Becoming a True Hippie

San Francisco. Flower power. Ballrooms. Music. Hippies. San Francisco 1963. I made a necklace of bells and beads that was probably the best in the city…glass beads from Italy and Spain and France and Indian beads, both American and Eastern, and all kinds of brass bells. You could hear me coming for blocks away. In fact, I worked for a doctor (who was just waiting to become a hippie himself) and he always said that he could hear me coming to work clear down the hall. I bet you that necklace weighed a good three pounds. And I loved it. To be truthful, I always loved the sound of spurs. Whenever I saw a cowboy movie I always listened for the spurs when the cowboys walked and I think my necklace was a replacement for those spurs. Crazy, eh? That necklace, to me, officially made me a hippie. So how did I get from that necklace to rock ‘n roll.

I remember once going to the Avalon Ballroom in late 1965 or early 1966.   I remember wearing a very conservative suit (except that it was blazing pink) with my 3 pound necklace, walking in to this atmosphere that I could never ever have imagined as existing – it was like walking into a cave that with loud music everywhere, with no white lights burning overhead but with flashing strobes and colored roving spotlights instead (oil light shows were yet to come) and people dressed in a way that I had never seen…flowing gowns, sheer negligees, colors colors colors everywhere (my pink suit blended right in) – shoes, sandals, bare feet, and bells – yes, bells – everywhere – and tambourines and everyone moving, dancing by themselves, but movement everywhere and face painting and I sat against one of the back walls and just observed this wonderful madness – there is no other word I can use – it was an expanded sense of wonderful imaginative madness.   And when I left the Avalon – I was never quite the same person I had been when I walked in. I was becoming who I was meant to be.

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