First let me clear up a few misconceptions about what a hippie is. Long hair does not make a hippie. There are plenty of long haired rednecks now. Hippie Clothes don’t make a hippie and the use of drugs definitely doesn’t make you a hippie. Being a hippie had nothing to do with being rebellious. Native Americans would say it’s tafunka (a way of life). It’s a matter of respect. Respect for others and their rights to be who they are. Respect for the Earth and all that dwell on it. It’s even a respect for yourself. Allowing yourself to be who you are.
I’m not real sure when you might say I became a hippie. It kind of snuck up on me. There is a strong possibility I was a hippie years before I knew it. When I was a kid in Cub Scouts I was a member of something called Indian guide. We actually sat around in a circle wearing head bands with feathers and our fathers taught us the Indian ways. Later in the Boy Scouts I joined The Order of the Arrow which was another group dedicated to Indian ways. We learned conservation and respect for nature. When we camped, we always left the place cleaner than it was when we came. It was probably during this time period that I first heard the term Mother Earth. I was never a hunter. I could never bring myself to kill another living thing for sport. I’ve always had this thing about the mistreatment of animals and a strong fascination for nature.
I remember the first time someone called me a hippie. I was a freshman in college (1966) and after four years of dress codes in high school suddenly I was free. I let my hair grow and wore cutoffs and sandals to class. Not for any sense of protest but just because I could. At the time there still weren’t too many of us at this school and we did stand out some. A fellow student (female) approached me one day and said “you’re a hippie aren’t you”. I had never thought about it before but at that moment something in the way she said it made me say “yeah I’m a hippie”. Well let me tell you, I had watched the bad boy biker types in high school always with women around them and wondered what the attraction was. All of a sudden I was a bad boy. The guy her father warned her about. I was a hippie.
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