What I Might Have Been

Back of the Queue

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to starting (an activity, a hobby, or anything else, really)? Tell us about it — and tell us about what’s keeping you from doing it.
(Thanks, Rocky, for inspiring today’s prompt!)

There are many things I would have liked to do – become an English Professor at some Ivy League University, or a successful novelist living on a comfortable boat in Tampa Bay. Either, or both, were achievable.

Or, I could have been a Hippy.

However, I was already committed to other, more serious missions – the Air Force and a family – by the time the Hippy movement got underway. But that didn’t keep me from watching their progress, because Oregon, the place I called home, had their share of them.

Eugene, Oregon embarked on urban renewal in the mid-1960s. It was a dim-witted project that sent the larger stores – Penny’s, Sears, Woolworth, and a host of others – fleeing to the suburbs, killing downtown.

Just off the downtown core stood the Park Block. It was a comfortable, shaded place to while away an hour watching people or feeding the pigeons. To enhance this quaint spot the city built a large fountain. It wasn’t a geyser. Instead it was a gentle, bubbler that fed water onto a flat area some sixty feet in circumference. The day it was finished the Hippies came down from the hills with their soap.

Eugene, always a liberal town, sent their police out to discourage this performance, but there were too many Hippies.

Residents were outraged and flooded the Eugene Register-Guard with letters to the editor, voicing their objections. The editor did his duty, adding additional pages, publishing them by the hundreds. But nothing seemed to detour the Hippies.

The letters were published over such an extended period, I wondered if anyone was still reading them.

One citizen had a different point of view and said as much. “I see nothing wrong with what the Hippies are doing,” he stated. “In fact, one Saturday I bought burgers for the occasion. Then I took my children to the park and watched the Hippies bath while my son and daughter masticated.”

Indeed, folks were still reading the letters.

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13 thoughts on “What I Might Have Been

  1. How come? might have been. I know I was one and I know I still is.
    I have a feeling not me myself that others think there is something bad about it. I think I do sometimes. I’m sure you can have a hippy family but I don’t the air wants that ass ociation.

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  2. I really enjoyed your post. It reminded me of when I went to the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1971. In one town a young girl talked about how the hippies had stripped naked in the car wash to take their baths. I always assumed that was a rumor, but who knows.

    BTW I wrote my Writing 101 Assignment #20 post on hippies.

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    • Thank you very much. I doubt the car wash bathing was a rumor. They startled a lot of people, but they were good folks. Driving down the Interstate it wasn’t uncommon to see them sitting against a sign post with a guitar singing the day away, pausing only to flash me a peace sign.

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  3. I like this. It was funny. It also reminds me if the first time my family went to New York City when I was a young teen. While watching the skaters at Rockefeller Center a man stated to bathe in a fountain. Then the police showed up and gently escorted him away.

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