Life Here

December 19, 2017 By Ian Lanouette

A Journey Back in Time

Loud psychedelic music, tie-dyed t-shirts, bellbottom jeans, posters advertising Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead at Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, and love-ins at Golden Gate Park. Wow. Does any of that cause flashbacks for you? Do you remember where you were in the summer of 1967, a time that came to be known as the Summer of Love?

Well, for me, it was an era that I would learn about third-hand. Like many living here at Paradise Valley Estates, I was serving in the U.S. military—in my case, on a Navy ship that was on station in the Tonkin Gulf. The Summer of Love was nowhere on our radar screens. We were the unappreciated. Our service to our country was ridiculed and disparaged. We were the unloved.

This summer, I donned my Vietnam veteran ball cap and boarded the PVE bus for a trip to the de Young Museum to see The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. The posters, the photographs, and the clothing displays brought back many memories—not of the summer of 1967, but of 1968 and subsequent years when I returned to UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. The Summer of Love may have ended, but the posters, clothing, protests, and the psychedelic music were still in vogue. Surprisingly, my ball cap brought no comments from others at the museum that day. Many visitors were foreigners who were agog at the exhibit. Younger people marveled at the exhibits and had no real appreciation for the era that it represented. Perhaps others just wanted to leave any unpleasant memories behind.

The exhibit was a really fascinating look at a unique time period in our history from the point of view of the period’s counterculture youth—and those who grew to be our friends and neighbors today. This journey back into the past was quite a head-trip indeed!


Want to receive a monthly round-up of our most popular posts?