Throwback Thursday: hippies rule!

It may be entirely redundant, considering I live in Santa Cruz, to point out that I used to be a hippie.  However, I thought you might like to see how very long that has been the case.  This taken in 1971, when I was taking my first classes in religious studies at West Valley College in Campbell, California. (What looks like licorice or a bruised face is, I fear, merely a smudge on the print.)Laurie 1970


Throwback Thursday: what were you doing in 1971?

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  1. Jan Collins on August 27, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Our birthday is coming up, I think I’m a day older than you….in 1971, I was also a hippy, living on Cape Cod. That summer, I hitch hiked to Salt Lake City on a dare. I met and discussed zen macrobiotics with Peter Frampton after a Humble Pie concert. I had my own little apartment. I worked at Dunkin Donuts on Sea St. in Hyannis and made sure the street kids had at least a donut to eat now and then. I spent my time going to hear folk music in little churches. I got “kidnapped” by 4 guys from Penn State. I knew one of them. They came into the folk club where I was, threw me over a shoulder, said we’re going to Noby Scoby to see the Bay of Fundy and we want you to come with us! They bought me a new toothbrush, and off we went in a 1940’s panel truck. We only made it as far as Jonesport, on the Maine coast, before before we broke down and spent a week in a camp ground waiting for a part from Bangor. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I have recently reconnected with the guys on fb and taken a nostalgic trip to Jonesport! I wouldn’t trade 1971 for anything!

  2. Merrily Taylor on August 27, 2014 at 5:56 am


    We all looked like that then – of course not having such a magnificent mane of hair as yours, I chopped mine off some time ago. Sometime will have to dig up a picture of myself taken around the same time (long hair and very short skirts!)
    Power to the People!

  3. Jan Collins on August 27, 2014 at 5:58 am

    By the way, apart from your hair color, you haven’t changed a bit!

  4. Lloyd Russell on August 27, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I was going to Cal and doing my 5-month Army Reserve duty so that I could stay out of Vietnam. My draft lottery number was 152, which was too low to take a chance that I would be missed.

  5. Diana on August 27, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I was riding my bike, running through the woods, swinging, playing marbles, kickball, red rover, swimming in Meisenbach pond, building forts, raiding orchards and whatever else I did as an 11 year old growing up on a military base surrounded by German countryside. 🙂

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

      Oh, remember Red Rover? Incredibly dangerous–I remember a neighbor who flipped right over and landed on her back on the concrete, fortunately just had the breath knocked out of her. How did any of us survive childhood?

  6. Laurie Crist on August 27, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Just missed you by two years: in 1973 I was at West Valley College trying to convince myself that chemistry classes were a good thing.

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Chemistry classes are always a good thing. Wish I’d taken a few, I might know what Mary Russell is talking about sometimes…

  7. Linda Sperry on August 27, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Wow, Jan, what a story! Thanks for sharing it!
    I agree- You, Laurie, look the same except for hair color. I totally “get” the big glasses!
    Alas, at age 14 for most of 1971, I was a mere hippie wannabe. I did make Love and Peace necklaces out of beads and tied my very long hair back with those pieces of leather with 2 holes that you put a short stick into.
    I yearned for bell-bottom hip-huggers and finally got a pair- they had dark blue silhouettes of hippopotami on a denim blue background! I loved them! (My daughter made me a patchwork quilt recently with many “old” squares of cloth I’d forgotten I’d given her, including pieces of my hippo pants!)
    Besides being 14 , I lived in a tiny Adirondack town with very limited TV and radio reception, so I only had a vague idea of what was happening in the rest of the world. Vietnam and the Beatles, for instance. I’m still catching up… (And my hair is still blond and very long.)

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Linda, I was pretty much the only hippie in Franklin Pierce high school in Tacoma, WA. Got the most interesting offers from other students…

    • Jan Collins on August 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Thanks Linda! I think LIFE magazine was how I’d gotten the biggest sense of what was going on in the world. My parents subscribed. There was an article on Hippy’s a few years prior to ’71, and I knew that was the way I wanted to go, because I wasn’t too good at being the daughter my mother wanted where everything matched! It’s important to know too, that for every cool thing, there was always a flip side. Hitch hiking while it got me where I wanted to go, and was, perhaps, marginally less dangerous back then, was not real bright! I often think it’s a wonder I’m still here! Sure would like to have seen those hippo bell bottoms!

