|Hippies at the Woodstock Festival (Wikipedia)|
When I was growing up, one of my favorite programs was "Happy Days".
With a funny twist on everything, the program focuses on a generation that was my fathers' time.
Now that I am a grandfather I'm looking back at my youth and my "hippie days".
When I first met any hippies I was a jock in high school.
That's what we used to call the guys that were into playing sports. I had very short hair and a lettermans jacket. Truly represented the jocks very well.
Since at first I didn't understand much about hippies I thought they were weird and not one of us.
Over time I met more and more guys with long hair and girls with flowers in theirs. I talked with them and listened to them and found I agreed with their views. It wasn't hard.
We were at war in Vietnam and how we stood on that subject was a huge issue. Do we side with our government and sign up to fight or do we want to represent peace and love and no war? At the time it seemed like a no brainer.
I started to let my hair grow and it was amazing how fast things started to change. I very quickly started making new friends. At the time I didn't realize what was happening. Now I do.
I had joined a brotherhood. A common cause that the young people were uniting with. Every long hair person or colorful dressed girl was my friend. It was just the beginning of my "hippie days".
After graduation I started traveling for what turned out to be several years. I was lucky enough to go all over this world at a much more peaceful time. I soon learned that the hippie thing was going strong everywhere. I found brothers and sisters in every country.
This is what we called ourselves and this was what I was feeling at the time. Strangers taking us in and giving us food and fun. I once met two hippies traveling together and one was Indian the other Pakistani.
This was very cool because they're countries had been at war many times over the years. They had joined the side of peace and brotherhood. It made me proud to be a part of this global movement.
Being on the side of peace and brotherhood had challenges. People were either for you or against you. Those that were against you could be pretty unpredictable. I was fortunate enough to have only a couple of problems while hitchhiking in the United States.
In LA a guy stuck his head out of his car and yelled "freak" and threw an egg that hit me in the chest. In Vermont I had a police officer threaten to beat me up and leave me behind some barn "if your not careful".
I heard much worse stories from friends. We got a first hand education on how minorities were treated.
Now that those years are long gone I look back on how special they really were. Our world has gotten more dangerous and paranoid. The call for peace and love between people can hardly be heard any more. The feelings of separateness has grown between people and nations.
I was hoping now that the hippies are in office and in positions to help, they would help bring our world together. Many may be trying now but fear is the current gauge when thinking of traveling the world.
For me, my hippie days were my happy days. I was proud then as I am proud now to have been part of it.
I am Christopher Bassler and I traveled all over the world in the early seventies. I made two trips over land from Europe to India. I eventually settled on Guam and spent 40 years living there.
I became a Dive Master and had my USCG 100 ton captain's license for 20 years. I was a marine technician and the Chairman of the Dive Safety Control Board at the University of Guam for several years.
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