70 is the New 70
70 is the New.... What?
I'm seventy. Yep, somehow it happened. And the theme of my birthday and of my year is "Seventy is the new seventy." What I mean is that how I and my contemporaries will do our seventies is new. We are making it up as we go along. And remember, we are the people who made up the 1960s!
From what I see of my friends and family who are into their seventies, many of them are healthy and creative, whether or not they have slowed down some, in one way or another. They are writing books and websites, doing art and activism, teaching gardening, you name it. Sadly, I do also have friends who have serious mental or physical health problems. I am grateful every day that both my husband Kelly and I are healthy, active, and as creative as we've ever been.
It seems to me that every generation creates the world anew. It's maybe just a bit more flashy with us. Our seventies are not going to be much like our parents' seventies. We are different and the world is so different.
Money? Not too many of us have tucked away whatever amount the financial gurus say you need for a secure retirement. But then, as old hippies, my husband Kelly and I have always done more with less. We'll just keep on with that.
Onward ho! And I hope I'll be back later to write about 80 and maybe beyond. Hey, Grandma died in her sleep at home two days after her 100th birthday, with all her marbles.
Photo credit: My husband Kelly took this picture of me at seventy. Other photos on this page are from my collection.
I Owe My Life to Pearl Harbor
I was born nine months and two weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. My father, a specialist in the Far East, knew he would soon be going off to war, and my parents decided to see if they could start a baby before he left.
My father told me this story when I was about twelve, and much as I hated to think of my parents doing you-know-what when I was that age, I have appreciated knowing it.
Some News Events I Remember - Since this picture was taken when I was about three
I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and I remember the crowds and the cold at Truman's inauguration when I was six. I remember Stalin's death in 1953. I used to spread the newspaper out on the living room rug and read it while resting on my elbows, and I have a visual memory of where on the rug I put the paper when I read about Stalin.
In the summer of 1963, I went to Sierra Leone, West Africa, on a workcamp with a program called Crossroads Africa. The people were wonderful, and I got home to D.C. one day after Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech "I Have a Dream" at the March on Washington. I'm sure I would have gone if I'd been there.
I was in college at Stanford that November when President Kennedy was assassinated. I remember exactly where I was sitting in my dorm room when a friend burst in with the news. We were all in total shock for months. I remember the 1968 assassinations of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy but not in such vivid detail. They didn't startle me or my friends in the same way.
Vietnam: I can't count the ways it touched us. I am just enough older than most of the guys who went that I don't know anyone who died there. I had courageous Quaker friends who did humanitarian work in Vietnam during the war.
Landing on the moon. I was a grad student in Berkeley and went over to the house of some friends who had a TV.
So many other wars.
I had stayed in touch with Isa Johnston, one of my African friends, and even visited with her in England in the late 60s. She went to Idi Amin's Uganda some time in the 70s with a church service program, and I never heard from her again.
Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima. These touched me especially because my grandfather Chester Snow was a physicist who helped to invent the bomb at Los Alamos. My mother and I lived there with my grandparents while my father was away at war. I learned to walk there. I'm certainly a child of the nuclear age.
Having grown up in the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall was a particularly joyous moment. I don't know why I have it associated with my husband's office in our house in Ashland, Oregon. I imagine we had the radio on in there.
The attacks of 9/11. I had just been on the East Coast the week before, rare for me, and it made all the news coverage that much more vivid.
I am remembering a lot more news events but this is enough. If I don't watch out, I'll be writing a whole history of the key events since 1942, right here on Squidoo.
The Sixties: My Folks Paid for My LSD Trip as a College Graduation Present - And then I went to Berkeley...
The sixties... I was near the thick of it, though staying home reading more than running around demonstrating. Graduated from high school in 1960, graduated from Stanford in 1964 in Anthropology. My senior year at Stanford I took an excellent course called The Human Potential, taught by the wonderful futurist Willis Harmon. He may have been the first to popularize that phrase.
He was part of a research team exploring the effects of LSD, with the okay of the government. (I later read that the CIA had a hand in this.) Anyway, I mailed my mom some research papers, and as a graduation gift she and my stepdad paid the fee for me to be in the LSD program. I think she was a bit dismayed when I had a full-blown mystical experience, as she was a lifelong atheist.
But for me, the day soon after graduation when I took LSD was one of the defining events of my life. Soon after, I became a Quaker. The powerful sense of Divine Love for all of us has been a core value of mine ever since.
I went to Berkeley that fall, with the goal of being an anthropologist. But I fell in love with a man who was saving up to go live in Europe. I joined that plan, worked and saved money myself, and we went off and lived in southern Spain. Funny to think of how little that cost.