  8. Alice Wright on August 27, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Oh my, in 1971 I was working away in an accounting department trying to do the bunny dip in very short skirts while I filed in that bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. I had the long hair, but wasn’t a hippie. I met my husband in June of 1971, we have been married 41 yrs now.

    How the time files, and you haven’t changed, Laurie.

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Alice, bet your hair was gorgeous!

  9. Grant Goggans on August 27, 2014 at 8:09 am

    In 1971, I was still sleeping, mostly. I was born later in the year; my mother missed seeing David Janssen in an episode of “O’Hara, U.S. Treasury” that evening.

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      How our mothers suffered…

  10. Wendy Martin on August 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Same things I wore when I moved there in ’74.

  11. Bill Edwards on August 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Hope we won’t be all posting photos from the 70s. We weren’t all as cute as Ms King! I was a grubby grad student in CS trying to finish a dissertation and unable to think hip.


    • Merrily Taylor on August 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Aw, I bet you were cute, Bill…

    • Laurie King on August 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      ‘Sokay, Bill: my boyfriend at the time was a button-down Lutheran seminarian.

  12. Dion Downs on August 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    1971 was sort of a strange year for me, one of transitions and some trauma. I was indeed a hippie, doing graduate work and teacher preparation at what was then called “Granola State” (AKA Sonoma State University). It was also called “Berkeley North” because a large number of us furry folk had fled a deteriorating scene in Berkeley for the rural life of the Wine Country (actually, most of what I saw then were cattle). I was teaching part-time, but there was a general layoff of not-yet-credentialled teachers because of a decline in enrollment (the pause between the boomers and Gen-Xers). Suddenly the responsibility for supporting my parents was given to me because of my father’s illness. The only job I could find in the area that paid more than the minimum wage was as a member of the State College police (yeah, I know; some hippie/radical). Well, I didn’t abandon the practice of my political beliefs, but I did have to cut my hair. I drew the line at my beard, though, and served most of my term there wearing it. In July, the combination of both taking and teaching classes and working all night on patrol, finally took its toll. I fell asleep at the wheel going home from a class one warm summer noon, and my little green ’67 Beetle completely totalled a Buick. The Beetle could be driven away, except the windshield was gone from where my head went through it, but the big Buick was toast. No, I hadn’t been smoking anything, thought the cops who came to the scene thought I was on an acid trip or something because I was wandering around the road with a piece of steering wheel in my hand bleeding profusely from a carved-up chin and mumbling nonsense. i don’t reall remember any of this — the cops were kind enough to fill me in about it a few days later. And so my academic career began winding down, and an ill-starred 7-year career in Law Enforcement began. i used to joke that I found teaching too brutal and violent so I sought out the refuge of police work. Now I’m retired from working in Silicon Valley as a software engineer and I’m teaching again: Computers 4 Seniors at the county senior centers. Life is a big circle.

  13. Christine on August 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    In 1971 my family had just moved from the west side of Chicago just 2 miles to the suburb of Oak Park. I hated changing schools in 8th grade, but after years of Catholic school education, to have PE, Art, Music, English, Language Arts, Typing, Home Ec., etc was just amazing. I, too, was a hippie wannabe and still remember the Earth Day flag I made as a batik project in art. Glad I am old enough to remember the 60’s. We need another movement to get the U.S. back to providing “liberty and justice for all”.

  14. Kristin on August 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    In summer of 1971, I and my mother went to Ireland, England and Scotland on a 3 week tour with an Edinboro Penn. college group. I was inspired to repeat the tour and spent the following school year planning a 5 week tour for my mother, brother and myself in 1972. I spent so much time mentally in England the 1971-1972 school year that I remember very little about what I must have taught. My “hippie” year was 1966, when I lived in Munich and hitch-hiked around Germany and Austria with an Australian friend. Wonderful experiences all.

  15. Shira Goodman on August 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    In 1971, I was studying for my bat mitzvah, which I had in January 1972. UGH! It was so boring and tedious! I really didn’t appreciate how special this rite of passage was until I began teaching Hebrew School 30 years later! But I did love learning to read and write in Hebrew. And, in 7th grade, I was into my 2nd year of learning French, which I also loved. Parlez-vous français?

  16. Leilani on August 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I was living i British columbia on a commune beyond the Gang Ranch 56 miles from Clinton with a baby and no running water.and I kissed the ground when i made it back to California.

