Every day from now until Spring, I will play a song from each year from 1940-2020. I’ll also write a little bit about the song and why I chose it to represent that year.
One of the earliest memories I have was in 1967. I was three and our family was in Dallas, Texas visiting my maternal grandparents. It’s amazing all the details I can recall. We were at a light by this municipal park with this huge fountain. The park was full of hippies and some of them were dancing in the fountain. I remember very clearly one of my parent’s saying “Well at least they’re finally getting a bath.” But all I saw was some people having fun. Granted, I was far too young to understand the nuance of the situation’ My parents who were older than most of those kids in the park, were of a different generation and were raised in conservative homes. So of course, they would see them derisively.
I guess the kids in the park must have had an impression on me because a couple years later I asked my dad if I could be a hippie when I grew up. He was not amused. “So You’re telling me you hate America and don’t believe in God anymore?” That response really shocked me. “No sir, not any of that, I just thought Hippies were fun,” I said to him kind of shaking because he had gotten so mad about what I thought was a simple question. “Well they’re not fun, they never work and worse of all, they never take baths” Well, that sunk it for me. I loved baths. I had my boats and my army men in the tub with me. I wasn’t giving up baths for no one.
Looking back I wished dad had not reacted so angrily. Maybe he could have kindly asked me why I felt that way and what it was about Hippies I found appealing. I would love to go back in time and ask my 7-year-old self the same question because my 56-year-old self doesn’t have an answer to that. Perhaps it was the free-spirited air, or maybe the seeming lack of rules vs. a home where rules were rampant and often seemed stifling.
My twenties came and went a long time ago. But I get some of the appeal now. Back in my mid-twenties, I traveled all over Europe and the Middle East. I worked odd jobs and scraped enough money to move on to my next country. Those were the best days I ever had. I get the whole “longing to change the world” idealism. Part of me still wants to change the world I just need a nap first.
But I digress. Anyway, during the whole Hippie fountain event, “How can I be sure” by The Rascals was playing on the radio. It was the first song I ever remember hearing coming out of the speakers of my parent’s car. I love the accordion and the longing to feel there’s something to be sure of in an ever-changing world. I heard the song was actually written about the Kenndey Assassination and how it made you feel unsure. This song will always have a special place in my heart.