He and I broke up after we returned to Berkeley, and I got my Master's of Library Science. And so ended my 1960s.
Meanwhile, my husband-to-be was also in Berkeley, though we didn't meet then. This book listed here is a book Kelly just compiled and published, of his photos of that era.
As a young man in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kelly Hart took his camera everywhere, fascinated by capturing the uniqueness of specific moments of time and place. The images change from black and white to color midway through the book, and he captures the psychedelic aspect of that era through time exposures where action may be blurred.
Forty Years Married to the Same Guy - He's my best friend.
When I met Kelly Hart in 1971, he was a long-haired hippie living in a converted school bus, growing a huge garden in a greenhouse he made from a parachute, and living by doing carpentry or odd jobs. Kelly was a photographer and filmmaker who later got a patent on a method of animation he developed. He was a musician, too, playing sax and piano. His bus was parked on a friend's land near Jenner, on the California coast.
I was a children's librarian in nearby Santa Rosa. I had a smaller garden but it didn't matter because I soon moved in with him. When his two-year-old daughter came to live with us for a spell, things were crowded. But it worked out, and throughout her childhood, she spent time with us. Having a part-time kid turned out to be about right for us and we didn't have any more. I was already concerned about world population.
I quit working full time but worked for the same library system as a substitute librarian. I later went back to work full time, and became head of the Sebastopol branch.
We bought an old summer camp, Sunshine Camp, with two of Kelly's sisters and their husbands, and we had a family commune there for most of the 70s. The other two marriages ended, and Kelly and I roamed Mexico for several months and then later moved to 70 acres in the mountains outside of Ashland, Oregon. There we raised llamas, and I wrote books about them and Kelly made training videos about them.
Later, we moved to Olympia, Washington, where we continued our publishing work and outfitted a Grey Line Hawaii bus to be our next home. In 1996, we hit the road in that and fell in love with the tiny town of Crestone, Colorado. There we built an earthbag house (that's a link to my lens about it here on Squidoo).
I thought we might live happily ever after there. I was back to work as a librarian. But no, wanderlust struck again. We sold the house to friends and moved to Mexico (another Squidoo lens) for about five years. Then we returned to Crestone, where we now live. Maybe this will be our happily-ever-after spot. Who knows?
A Passion for Organic Gardening
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring came out in 1962, and I read it when I was home from college on vacation. I couldn't believe what I was reading, but I couldn't ever forget it either. I had grown up in a gardening family, and I became devoted to organic methods. This is a small part of an organic garden Kelly and I had in Ashland, Oregon.
Some of the Best Organic Gardening Books
It's Not Easy to Blow Out Trick Candles - I Got Them, Though!
By the way, the top I am wearing consists of a crocheted seven-pointed star I found on Etsy and then sewed onto a t-shirt I had.
Computers and the Internet Completely Change the World - And My Little Corner of It
I remember in the 1970s hearing our library director talk about getting a word processor and wondering on earth why he needed such a frivolity. Soon enough I had my first Kaypro and was writing my first book, Living with Llamas. The two-person publishing company that my husband and I launched with the publication of that book in 1985 completely transformed our work lives. That book went through several editions, and you can read the stories in its current incarnation, a free PDF at my site on llamas.
When the internet came along, I loved it right away. And I still do. It has truly transformed so many aspects of communication and global connection. Sure, it has its dark sides but as a librarian I love information and finding things out. As a visionary, I love creating the future together with others I meet online.
Some of Our Websites
Hartworks is the name of our business, and I started doing websites back in 1998 with hartworks.com. For a complete list of our sites, see that site. I'll just list a few of our main ones here. The first two are mine and the last one is Kelly's.
- Hartworks Provides Information on Creative Alternatives
Hartworks is the business of Kelly and Rosana Hart, who provide information on a variety of topics.
- Positive Dog Training
Here I explore positive, pain-free methods of dog training.
- Green Home Building
Greenhomebuilding.com focuses on sustainable architecture, natural building, solar energy, ecology, water and forest conservation, recycling, greenhouses, adobe, cob, strawbale, cordwood, papercrete, earthbag and vernacular architecture, with related
Three of My Dog Videos
Some of My Videos about Mexico
Two Other Women Write About Being 70
The first time I read this book, I wasn't even 60! Just re-read it recently. Vitality and love of life are good at any age.
Love that title!
I'm Pretty Much the Same as Ever... And I AM Going to Do Something New!
I'm not really different from the person I've been all along.
Actually, my life is still very similar to what it's always been. I'm still writing a lot. The new thing I am going to do this year is write a novel.
I savor each moment more than in my youth, and I expect to keep on doing that.
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