Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dirty Hippies

Most of the time reality falls far short of my plans and dreams. When I was around nineteen or twenty years old I thought the idea of people of a like mind living together in a communal arrangement sounded fabulous. I had some hippie musician friends living together in a farm house in Iowa, supporting themselves as a rock band. After some thought I decided that living out in Iowa with them would be the right thing to do. So I threw all my stuff into my Volkswagen minivan and headed west out of Chicago.

Now it is well known that I have no musical ability at all, my contribution to the ‘commune’ would be as the ‘roadie’, after all I already had the minivan for hauling the equipment to gigs. Within three months, however, I managed to blow the engine on the van and replaced it with a ‘groovy’ Chevy pickup truck that I painted psychedelic stripes on with house paint.

The band played many different venues, but my favorites were always the bars, because the band got to drink for free, and as the ‘roadie’ I was included. Unfortunately, at that point in my life I would inhale free beer like it was oxygen and I was on the moon. I still remember vividly one bar on the Mississippi River, where I drank so much beer I couldn’t drive back to our little hippie home. Instead I rode home with one of the band members in his old Plymouth Valiant and puked a continuous stream of free beer out the window. Imagine his chagrin when he got up the next morning and saw the wide, multi-colored stripe embedded with chewed peanuts, running down the passenger side of his car. With apologies to him, I did wash his car that morning, and with a hangover, that was no small feat. Did you know that human vomit is apparently an effective auto paint remover?

After almost a year of living out there I decided the idealistic dream of the hippie commune was never going to be what I had thought it would be. It had been a year of marijuana and beer and fun, that I now look back at as a wasted year in my life. It was not what I had envisioned, imagine how much more fun I would have had drinking beer and smoking pot in Chicago.


  1. Just ask my Dad, he can tell you how much fun it is. That is, if he remembers.

  2. Alan, It wasn't a wasted time of your life. It was a time of your life when you were discovering yourself. You probably learned alot about yourself from that experience and matured from it.

    Madonna, Ask your dad about the time he had a blue tail on the back of his head. hehe

  3. I'll bet you have lots more stories to tell from that year living on the hippie commune.

    Eww, how about the one when you were robbed while working at a convenience store.

  4. You never cease to amaze me with your vivid recollections and graphic details. I only wish we had "smell-a-vision". Thanks

  5. In the 1930s and 40's my grandfather didn't have a septic tank up here in Michigan, he had an outhouse.

    He didn't have electricity. He had a kerosene lantern.

    He didn't have TV, he had a battery operated radio.

    He didn't have plumbing, the water from the hand pump went out a pipe in the wall and drained outside.

    He didn't have a furnace for heat, he had a wood stove which he cooked on. It had an oven too.

    He didn't have refridgeration, he canned food in the cellar or stored things outside in the winter.

    He didn't have food so he grew his own and ate venison.

    He didn't have garbage pick up, he had a landfill on his property.

    So he pretty much lived a hippie life style before hippies were "in."

    He had no bills except for property tax and gas for his model "A" car.

  6. Garet: It sounds like you are advocating going back to those ways.....Must be loving Michigan more every day, huh?