


Collage graphics from free fractual wallpapers

The Vietnam War was a tragedy with 67,000 American casualties (58,000+ killed in the war and 9,000 as suicides) and up to 5 million Vietnamese casualties, not counting the millions in Laos and Cambodia. We walked against it, many, many times. The Right would like to erase the memory of the half million US deserters or the more than 100 underground antiwar newspapers published by soldiers. Even repentant Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, architect of the Vietnam War, later said that it had been “a fatal mistake.” So we wanted peace, unity, understanding, kindness, economic and social equality.




Peace buttons and flowers were everywhere. We became more concerned about our health and the environment. The environmental movement gained popularity and organizations like the Sierra Club became popular. After reading “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson we joined cooperatives to buy healthy and organic food – you had to join a cooperative to find healthier food then as it was considered “subversive” not to eat regular or junk food. Ralph Nader published “Unsafe at Any Speed” which created the consumer movement. The Peace Corps was also created in the ‘60s. We just did not want to live; we wanted to experience life with all our senses.



The sixties were a decade of change and they had lasting effects. There were some excesses but much general good has resulted. Students coming from the complacent and comfortable ‘50s created the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960-66)in North Carolina and worked very hard to bring civil rights to the US South (you can read about it here: “Black is not a Vice nor Segregation a Virtue.” We had great ideals, and we worked on them. The growth of the women’s movement started then because women felt they should do away with the rigid subordination to men (The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan was published in 1963.) We questioned racism, the government, religion, dress codes and dull popular music.




We were married on 17 June 1967 (called the Summer of Love) and went to the Monterey Pop Festival on the 18th as a honeymoon, where we saw Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Who, Ravi Shankar, The Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, Simon and Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Otis Redding and watched Jimi Hendrix smash his guitar while singing “Wild Thing.” The June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival was one of the greatest, if not the greatest rock concert ever.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix, American Musician, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, 1942-1970


Joan Baez singing “Where have all the Flowers Gone?”

As I mentioned in my last post The Farm is no longer a commune but a cooperative intentional community. They have dues and laws just like an owner’s association. In addition to many gardens outside their homes, there is a large community garden on the Farm. Also, as a community, they tend about an acre of blueberries and 6 to 7 acres of apple and pear trees. They also have multiple businesses. During the Caravan travel from San Francisco to many states in 1971 several babies were born in buses. Women on the bus helped with delivery and some became professional midwives. They published a book “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin which has been sold to almost ½ million readers. Along the years they have helped deliver 3500 babies and never lost a single one. You can read about it here.




The public can come to The Farm for “The Farm Experience Week-end” which takes place several times a year. The few days we were there everything was quiet and we encountered hardly anyone. Our friend took us to the Farm Store. It stocks a good variety of groceries, vegetarian snacks, books, etc.




Then he showed us a large domed structure where they hold meetings, concerts and other entertainment.


Click on picture to bigify

We toured the Farm in his electric golf cart. We saw the prairie which is a wildlife habitat,




and the eco village area below -



Along the way we saw some of the old buses -






In the early days additions had been built on some of these buses and vans as housing




Some of the previous residents who made careers on the outside are now coming back and building very nice “green” houses, energy efficient and built in a more sustainable way. We went to the creek which has an adjacent beach in summer.




We came back and took another walk with our friend’s dog, looking at flowers on the way and breathing the pure country air.




The next morning it was time to return back home and we were sorry to leave our friends from the ‘60s. But happy that, as many of us from that decade, our friends and us have not sold out. Some of us took regular jobs but carefully, like my husband who received a masters’ degree in environmental planning and made a career in the protection of wildlife. We followed a life of simplicity and recycling, keeping our radical ideas of equality with us. We made friends with people of different races, religion and cultural ethics and tried to help whenever we could.




We traveled frugally and kept our fuel efficient small car. We did not adhere to the “me” generation of the ‘80s and ‘90s but kept our non materialistic ways. The ‘60s never died for us, we are still rebellious and refuse the new general apathy to the polarizing and more oppressive ways of our government. So we left the old buses painted with flowers. But then… in Baltimore my little grandson unexpectedly showed me his new little car … well, you may say I’m a dreamer…




You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
John Lennon, 1940-1980 “Imagine” lyrics





“…the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
-Edward Kennedy, US Senator, 1932-2009





58 comments:

Pondside said...

