My Summer with the HIPPIES … 1967
In the Spring of 1967 two young Vassar girls showed up at our Real Estate office in Clinton Corners, NY. They, and 4 others, were looking for a place that they could rent for the summer.
My husband and I liked the girls and I wasn’t surprised when he came up with an idea. He was the buyer for a group of nine investors and they had just bought a 300 acre farm in the next county. The old farmhouse on the property was livable but just barely. It had electricity and running water but that was it.
We knew that the girls were strapped for money so he made this proposal to them. We would take $800 for the 8 weeks rental if they would help with emptying, cleaning & painting the inside of the house while they lived there. I would supervise the project and we would work 6 hours every day with weekends off. At the end of the 8 weeks, if they had lived up to their end of the bargain, we would give them their $800 back.
They were ecstatic and we signed papers that day. I had no idea that this was the first link in a chain of events that would provide me with one of the best summers that I would ever know!
A few weeks later the girls moved in. By Monday they had already planted a small garden in the back yard and had jugs of water sitting in the sun, filled with a variety of exotic tea leaves to make “sun tea”. They had also made “house rules” and one of these was that, during the 6 hour work day, each girl would have an hour to play the music of her choice.
For the rest of the summer whenever we were working we would have music. One girl’s dad was an opera singer and she would play the classics. Then it would be Heavy Metal or Rhythm & Blues or The Beatles, or the new sound of Pink Floyd.
We didn’t only listen to the music. We danced our way through the dullness of washing a floor or stripping wallpaper. We’d sing and mimic the artists and we’d talk, talk, talk. I had been out of college for 13 years and it was exhilarating to be back in that milieu. I felt younger than I had for ages.
A few of the stodgy neighbors complained about our “hippie” farm., but we paid little heed to that. The girls were reliable and fun to be with and they put life back into that old farmhouse. By the end of the summer we hated to see them go.
It’s interesting to note that one year later nearly half a million “real hippies” congregated 30 miles north of the property at the Woodstock Festival. It was touted as “a weekend of music, love and peace“...but I’d had my share of that already !