The Day I Stopped Being a “Hippie” Daughter

As usual, this is inspired by something my internet boyfriend wrote.

I matured in the late  ’60s and early ’70s. Like most of the kids who grew up in that era, I was very much into the culture of the time. My hair was long and straight, parted in the middle. I wore granny glasses, granny dresses and patched my blue jeans carefully with embroidered stitches. I loved (and still do) the music of the time – Jimi Hendrix, Janis, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane. I longed to go to Woodstock, but I was only 12 at the time. My dad was in Viet Nam that year and I was expected to help my mother with the four younger sibs.

When I graduated from high school, I was briefly married, traveled to Europe, and eventually  floated back. My lifestyle could best be described as alternative. There was a couple of years spent at a university, but I soon ran out of money. Jobs came and went, and I wasn’t really enthused about anything except making just enough money to live on and party with on the weekends.

Even into my late 20s, my father referred to me as his “hippie” daughter. One younger sister was a wife and mother and pretty stable. Another graduated from college and worked in an art gallery in LA. My brother managed to purchase three houses, work as a chef in a trendy Denver restaurant, and somehow finish college and graduate school. In comparison, I was living paycheck to paycheck in an old Victorian house converted into apartments.

One day, I tried for and got a job working for a government agency. This was a very well paying job. I was not only getting a good salary, I was making a ton of money in overtime.

My father still referred to me as his “hippie” daughter. I didn’t mind the term too much, because I associated pleasant memories with that time when I was growing up. Inside, I still think I retain some of my “hippie-ness.” However, he didn’t mean the term as one of endearment. This was somewhat irritating, because I know that he presumed that I wasn’t doing very well financially. The rub was that he thought I was fiscally irresponsible. One day, during a visit back home, I shared with him exactly how much money I was making in a year.

That was the day I stopped being his “hippie” daughter.


6 Responses

  1. How odd.

    My parents weren’t hippies. But, I remember hippies passing through our house and sleeping where there was room.

    They did like peace. They liked folk music more than rock and roll. They didn’t ever say anything negative about hippies.

  2. Funny. I lived through those times, too. I remember the music and the clothes. I remember Woodstock. I had three older brothers that “brought home” the customs and quirks of the day.

    I do remember that in my family the term “hippie” was not an endearment. It was said with disgust as it caught in the mouth.

    I wasn’t ever called a hippie. Right now though, it’s looking pretty good to me.

  3. Corina, I think it’s looking good to me too. I think of those times as me being more in tune with society than kids are now. What’s wrong with being concerned about the environment and war? What’s wrong with wanting to connect with nature and the arts?

    Hippies these days (the current ones) get a bad rap, because most are lazy, don’t work and smell bad. I don’t ever remember smelling bad when I was a hippie. I liked taking baths.

  4. Ha! Way to tell your dad.

  5. I thought I wouldn’t be here tonight but I am.

    A fair number of the hippies that I know and hang out with only smell a bit bad when we’re camping. But, they don’t smell as bad as the non-hippies ’cause they know how to camp and where to find showers (though they smell a bit bad ’cause when camping, showering only every other day is forgivable).

    And, I think that you’ve nailed exactly the right thing that was and is good about hippies: caring about war and the environment and connecting with nature and the arts. I think a whole bunch of that has become more acceptable to the mainstream and part of that is because of hippies and ex-hippies who have memories. There is a thing that does sometimes disturb me with hippies. That is incoherent caring. But, incoherency is everywhere. I should just mellow out about it.

  6. I’m impressed how succintly you were able to change his impression. Making any headway with my father at this point would take an an act of God: A catastrophe or a miracle.

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