These posts are so interesting, as I didn't know anything at all about the farm. There were a few communes here, in the Gulf Islands, but they were attached to the drug culture and didn't survive past the 70's. It's good to know that this good place thrives.

Leesa said...

I just LOVE your pics.. esp. of the vans.. So 60s/70s... groovy!!! It reminds me of my childhood in Topanga canyon on the weekends...
Also, I LOVE John Lennon and that song brings tears to my eyes each time I listen to it..
Happy Sunday to you!
Leese

jinksy said...

If only this 60's culture could have spread further abroad and continued to flourish, the world would be a better place...

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful, nostalgic post, vagabonde!

So much of this resonates with me. I am lucky to live in a place where there are quite a few who haven't 'sold out' and quite a few young folks coming along with those same Sixties sensibilities! Hooray!

DianeCA said...

Amazing post. I remember reading about the communes but I didn't know anything of them remained. The busses were really interesting. Sometimes I think we have everything we 'need' in the society today, but maybe not the things we want. How did the great dream get sold out to commercialism? However still a dreamer I am a feminist, and an activist and dedicate my life to helping women escape violence. The dreamers fight on! I'm not the only one.

DJan said...

Lovely post, VB. I was just a young mother during the 1960s trying to make a decent life. It wasn't until the 1970s that I learned any of the counterculture ways. But just like you, many elements of my life are colored by those years. We have never wanted to be consumers, my dream was to live in a commune like this. Here I am now in northern Washington state, with many communal farms around me! I loved this journey back into the past. And those buses!!! What a trip!! Thank you. :-)

lakeviewer said...

Hi Vagabonde, thanks for the visit! You took me back to the sixties, with this post. I see that we both immigrated about that time. Let's stay in touch.

lakeviewer said...

Loved to see the sixties here! Thanks for your visit.

Linda said...

I saw Joan Baez just a few months ago. She is small with short graying hair and a voice still as vibrant as ever with that incredible range over several octaves. She filled every seat and we all sang along. Everyone still knew all the words.

We all worked so hard to get the word out when that involved the printed page and telephones and disjointed campaigns due to distance.

Don't you wonder why protest is not more evident when the internet makes distributing ideas so much easier? We coulc certainly use it.

Your photos, as always, are a joy.

Tabor said...

VB, regarding your rose question I am not sure what is showing up as salmon on your screen the last photo is really a pale pink rose. Let me know which one and I will give you the name.

Friko said...

I speak to people now who ridicule the 60s. It was a decade of huge changes, they say, which didn't last and ended in the greedy 80s and 90s and the disasters we now experience.
I don't see that the 60s (which really happened in the early 70s here) were all good, the troubles you mentioned for instance. But much good happened that has filtered down into later decades.

I love your buses! And the music, of course. It takes me back.

Marguerite said...

Fabulous post! The Farm is beautiful and it's wonderful that they are still together. I could really relate to every word and photo! I burned my bra, in protest of the Vietnam War, at a rally at my university, and lived in a hippie commune, in the 70's. And those vans, I had one that looked almost identical. lol Those were the days! And I can't believe that you went to the Monterey Pop Festival!! Cheers, cher!

Fennie said...

Ah Vagabonde! So many memories. Like you I am old enough to remember the sixties, and the demonstrations against the war, the Beatles and flower power. I sang the songs and watched those beat up VW microbuses.
Yes it was certainly an inspiring decade. Thank you for taking me back there. The world has come a long way since, yet there are still those who would turn the clock back - why? why?

Tabor said...

VB the rose is a yellow going to peach in the center. It is an old English rose Rosa Ausmas In America it is called David Austin English Rose. Happy gardening.

Kay Dennison said...

I came of age in the 60s and remember a lot of this. I feel sorry for young people today -- they think that it was all about sex, drugs and rock and roll.

I'm glad to see that some of the dream came true!!!!!

Thanks!!!!

Ginnie said...

