Dear Dirty Hippies, ‘Sorry About That’
Somewhere out there in Scioto County, Ohio, there are some former flower children who wake up in the night screaming about the angry little people. It’s high time I apologized to them.
When I was a little kid back in the early 1970s living in Wayne Hills, my friends and I loved to go climb the tall, wooded hill that loomed over the housing complex. Back in those days, parents actually encouraged you to go play in the woods with the caveat that we should watch out for copperheads and hippies. Hippies, those long-haired, peace-sign flashing, bell-bottomed wearing, pot-smoking symbols of the late 60s and early 70s, seem pretty harmless these days. But back then, we knew to steer clear.
It was a warm spring Sunday. Easter Sunday, as I recall and my two friends and I were decked out in our Easter finery. I had on a linen dress, hat, matching little patent leather shoes and purse. My friend wore a pale blue number with matching shoes and jacket and her little brother had on a red and white striped suit with bowtie and a straw hat. Fashion-wise, we were killing it. As typical in those days, we had been turned outside to play after stuffing our faces with ham and candy. We decided to climb the hill. And not just play in the woods but climb all the way to the top where the radio tower was located. Not an easy climb on a shale hill, but fueled by jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, we made it to the top without incident. However, on the way down, we ran into trouble. Hippies! Those terrifying people our parents warned us about. There was a group of them sitting around a little campfire right in the middle of the way we’d come up. In our minds, they were basically the Manson family. In retrospect, I realize it was about a dozen teenagers playing guitar, drinking beer, and smoking pot.
My friends and I were terrified and these people were camped out in the middle of the only path we knew to get home. So, us girls stuffed our tiny little Easter purses with rocks and our male companion picked up the biggest stick he could find. We decided to go on the offensive. We rushed them with the boy swinging the stick and the girls hurling rocks from our little purses. They were so high they could barely move even as the tiny, angry people attacked. Keep in mind, that he had on a suit and we were wearing little dresses with jackets. Both of us girls had little horn-rimmed glasses. I can still see these poor dazed teenagers trying to figure out why the tiny middle-aged people were stoning them.
We safely made our escape and went on with our lives. Wisely never saying a word to adults since that might have gotten our mountain climbing privileges revoked. In the intervening years, I’ve thought about or victims. I wonder if it made them give up drugs. I wonder if it made them want more drugs.
So, if you are a recently-retired person who has flashbacks to being stoned in the woods by tiny people, I’m here to tell you that it really happened. And I’m sorry. In the words of your generation, “Peace, man. Peace.”
I just hope you’re okay. With love, Boomer.