Thursday, June 05, 2008

Today Rainey Reminisces. She Then Abandons this Whole Talking about Herself in the Third Person Thing.


She might also spend some time musing about the ridiculousness of the spelling of the word "reminisces", depending on how much time she has.

My father, Sean Connery, was born in Oakland, California and grew up in that general area until sometime in his kidhood. (I'm not the family historian. I can't imagine why). When I was in the 7th grade (I think), Sean and Dame Judi tossed us all in the back of the station wagon like cord wood and we road tripped to California to spend Thanksgiving with daddy's cousins.

The reason I'm no good as a family historian (or even as regards my own personal story) is that I have a cognitive problem that absolutely forbids the retention of details. (This is, I suspect, also one reason I can't write decent fiction). Try as I might, I can't remember much about that trip. I know our grandparents were caravaning with us. I know we ate summer sausage, Tillamook cheese, apples and saltines along the way. (I don't know that we did but since that was the standard road trip menu I can only assume it's so).

Where did we sleep that first night? Surely not in a motel. Maybe with my Auntie N's parents, who lived along the route? Or do I just conjur them because we had sometimes been known to stay with them? How did I get along with the second cousins, (Buck will correct me if I'm wrong about the relationship) the children of my dad's cousin? I vaguely remember not much at all liking the younger children and either loathing or being in awe of the girl that was a few (maybe one) year older than me. I can sorta picture dad's cousin and sorta remember something jovial about him. I can't see his wife at all. I don't remember what we ate, have no memory at all of the actual Thanksgiving dinner (but I could tell you what was on the table because Grandma would have been in charge of that. Or rather, even though she was in someone else's home, Grandma would have taken charge of that.

See how it is? I don't actually think this even qualifies as a reminiscence. But here's the thing: I am oh so foggy on most of the trip but I most certainly remember the day that Sean's family decided to take the kinfolk into San Francisco. We poked around Chinatown (where I tasted candied ginger for the first time) and, most indelibly, we drove through Haight Ashbury. This would have been 1969 so The Haight was still a booming center of all things hippie. And of course, we'd never seen hippies. We'd never seen a lot of things we saw that day. The infant mind reels. We were driving slowly down the thronged street and I remember hippies shoving flyers in through the open back window. There was one in particular; I don't remember the content...could have been an ad for some band or maybe an anti-war message, but I do remember that the art was psychedelic and there was a drawing of a bare breasted woman. Cue the adolescent twittering. (Also cue, as I recall, the outraged parental confiscation of same).

The experience was, oddly, a defining one for me. This was still years from the official "radicalizing" of Lorraine, but the seeds of that consciousness were sown that day. There was something in the spirit of the place, the energy of all those youth...flower children and peace lovers and free thinkers...that didn't jibe with the calm narrowness of my real life but it was somehow compelling. I never became a full-fledged hippie...wouldn't have been allowed anyway...but certainly something about the culture started seeping in. I fell in love with the art of Peter Max and with the music of the time. I couldn't listen to rock and roll growing up but to the degree that it was sanitized for my protection (appearances by artists on Ed Sullivan and other variety shows), I accessed it and ate it up.

Of course, I was too young and too naive to know about the dark side of hippiedom...the drugs and the free love (because love, my friends, simply ain't free)...that would all come later. But for a moment I got an uncomfortable but thrilling look at the "counterculture" and I kinda liked it.

Anypatchouli, I have every intention of taking The Child to the Haight when we are in the Bay Area next week. Even though it is more gentrified than bohemian now, I want her to see a place that represents a defining period for American culture and pour moi. And maybe I can score some love beads.

Don't know if there will be a Friday video next week, what with the whole "being on the road and begging Sling to put his shirt on" thing but I've been saving this video for a while in anticipation of Lorraine, Hat and The Child's Big Road Trip of '08. Dig the harmonies, the go go boots and the totally random bathtubs.

Peace.

video

The Mamas and The Papas "California Dreamin'"

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15 Comments:

Blogger Kimberly Ann opined...

I love this post, m'dear. Yes, I'm a hippie wannabe (just the good stuff, not the icky) and I can imagine how transformative that car ride through HA would have been for a young Rainey.

Mamas and the Papas rock my world. I think Cass Elliot was a genius and it makes me sad to think of the lost music that died with her.

Some experiences just change who we are - good or bad. Wouldn't it be cool (er..groovy) if you could find that poster that came into your car?

(By the way, have you seen Recount on HBO yet? If not, you gotta. I cried for 10 minutes at the end when Gore conceded.)

