Atlantis Alumni

Monday, April 7, 2014

There Was A Special Time...

...beginning a little over 40 years ago with the "Summer Of Love" in 1967, when many young people, including myself at age 18, were attracted to the gentleness, optimism, and the promise of peace and love that marked the late 1960s. However, not all of us so affected became "hippies," did "acid," or moved to San Francisco. I was busy trying to figure out what to do in college besides avoiding the draft. I had no money so the summer of 1967 was a working summer for me. I needed to make some money to cover expenses when I returned to school. In mid 1967 I was just becoming aware of the counter culture that was developing. A friend "turned me on" to the Beatles "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. Sometime that year or in early 1968, I discovered "The Marconi Experiment," a free form, progressive FM radio show hosted by "Herman" (Dave Herman) on WMMR in Philadelphia. This show was my connection to the "movement" of the late 60s. Contemporary music was so much a part of what was happening then in the country. Musicians and their songs were often unabashedly political. Country Joe And The Fish, Big Brother And The Holding Company With Janis Joplin, Donavan, The Jefferson Airplane, It's A Beautiful Day, Spanky And Our Gang, The Doors, Phil Ochs...these were just a few of the bands and performers that I was listening to during the 1967-1970 period. Songs like "White Bird," "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," "Small Circle Of Friends," and "Give A Damn," seem naively Utopian to us today, after the past 40 plus years that brought us the cynicism, greed, and war mongering of Nixon, Reagan, and the Bush father and son acts, interrupted only briefly by the mediocrity of Gerald Ford, the incompetence of Jimmy Carter, and the grave disappointment of the Clinton years. I would gladly return our country to the late 1960s promise of a decent, peaceful, love-filled society if I could. Since then we've gone awry as a nation with both domestic and foreign policies that are selfish, arrogant, and reactionary. Unfortunately, I don't see the possibility of this turning around anytime soon. I yearn for a return to the promise and hopefulness of the late 1960s even as I realize the improbability of it. It was a great time to be alive and young. My idealism, instilled in me then, still remains even if tarnished and buried under the weight of the decades that have passed since those special few years that came and went all too quickly.

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