This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of what has become known as “The Summer of Love.” In 1967, my generation – or at least part of it – espoused that hippie philosophy of peace and love. That summer was marked by many gatherings of young people all over the country. These gatherings were called “be-ins.” The biggest one was held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Those of you who are close to my age probably remember the anthem of that summer: “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” Yes, I did wear flowers in my hair that summer. No, I did not go to San Francisco until a few years later and then only for a visit.
However, I have my own little story of what happened that summer. I was in The Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia one day at an impromptu gathering of “flower children.” We were just sitting around the park playing music and singing, celebrating life and the summer weather. The police, however, took exception to what we were doing. We were all arrested for disorderly conduct and hauled off to jail. We all posted bond and were given a court date – all on the same day.
When the court date arrived, we all showed up wearing flowers and carrying flowers. We decorated the courtroom with those flowers. When the judge came in and saw us and the flowers, he smiled. When he heard the charges against all of this and the reason for those charges, he actually busted up laughing. He dismissed the case against all of us and told the policeman to stop harassing us. We had every legal right to congregate in the park and play music and sing as long as we were not charging admission or taking up a collection. A peaceful gathering of people, and that includes hippies, is not disorderly conduct and is not disturbing the peace, and it is not performing without a license. Those were the charges we were facing. He then thanked us for making the courtroom a bright and cheery place. That was 50 years ago and I still have not forgotten what happened that day.
Given the current climate in this country, we could use another summer of blog this year. We could even do it online. I don’t know how many people from 1967 are still into the hippie philosophy of peace and love. I still am. Are you? If you are and are interested in setting up something to celebrate 50 years since the Great Human Be-In of 1967, post a comment here. If there is enough interest, I will see what I can do about setting up something of a celebration. As The Doors said back then, “Let’s get together one more time!”
Peace and love!