June 06, 2008 8:23 AM  
Blogger Leah opined...

This song gets me through the my long dark winters. Also-I love the term "counter culture" for some reason. It gives me goosebumps.

June 06, 2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger Buck opined...

I love this post, too.
I'm so envious of you, getting to go to The Haight in '69. Even though you and I were kids at the time, I'm enamoured with All Things Hippie.

Be sure and take a pic of you on the corner of Haight and Ashbury while you're there. I'd love that.

And yes, the children of your dad's cousin are your second cousins. You nailed it.

Did I ever tell you how groovy you are?. . .

June 06, 2008 9:39 AM  
Blogger LostInCO opined...

I didn't get the gals dancing in the bathtubs??? that was wierd. But like the song. Yup, I am California Dreamin' fer sure.

June 06, 2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger Auld Hat opined...

I.Am.Flipping.Out.
(happy bathtub dance)

June 06, 2008 10:18 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

I do that bathtub dance as often as I can...it makes me giddy.

You girls will have a blast in SF...I love "the city".

June 06, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

KA, I think many of us of a certain generation have a smidge of hippie in us, whether we realize it or not. And it would be super groovy if I found that poster...I'm sure I'd know it if I saw it!

Haven't seen "Recount" (no premium cable) but it's on the Netflix list. I'll lay in some tissue.

Leah, right? I've always loved it. The Spouse, The Neighbor and I always team up on it on karaoke nights.

Buck, that and seeing U2 during their "War" tour are two of the coolest things about my life. At least, that I can remember. You're pretty groovy, too, man.

Lost, what's too get, honey? It was the 60's. Things were random and you just had to dig it, man.

I knew you'd like it, Hat. We have to totally practise our go go dancing before we go go.

Of course you do, Sage. I'm sure our time in the city (cue the Journey) will be awesome, tarnished only by the fact of you not being there with us.

June 06, 2008 11:09 AM  
Blogger Speck opined...

Oooohhh. The Child needs go-go boots for her venture to The Haight. One must have the proper wardrobe to fully understand the culture. Plus, they're neato.

Does anybody else think Denny Doherty looks like jp??? (but without the braces???)

June 06, 2008 11:49 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Speck, kinda! I can see it. Of course, JP is way, way cuter, with or without braces but yeah, Denny's got a distinctly JP sort of vibe. JP kinda moves like that when he's singing, too. Or when he's drinking beer.

June 06, 2008 2:41 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

I was a stone hippie freak!
Yep.
Bell bottom,sandal wearin',black light posters and beads in the doorway drop out..
Good times.
Plus!..I had this very tune on 45. :)

June 06, 2008 4:25 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

I'm a hippie wannabe, too!

So when Iwanski and I were in San Francisco and headed to the Haight, I was SO excited! But aside from the baristas at a coffee shop with vegan cookies, I don't remember there being very many hippie types about. It was a little disappointing.

I hope you see lots of hippies and cool stuff when you're there!! Be sure to keep us posted!! :)

June 06, 2008 6:31 PM  
Blogger jp opined...

Thank you for coming to my defense on that one, Lorraine. [scribbles down note to self never to wear hair like that.]

June 06, 2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger Speck opined...

Awww jp, that wasn't a shot at you. I meant you are both cute and huggable and lovable and wildly talented. And you would still be all those things even with a bad haircut. :)

June 06, 2008 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Ba Ha Ha Ha (Note no w)

Hhhmmm. Once one always one. Anyway, there was a funeral for the hippies in 1966. Yes my dear all gone by the time you got there. Those were flower children of the love generation. Such as myself. Huge differences between them.

Now as for Mama Cass and the bathtubs. The cover of their most poplular album was them all in the same bathtub laying and sitting down. Very crowded.

May have had something to do with one of their most notorious experiences with a QUART of liquid acid. Yes my dear enough to raise a small city.

However, those things said, we would almost certainly not be worrying about our worlds climate, bloods and crips,or perhaps even about genocides or ethnic cleansing had they indeed been considered flower children of the love generation rather than "hippies". I most certainly hope and pray (did you know that was a period in time of the greatest religous revivealism in recent history)(not happy with that not a lit major) that when refering to me you have never called me a hippie. But its ok, if you did. You try.

Thanks for blogging so I can write a bit too. It really is appreciated.

Peace

:+}

June 06, 2008 11:27 PM  
Blogger Mom opined...

Great song. Great memories.
have a wonderful trip.

June 07, 2008 12:49 PM  

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