  17. Patricia Mathews on August 28, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I was raising small children – aged 5 and 3.

  18. Gail Wood on August 28, 2014 at 6:10 am

    I was a senior in high school. I was sick a lot that year and missed out on most of the senior year festivities. I really didn’t become a hippie until much later. About five years ago, my then new supervisor (about 10 years younger) asked me if I had been a hippie when I was young. I hesitated since I was very boring in the 1970s. A long timer co-worker quipped, “She’s more of a hippie now than when she was younger.” So insightful and true.

    Age brings a lot of freedom that I didn’t feel as a young adult and I am embracing it with flowers in my hair and a tambourine in my hand!

    • Laurie King on August 28, 2014 at 8:10 am

      Remember never trusting anyone over 30? Those young things didn’t have a clue as to how anarchic old folks can be!

      • Merrily Taylor on August 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

        So true, Laurie, we have reached the age of “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn WHAT people think!”
        Since trends tend to hit Florida about three years after everywhere else, I didn’t become even an aspirational hippy until the early 70’s, by which time I was already working as a librarian. However, I did have long, straight hair, wore granny dresses (alternating with miniskirts) and horrified the library director by wearing weird shades of nail polish – yellow, green, etc. Probably a good thing that tattoos weren’t “in” then, I’m sure I would have gotten one.

  19. Vanessa Heron on August 28, 2014 at 7:08 am

    I was three years old, living in England in the countryside, in a black and white cottage with an outside toilet. When are you writing your autobiography, Laurie? I, for one would love to read it. I’ve just re-read Pirate King, Garment of Shadows and Justice Hall on holiday in Paxos, Greece. I’d forgotten how good Justice Hall was. There was a wooden two masted ‘pirate ship’ in the harbour on the last day. Made my holiday!

  20. Kathy Reel on August 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

    In August of 1971, I was starting my senior year in high school, and I was still pretty much under the influence of parents and high school teachers. I didn’t start achieving my hippie days until the following year when I started college. It’s funny the things you remember. My sister and I bought a top together that was in the “hippy” style and took turns wearing it, but it ended up going to college with me and staying. I loved that top. No surprise that my mother thought it a bit radical.

  21. Lenore on August 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I was in law school in 1971 and not loving it so much. (Happily, being a lawyer turned out to be better than studying to be one.) I also got married in December of 1971, and that’s still going on very nicely!

  22. Jessara on August 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    In 1971, my (then) husband completed his third tour in Vietnam and got out of the Army. He wanted chrome and glass, and a docile, stay-at-home wife, who would greet him with a Scotch when he returned from his executive labors. What he had was a repairman job with Ma Bell, a furnished apartment with no a/c, and a scholarship college student feminist wife, who began her own career in civil service and retired 36 years later. The marriage ended, but my career took me travelling all over Europe. Alas, I didn’t have a backpack, but rental cars and hotel rooms have their own charms. Now I grow flowers and herbs, wear sandals and jeans, and don’t fight my curly hair. Life is good.

  23. Laraine on August 28, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    In ’71, I had moved in my second year of college from walking past demonstrations to participating in them, and from dayglo pant suits to overalls and peasant blouses, with hair way past my waist. But, I still was so darned ‘clean’ in spirit and appearance, despite my hippy-ish lifestyle, that I was always the one who would go in first to a truckstop or cafe or hotel, to see whether my companions would be attacked or thrown out on their ears for daring to set hiking booted feet in the establishment. I was pretty fearless for a relatively sheltered child, and took great glee in the intelligence and willingness to defy ‘the system’ of my hippy pals. They have (all but one, whose political history we won’t discuss here) become wonderful contributing members of society in the intervening years. Perhaps we need another summer of love . . . .

    • Merrily Taylor on August 29, 2014 at 5:48 am

      Laraine, I think the whole world could use another summer of love!

  24. Chris on August 29, 2014 at 3:21 am

    I started infant school and kicked someone on the nose on my first day (unintentionally. I was 5 years old. Aggression came later, but I read crime novels instead!!!)


  25. Rayleen Weed on August 29, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Alas, in 1971 there were another 27 years until my existence, however my mother would have been just 1 year old. That’s a strange thought 🙂 In any case, I’m enjoying reading all of your stories!

  26. Meredith Taylor on August 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    By 1971 I had very long hair and lots of warm clothes: moved to the University of Montana. People muttered at me in the grocery due to the long granny skirt. Love the print, don’t you miss prints like that!?