I didn't live through this time in the same way you did, Vagabonde, but I do remember it and know none of us will ever be the same without it. I love the way you have put these posts together...so full of nostalgia and hope for the future of our planet. It had to start somewhere and maybe we were part of it!

Tabor said...

VB I posted on my blog but I guess I missed responding here. The photo of Rose #5 in the post one Room Without Walls is a Graham Thomas English Rose "Rosa Ausmas."

Ruth said...

I enjoyed these two posts about the '60s A LOT. My brothers and sisters, all older than I, experienced this differently. One brother had an album from the Monterey Pop Festival, and I listened to it while doing the family ironing. I learned about Ravi Shankar from that. Now we hear his daughter, Norah Jones. Time moves on, things change.

I'm grateful to you for sticking to your 1960s values. I look at the 60s as the culmination of the huge changes that were building after WWII, and the influence of freedom begun there is beyond anything we can understand. It was essential in my own self. My brother Bennett, who passed away, is the one who introduced me to music from that time. He was born 1948, me in 1956. He wore a black arm band to his college graduation in 1970, to protest Vietnam. Of all my family, he has had more influence on my values than anyone else. He is gone from the earth, but he lives on in me. Maybe I feel I am also honoring him by holding to similar values that you have expressed in these posts.

Bless you, I love to imagine you going through these tumultuous times. The bus caravan is amazing! And the farm too.

dot said...

That was interesting! I was married in the early sixties working and raising my children so I guess I missed out or rather didn't pay much mind to some of the things that were going on.

Val said...

i feel like that now! jumping in a bus covered in big daisies and going on a peace mission! i was a decade too late for the last caravan...

Alesa Warcan said...

Aloha!
Merci d'avoir partagé ta visite avec nous. J'ai, moi aussi, pris un grand plaisir à regarder tes photos et à lire tes descriptions de cette petite aventure. : j

Vagabonde said...

Pondside – I am pleased that you found this post interesting, glad you came.

Vagabonde said...

Leesa - I am with you – this is one of my favorite John Lennon’s songs.

Vagabonde said...

Jinsky – you are right – if only there had been more people involved in the 60s culture, the world would have become a better place.

Vagabonde said...

Vicki Lane – you live in a beautiful area, away from the madding crowds. Breathe for the rest of us.

Vagabonde said...

DianeCa – the dream did not get sold out to commercialism. Commercialism had the majority with it - the silent majority. They are the ones who brought us here.

Vagabonde said...

DJan – you are a lovely soul – most of us kept the faith, but our numbers are constantly dwindling.

Vagabonde said...

Lakeviewer – Thanks for your visit, and welcome here.

Vagabonde said...

Linda – Joan Baez is still a favorite at our home – my husband has always been her fan. The reason people are not walking in the streets to end suffering is because the times have changed – the silent majority took over and their offspring’s are more interested in themselves, their convenience and finances.

Vagabonde said...

Friko – as I said to Linda above, the people ridiculing the ‘60s are the same, or the offspring’s of the same silent majority we had then, only interested in their problems and not giving a hoot about the rest of the world – no change there.

Vagabonde said...

Marguerite – At the time, in SF I did not know that these were changing times, but now I realize that the times were different – no hate radio, no Faux News, no obstructionist Right (Goldwater would be a moderate Republican now), no SUVs, a lot less large corporations, no Dominion Fundamentalist Christians. Greed has taken over and the times have changed.

Vagabonde said...

Fennie - Greed took over, inequalities have grown, the rich getting richer the poor poorer and that in turn has created more fundamentalism, dissatisfaction and violence. This is a simplification but there were not enough of us to make a lasting difference.

Vagabonde said...

Kay Dennison - I feel sorry also for the young people now coming into a world of crass commercialism and low education. The media is no longer neutral – all the major chains are owned by large corporations and vested interests. At least there is the Net were more can be found out for those interested.

Vagabonde said...

Ginnie – Thank you for your kind words. I have grandchildren just like you do so I do hope the people of the planet will unite to save it for them and become more peaceful. Love to hear from you.

Vagabonde said...

Tabor – thank you so much for coming to my blog. I bought a Graham Thomas English Rose but it flowered while we were away. I love your rose and will keep its name for the future. Welcome here.

Vagabonde said...

