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A Hippie Or Just Hip? A Tribute To A Mother of the 60's and 70's

Updated on July 20, 2010

The 1960's and 1970's were two decades that changed American society and culture forever. Most importantly those twenty years brought empowerment to women. The battles these courageous women faced, fought and won, their daughters and grandaughters now take for granted. It is because of them that we have choices, we can question, we have freedoms.

My mother is one of those amazing women. Because she was a hippie? Hip? Or something more?

Hippie and Hip Defined

The term Hippie or Hippy was coined in 1965 from the word hipster. The dictionary defines Hippie as a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society and advocates a nonviolent ethic.

The term Hip is defined as having or showing awareness of or involvement in the newest developments or styles. Also defined as aware or appreciative of something - used with the word to.

So when I ask myself whether my mother was a Hippie or Hip as defined above, she was most asurredly both. She was one Hip Hippie and so much more! She, and so many women of her day brought about major and fundamental change, they were Revolutionaries.

Was My Mother A Hippie?

When I perused Wikipedia for the term Hippie, I found the A-typical examples and references to what we today think of as a "Hippie"; long flowing hair and clothes, beads and flowers, love and peace, LSD and San Francisco. Beatniks, counterculture and of course Woodstock.

No, I wouldn't say my mother was the A-typical Hippie. Yet, defined as a young person who rejects the fixed morally binding customs of the established society of the 1960's? Absolutely! One that advocates a nonviolent ethic? Unquestionably!

On her bookshelf, the Joy of Sex and manuals on how to chart astrological signs, sat next to classic literature and poetry. One of her bookends was a heavy ebony buddha with a topaz in his bellybutton.

She despised guns and violence. She didn't believe in killing animals for sport and saw and taught me to appreciate the beauty in all living things, especially our planet. She studied the constellations, Orion her favorite, and watched NOVA.

She burned incense and handmade candles. She dabbled in drugs and Tarot, and played on a softball team called "The Rings of Uranus". She protested, marched, joined sit-ins. Agreed with love and peace not hate and war.

She agreed with the philosophy of naturalism and believed in the theory of evolution. She spoke of Greenhouse Gases and how it was destroying our planet. (Now we call it Global Warming.) She taught me about animal extinction and preservation. She taught me about 'warm fuzzies' and 'cold pricklies', I thought she had coined those phrases.

She imagined that JFK, MLK and RFK, would change our country and cried when they didn't get their chance.

Man, Was She Hip!

If only I still had her clothes! The low-rise, flare-legged cords worn with a big leather or macrame belt and a turtle neck. The gauzy, patchwork, flowing frocks. The crocheted purse. Her gorgeous auburn hair, whether worn long or short was always in style.

She ate Grape Nuts and Wheat Germ. She often flashed the peace sign and drove a "Bug" blaring her eight tracks, as we all sang along. Her friends were an eclectic group of scholars, intellectuals and artists.

She idolized the Beatles, and cried the day that John Lennon was killed. Pulling out her Beatles album collection to reminisce and reflect on their greatness and what they meant to her life. She told me a story of when she was very pregnant with me in 1966 and she and her aunt drove, spur of the moment, tickets in hand, from our small hometown in Southern Illinois to Kansas City to see the Beatles in concert and drove back home afterward, the screams still ringing in their ears.

During her college days, we lived in the campus housing. Summer's, when I was young, I remember warm evenings, rolling down grassy hills and playing with other children while our parent(s) worked at or attended concerts under a tent at the SIUE (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) Campus known as the (MRF) Mississippi River Festival. I was too young to understand the magnitude of our own little Woodstock, just enjoyed the warmth of the summer sun and music from giants like, Janice Joplin, The Who, Joan Baez, Ike and Tina Turner, Chicago, YES, and many more. (still my favorite decade of music .)

MRF

Yes that is me picking my nose.
Yes that is me picking my nose.

A Revolutionary.

She married young, a month after she graduated from high school, as most "good" girls did in her time and a little over a year later my brother was born in 1963 and I came in 1966. My parents divorced not long after I was born. A major step towards her own independence, despite the backlash from family and society. She worked, earned her Masters Degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville SIUE and raised two children. Not an easy feat. It's quite common today, but forty years ago it wasn't.

