Monday, November 20, 2006

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 !

14 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's quite a juxtaposition: so near Woodstock in geography and time.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were awesome days! I remember them well. One night, we drove all the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco to hang out in Haight-Ashbury for the weekend. That would have been a good thing ~ except for the fact that we were only 16! LOL I think we were all grounded for the "summer of love".


Peace,

~Chani

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were awesome days, indeed! Thank you for touching the place in my heart where those memories live. Peace!

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

I just knew you were going to say they ended up having Woodstock there. Sounds like you all were simply a small sampling of what was to come the following year.

A real, live premonition perhaps?

8:08 AM  
Anonymous claude said...

A great story!

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story, Ginnie. What a wonderful summer that must have been!
I spent a summer travelling around the UK on my 50cc moped, following the free festivals, as they were then, and loved every moment! Great memories...thanks so much for sharing this story & reminding me! :)

8:50 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

The title just drew me in. I can almost see you all dancing! I miss those days of innocence and play myself.

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juxtapose - - great word today, especially in relation, as 'amvilcloud' puts it, "so near Woodstock in geography ant time." Love it, great story of a memory. Thanks for sharing.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this story a lot. That was such a different time! What a great summer. We moved to Madison, Wisconsin (the Berkley of the Mid-West that year). I was 8 at the time, but I can still remember so many details. I remember it as a very wholesome time.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

Ah, in 1967 I had left the Haight Ashbury and returned to college, a mother of two. Being a hippy was part of my past, but having friends who sitll were hippies was very real.

As I remember being in the movement, we did a lot of communal work, the women more than the men, who liked to sit around and make important pronouncements -- and, years later, when I read about a group of British poets who intended to start a colony in New England not long after the sailing of the Mayflower, and how the wives decided that they didn't want to be chopping wood and hauling water while the men sat around and created new philosophies, I recognized the pattern.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I must say...you've had some incredible life experiences and I'm so glad that you share them here with us.
What a great experience this must have been for you. As in all of your stories, I felt like I was right there with you.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Mama P said...

That's a great story. It reminds me of a book I read... arggg... the name escapes me but I loved it. It was about a woman who is married and finds an old flame that brings her back to a time in her life where she lived in a boarding house... before the kids, before the responsiblilites... I'll try to remember and email you. And hey, it's not too late to get that sports car!

4:37 PM  
Blogger Mama P said...

PS: Found you through Pam's blog.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

That is a cool.. er.. groovy.. story! Thanks for sharing in the blogosphere!

11:05 PM  

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