Ruth – we were a minority then but with a huge voice for freedom. We still do not have complete freedom in the US, but it is coming and I hope someday soon everyone will be able to marry the person of their choice as they can in most European countries.

Vagabonde said...

Dot – thank you for your interest and I am always looking forward to reading your post and your comments.

Vagabonde said...

Val - It is never a decade too late to make things right. You are doing that when you drive miles to Mozambique to give school books to the children there and help them to build a school. The spirit of the ‘60s still lives because of you and people like you.

Vagabonde said...

Alesa Warcan – Merci Alesa de ta petite visite. Je suis contente que ce post t’as plu.

Pamela said...

My dear Vagabonde, You made me go back in time and to a such important period of our lifes. W did want to change the world for better, I guess we did'nt achieve our purpose, but we fought for what we believed. The 60's are not just memories, people need to have dreams

Elaine said...

I remember the sixties very well, although I was a young mother struggling to raise my kids. It was definitely a time of change in our country. We have lost so much of the hopeful ideals that were fought for, and I wonder where we will end up. I do see so much symbolism in that little bus your little grandson showed you. Perhaps the hope is still there....

claude said...

Pour moi c'est quand même mieux quand je oeux traduire tes longs textes.
C'est bien d'avoir passé du temps avec vos amis des anées 60.
En 1960 j'habitais la région parisienne et la guerre d'Algérie était sur le point de se terminer, et ce fut une bonne chose aussi.
Un jour j'ai abordé le sujet de la guerre du Viet-Nam avec mon Ami Larry (parti là-bas se battre et tiré au sort si je puis dire à cause de sa date de naissance, il était très jeune). Larry n'aime pas parler de ce sujet et je le comprends, mais avec moi ça c'est super bien passé.
Nous revenions de la visite des plages de Normandie.
Je mlui daisais que tous les GI's qui étaient venue se faire tuer sur ces plages étaient mports pour notre liberté alors que ceux partis au Viet-nam était morts pour une idéologie, celle de combatte le communisme, et il me disait, oui tu as raison, mais je me suis battu pour mon pays.
Larry est revenu bien plus tôt avant la fin de cette guerre stupide (comme l'a été celle d'Algérie d'ailleurs)grièvement blessé. Il avait reçu une balle dans sa cartouchière.
J'étais jeune pendant la guerre du Viet-Nam et ça me fendait le coeur chaque fois que je voyais des images de cette guerre car j'aime énormément l'Amérique.
Que peut-on pensé maintenant de celle en Afganistan.
Vivre dans un bus, pourquoi pas. Nous avons fait du camping car pendant dix ans, mais en vacances seulement.
Ce que je retiens de ces années, ce sont les deux guerres dont je viens de parler et la période Baba cool.
Merci pour le traducteur !

Angela said...

Aah, Joan Baez, and all that MUSIC then! Wasn`t it just the time of our lives, Vagabonde? And just like it changed you, it changed my whole generation in Germany - we suddenly questioned our parents about the Nazi times, we would not be still anymore, and the Green Movement started then and became very powerful. I think we here in Europe are much further than the US is. By the way, I read your comment to Snowbrush and could sign every word. We probably tick a lot alike, because of our waking up in the sixties! It always struck me that the US call themselves the Land of the Free, and this is far from the truth. In Germany, very popular people openly say they are homosexuals (the mayors of Berlin and Hamburg, our foreign minister, TV front ladies...) and nobody cares. And something like creationism could NEVER be taught at school. How come these right-wingers have become so powerful? Strange.

Pam said...

A nice journey down the 60's memory lane. I always thought the painted vans groovy and would love to own one even today. You have a wonderful way of taking us back in time, thanks.

Deborah said...

Chére Vagabonde,

I continue to be impressed and admiring of the thought and planning you put into your posts and always come away knowing that I have learned something.

Your commitment to the ideals of the 60s is also admirable, and opens another window into your character. Most enjoyable, interesting and informative - they are like still-picture documentaries, your posts.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely, nostalgic post. I too well remember the sixties. I know all the words to all of the Bob Dylan and Joan Baez songs. I wasn't a hippy. I was busy with college and beginning a career. But I always thought it would have been exciting to have gone to school at Berkley and been a part of the California time.
Sam

sablonneuse said...

