Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970's. I got dressed for the pic.

Bare Ass Pond-the late 1970’s. I got dressed for the pic.

It wasn’t that long ago…

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home

About 1953 on Long Island outside of our family home-the Northeastern’s blew snow in almost every winter.

Okay, maybe it was a long time ago.  For me, it’s a blink of a memory comprised of forever.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come,,,and that my generation's great dreams may one day melt.

I built snowmen without a hint of what was to come-great dreams for the earth.

Change started massing energy when the Beatle’s sang on Ed Sullivan-those tunes soon morphed into a mud bath called, Woodstock. There were the teachings of tolerance,,, justice, right and wrong, but I think most of all we were taught to hold within each of us a dignity of spirit. Once these ideas were in place, the new world could arrive.

The musical lines gave the message.

Looking back, the festival announcement that the brown acid was bad made the assumption some listeners were still able to discern brown from white, black, green. purple, polka-dotted or blue. We’d stripped  bare to prove the old ways were gone, basic change was here, as fundamental ways of behaving and thinking were dead and gone. The lines between us all had vanished for good.

Conventional laws were taken off and a new course had begun.

Conventional societal mores were cast aside and a new course had begun. Yes, we got naked…(Woodstock)

It’s easy to wonder why any of us thought smoking pot might help the situation we enthusiastically fought to change. You’d think we might have been savvy enough to vote for change, but we’d given up on that. Millions in my generation decided taking it to the streets was the best if not the only way to make change happen. Were we right?

I sang on stage back in the day all about the message-peace, love, freedom and equality.

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School( I'm in the background)

Pete and I started singing the message early on in High School.  ( I’m in the background)

First serious guitar in it's first gold color...

First serious guitar in its first gold color…(I’m 15.) Hopin’ to sing the message.

So, my wheel turns way back, runs through the middle of so much history and arrives here in the closing days of 2016. To be clear-I remember dad getting our first TV, a thing still new to everyone on our block. I went to college when there were no computers, no cells phones but, yes, short dresses and pot but no Aids that we knew. I began to work as a Library Specialist 21 years ago when the Alachua County Library District had acquired only a few computers. My reference work for patrons was done entirely out of books or through phone calls in those earlier years. All the while, I prayed for peace along with so many other Americans.

Today, many feel political drifts forecast a turning away from the sun shining in as we all hoped it might in the 70’s, from the environmental concerns many of us have held for so many years, and from our hope for peace.

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970

Home coming parade. Gainesville, 1970…hmmm, this wouldn’t happen today.

It was once easy for hundreds of Gainesville’s people to strip naked at lime pits and swim with others.

“The year was 1970, and the band was Mudcrutch. Petty sang and played bass alongside Mike Campbell (guitar), Tom Leadon (guitar and vocals), Jim Lenehan (lead vocals) and Randall Marsh (drums).” This is Gainesville in the 70’s, so it doesn’t matter that there are five names and only four people? The main point was in the music.

We shared the understanding that to find the truth of our existence it was necessary to shed the barriers between us and the earth. Open, accepting, and always understanding-Peace was the message. We wanted the naked truth.

1970-gainesville-fl-uf-univ-of-florida-homecoming-parade-press-photo-rkf19999-8e2e3da9b5a6918fa3b501db221baf90

Now? We need to revisit the messages of my generation, to create a solidarity of purpose that keeps America on the right path.  My generation didn’t want the Nam war to go on and we stopped it. Today, we can stop anything as well. The key is to really try, never give up and work harder.

If not ‘Bare Ass’ time, its bare knuckle time. Environmentalists,  humanitarians and lovers of life, it’s time to dress down our opponents. We have to tune up and sing our song louder than false claims, disingenuous motives and misguided hearts can yell. It’s time to dive in and win again.

Franque23

04980017-2

Advertisements