I’ve been in San Francisco for over a week now and have been living near Haight Ashbury which I’ve only driven through previously. In any event I looked it up in Wikipedia and 1967’s Summer of Love was quite a production with 100,000 odd people turning up and living from hand to mouth and from joint to joint until things fell apart all within a few blocks of the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for things to fall apart.
In any event I came to the US for most of 1967 but lived in North Carolina where they were having something rather different – a summer of lynching. Well, I exaggerate. But they weren’t having a Summer of Love.
In any event during that year I went to what I’ve always remembered as Central Park where there was a ‘be-in’. I was ten and recognised that the people there were strange – long knotted, knitted, nitted hair – that kind of thing – but what struck me was how nice everyone was. (I suspect if I’d seen the same crowd today I would have thought they smiled too much.) But everyone was very very lovey dovey.
In any event, I now read this in Wikipedia.
The Human Be-In was an event in San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Park on January 14, 1967. It was a prelude to San Francisco’s Summer of Love, which made the Haight-Ashbury district a symbol of American counterculture and introduced the word “psychedelic” tosuburbia.
And since we’d left Sydney on the Oriana in late December 1966 and headed to Vancouver, then San Francisco and finally LA – or that’s what I think we did – I reckon that was the ‘be-in’ that I’ve always assumed was in Central Park. Golden Gate Park is a marvellous mega park, very much in the tradition of Central Park.
And so there you have it folks. Like Forest Gump at an early age appearing in the wings of history, in the prelude to the Summer of Love. And so of course your Troppo correspondent was there, not yet reporting for Troppo, but nevertheless making it possible for all Troppodillians to enjoy a first hand view of history.