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"Were You a Hippie?" vignette

"Were You a Hippie?" vignette

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Published by Nancy Williams
Sample entry from my book, "If You Remember Metal Skates...."
Sample entry from my book, "If You Remember Metal Skates...."

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Published by: Nancy Williams on Aug 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/02/2012

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Were You a Hippie?
³Ms. Williams, were you a hippie?´, one of my students asked lastSpring. ³Oh, I'll bring in a photograph and you can decide for yourself,´ Ireplied.Another student, Chris, who knows me very well and is the mostconservative person I¶ve ever known, answered, ³Ms. Williams, you are stilla hippie, and that¶s perfectly alright.´ Chris has always been wise beyond hisyears.
 
 
The Google dictionary definition of a hippie/s is: ³
Hippies
wereyoung people in the 1960s and 1970s who rejected conventional ways of living, dressing, and behaving, and tried to live a life based on peace andlove. Hippies often had long hair and many took drugs.´ I don't know why, but every single time I read that definition, the last part comes off as ³andtook many drugs.´The next day when I showed several students the photograph of myself from 1972, one girl said, ³That doesn't look anything like you.´ Iresponded, ³Give yourself forty years and see if you look the same.´ Ilooked like many of us did back then: a pretty, slender, wide-eyed younglady, with hair down to my waist, parted in the middle. My 120-pound figureresembled that of The Venus De Milo.In those days, my favorite outfit, which I wore when I wanted to getdressed up, was a black cotton turtle neck sweater and a flowing knee-lengthvest, with large green and black herringbone patterns. Matching wide bell-bottom pants and tan lace-up leather boots completed the look.When my two sons were in their early teens, we were purchasing anew van, and the salesman was a former student of mine from my first year of teaching, 1971. When he was in his office alone with the boys, he toldthem, ³Your mother used to be a real µFox,¶ back in the dayThey
 
 
snickered about that all the way home, and still get a good laugh reliving themoment. No one is supposed to say that about your mom.Often I was referred to as ³the hippie on the staff´ when I startedteaching. I remember Margaret, one of the more revered older teachers,approaching me in the hall one day. As if she were the designatedspokesperson for a group, she said, ³Several of us have been discussing this,and we think you need to gain some weight.´ And so I did.Like many of us, I am right on track in upholding the frequently-usedstatistic that adults usually gain two pounds a year. Instead of looking likeThe Venus de Milo, I now look in the mirror and see more of a resemblanceto The Venus of Willendorf. I take some comfort in knowing that she was asymbol of beauty 26,000 years ago.I no longer have the hair down to my waist. This is still shocking tomost people, since that was my signature look for more than thirty years.The first summer when I was in grad school, I had an ah ha moment aboutmy hair. My schedule was so grueling, every waking moment was precious.It became more and more absurd to blow dry my long thick hair for twentyminutes every morning, only to pull it back in a pony-tail. The only thingthat made sense was to get it whacked off.These days I wear a very short buzz cut that feels too long when it

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