  27. Catherine Wedge on August 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    In the summer of 1971 i had been married for two years. We had “dropped out” of our former lifestyles as Account Executive (he) and student (me) and he had refused induction into Army. We decided to wait out the arrival of the federal marshal since his (my husband’s) bid for status as a Conscientious Objector had been denied by his draft board. The day was coming when they were going to take him to a federal penitentiary as a felon, they told us.

    Thanks to a wonderful ‘pro bono’ attorney who happened to meet an official at a cocktail party (irony of ironies) the day we waited for never came. All was forgiven and my husband received a 1-H in the mail early in 1972.

    I was working in a nursing home as an aide, he in the same place boning chickens. We had little money and I think that was the summer our student friends fed us on a regular basis.

    Life on the edge is not always the stuff of thrillers. Sometimes life takes those turns.

  28. scottygrrl on September 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    In those days I was a young teen with long hair who liked sewing peasant blouses and embroidering my jeans. I especially enjoyed reading in the bathtub while listening to Carole King, and would dream about being in love and becoming a famous writer.

  29. Beth Jersey on September 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    I, too, was a hippie, and lived in Berkeley in 1971 (I was 16). One of my favorite outfits was a “butterfly” pants and top outfit that was accordion-folded gauzy cloth that opened when I raised my arms to become “wings.” I wore it at the second wedding of my dad, who was also a hippie. In fact, he was the “Head Hippie,” so-named by the local sheriffs when he was filming in the south one summer. His crew were filming an anti-drunk driving message when the local cops arrived, accused them of something or other and called him the “Head Hippie.” Word got back to the Holiday Inn where he was staying, and when they returned that evening the marquee at the hotel read “Holiday Inn, Home of the Head Hippie.”



    • Merrily Taylor on September 15, 2014 at 5:55 am

      Beth, I had a lot of those tops, loved them, and also these little dresses with empire waists and sleeves similar to the ones you describe – the hem, of course, barely covered one’s tush. We called them “angel dresses” because of the winged sleeves. Of course they were some sort of lurid polyester.
      Doubtless they’ll be back and Retro at any minute!

  30. Margaret Laing on August 28, 2022 at 10:26 am

    I spent most of 1971 as a sickly seven-year-old, wondering what exotic things the babysitters would be up to next. I love ’60s and ’70s ballads — I had my rock and roll phase as a little rebellion from my high-school music practice, but in the late ’90s, a co-worker said “If it doesn’t have a cello part, you don’t like it much, do you?” Well, no. But music is my “not another word” pastime — like someone else who retreats to “violin-land” sometimes.

    • Laurie King on August 28, 2022 at 12:50 pm

      Yes, not a load of cello parts in 70s rock music.

  31. Lisa Masoni on August 28, 2022 at 11:43 am

    In 1971 I made a road trip from UC Berkeley to the east coast in an unairconditioned VW bug. I didn’t mind, but it was pretty hard on my mother, who was 5 months pregnant with me.

    • Laurie King on August 28, 2022 at 12:51 pm

      I drove a 1935 Chevy for a while, whose “air conditioning” was a vent pushed open that directed air onto your feet.

  32. James Rendón on August 30, 2022 at 9:36 am

    In 1971 I was still wondering if the Viet Nam war was going to continue and that I would be drafted. As a child born in the Haight-Ashbury you can imagine my orientations and points of view regarding that. quickly I would like to add that I’m very much a fan and want to say thank you because every one of your novels save one or two has been signed by you personally in my presence. ❤️ 📚

    • Laurie King on August 31, 2022 at 8:20 pm

      Thank YOU, for your long history with LRK!

  33. Roz Spafford on August 31, 2022 at 2:47 am

    What a great collection of narratives! In 1971, I worked for the Farmworkers Union as part of my field study at Merrill College/UCSC; once I finished my thesis (incredibly, on fruit and vegetable processing in California vis a vis the labor movement), I spent some months at a loss, looking for what was next. Teaching and writing turned out to be the answer, though it was a circuitous ride to get there. I don’t know that I was ever a hippie, exactly, except for the clothes (which I would happily wear again); I was too driven to put in the requisite hours of hanging out!

    • Laurie King on August 31, 2022 at 8:22 pm

      Roz, I love seeing your name show up on the comments this week–real old home week!

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