WQhat a wonderful post. The video of Imagine brought tears to my eys. If only we could all embrace the vision of the 60's again.

tasteofbeirut said...

Fascinating post and I remember that era and Joan Baez;
I wanted to give you the link (pour que tu ne perdes pas trop de temps a le chercher)
/www.tasteofbeirut.com/2010/01/cheese-cigars-with-beet-greens-rkakat-bel-jebneh/

Bonne journee, bises
Joumana

Darlene said...

The 60's held so much promise and there is one thing did last. It is an awareness that our planet is fragile and we all must strive to make the earth better.

The Reagan presidency and the power of the big corporations destroyed so much that was promising in the 60's and it is harder to get the message across now. But it still survives in the hearts of a few idealists.

Vagabonde said...

Pamela, Angela, Pam, Deborah, My Carolina Kitchen, Sablonneuse and Darlene – I am glad I could take you back to another time. Thanks for your kind visit.

Vagabonde said...

Tasteofbeirut – welcome to my blog. J’espère que tu reviendras quand tu auras du temps.

Vagabonde said...

Claude – merci de ton commentaire. Les guerres sont toujours très tristes, surtout celles qui sont des guerres idéologiques. Merci de ta visite et j’espère que tu passes un bon séjour.

sweffling said...

I am so pleased to have found your blog and to begin with this post. Recently I have been wondering yet again how the people who lived through the late 60s and early 70s could be in power in the 80s and 90s and behave as they did.
Here in the UK we all had free grants to go to college back then, yet those very people were the ones who brought in fees and student loans.
It has done my heart good to hear of you and your friends who have not sold out. Neither did I, but I am thought eccentric and an old hippy by many I know, and sometimes I have felt that very few of us survive!

loveable_homebody said...

Wow, that Monterey line up is amazing! Must have been quite a show... The 60s must have been an exciting, yet difficult time... Thanks for the insight on midwifery, Vietnam war, music and nature.

tasteofbeirut said...

C'est marrant je retrouve ce billet alors que je cherchais autre chose; merci encore pour le clip de Joan Baez; j'aime sa voix, mélodieuse et sincère.
Je suis désolée que tu ne puisses pas te procurer les produits du moyen-orient; je sais que Amazon les vend; je vais peut-être mettre un "store" sur mon site, j'y pense un peu, mais je ne sais pas comment ça va marcher; je vais contacter un gars qui a fait ses preuves a Houston et qui vend en gros et au détail a travers les US

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Ohhhhhh! It is a whole SERIES of posts!!! Oh I am not going to get any work done this afternoon, I guess, lol. :) I'm grinning my head off with how much I love this, VB. :D

That Janis Van up there? I WANT it, lol. Sorry. That's a bit counter to the non-materialistic bent to the post, haha. There's no way I could drive it in Paris, anyway. I guess I'll just admire it from afar. :)

mike peters said...

Hi
We found your blog to be of great interest. First let me explain who we are and then I want to go on to pin point why we took a particular interest in what you had to say.
We are two brothers, one living in the UK (Mike) and the other in the US (Laurence) who have blogged from time to time about the Sixties and even created a website – BabyboomReview, which is now alas no longer but included reviews of books, films, music etc from the era. (The ghost of the site can be found at http://babyboomreview.wetpaint.com/).
Now we are intending to produce an anthology of writing from people like yourself, who lived through the 1960s, in order to create a generational view of the culture and politics of the decade that might be available for our children and grandchildren to read. What makes this project a bit different from the usual historical and often nostalgic look at the past is that we want to encourage our contributors to reflect on why a Sixties` experience was important to them - both then and possibly later.
So, in brief, we are in the process of selecting about 30 to 40 really well-focused bloggers who can provide, as you can, a first-hand personal account of a particular Sixties` moment - whether it be an event, film or album - and say something about its influence on their life and attitudes. Pieces can be up to a maximum of 3,000 words.
Please let us know whether this project appeals to you as soon as possible and don`t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. Our email address is - boomersangle@gmail.com

Mike

RG said...

Thanks for sharing and remembering, least "this" generation forgets.

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