One of Steinem's quotes was "A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after", isn't that commonplace today? Why? Because of women of this generation, like my mother, liberation is no longer taboo.

My mother, in my opinion, was one of the great women of the 1960's and 1970's that brought about fundamental change and awareness. Equal Rights for Women, Equal Rights for all of mankind. Awareness of the struggles going on around us in our country, our world, our planet.

I can still see her favorite crocheted purse, more like a sachel, adorned with buttons. NOW, Save The Whales, WWF (No, not wrestling, World Wildlife Fund), Green Peace, etc. She had dreams of joining the Peace Corps.

Had she lived in the Haight Ashbury District, her views may have been more acceptable, however, she lived in small town USA. Primarily Republican, God fearing, white, male dominated, don't have an opinion, never discuss sex, politics or religion, and certainly don't embarrass your family, type of town. Yet, she stayed true to herself and what she believed was right.

Growing up I knew who Gloria Steinem was and what Women's Lib meant. She didn't like Barbie as an example of what women should look like and imprinting that expectation of body image upon my young mind. She taught me to love myself as I am.

She did not believe in one creator or organized religion, she believed in evolution. Yet, she allowed me to go to church with my Great Grandmother. Thus exposing me to different views so that one day I would make my own choice in beliefs.

Did she march in Mississippi? Did she protest in Washington? No. But she changed society in her small way by teaching me. Through her actions and what she exposed me to, she taught me to question, to be aware, not to follow the masses, but to stand up for what is right, that I have rights as a woman, as a human being. She instilled in me a strong belief that I have choices, I can follow my dreams and make them a reality.

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    • profile image

      aunt val 

      6 years ago

      Missi, even though your gone from this life I hope you're writing from the next...see u in Orion!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      blake4d LOL!!! A Mother Hubber I love it... hmmm good pen name Old Mother Hubber.

    • profile image

      blake4d 

      8 years ago

      She sounds a lot like mi Madre. I never thought of doing a Mother Hub...would that make me a Mother Hubber? And OMG Missi, you are a Mother Hubber too!!!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Theresa so glad you liked this hub and bringing back some great memories for you. Well tell her I said hello.

    • profile image

      Theresa  

      8 years ago

      WOW!!! Moo what a great story I am so sorry it took me so long to get to it to read! Your mom was true to herself & still is her & I always marched to a different drummer thatn the rest of the family but I always admired her for that & wanted to be just like her when I grew up & in alot of ways I am! Thank you so much for reminding me of that!! Now I think I will call her so we can do lunch!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      ChrisJohnsonArt, thank you for your comment. Agreed, yet America has come a long way in the last 40 years. I'm proud to have had parents that were part of that change.

    • ChrisJohnsonArt profile image

      ChrisJohnsonArt 

      8 years ago from Mexico

      Thank you for sharing that story. While I disagree that there is equal rights for all mankind today, the work accomplished then was a great boost towards equality which I hope will happen one day.

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Awe inspiring... no greater compliment Al. Thank you. Yes I was blessed in many ways, we dont truly realize the magnitude of our parents teachings until we have our own children. Hopefully we do as well if not better for them.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 

      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Missi Darnell...

      For me this hub is awe inspiring! I was and will ever be opposed to violence, racism, sexism and anything that want to make me believe we are not one race. You were blessed with that education your mother gave you, and I am sure your children we follow the line and provide their own kids with the same teachings and heir.

      Thumbs up!

      Warmest regards and infinite blessings,

      Al

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Suziecat7,glad you enjoyed this hub. I enjoyed writing it. Glad you are a fan.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 

      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Loved this Hub - I'm a fan.

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Aunt Val. I'll send her the link. I'm proud too. Love you too my most avid fan!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      jayjay thank you! I hope I did her justice, yes remarkable!

    • profile image

      aunt val 

      8 years ago

      WOW! I'm truly amazed at your recall! Your mom would be proud! Can I show it to her, better yet will you send it to her? I too didn't know some of those things and I'm her SISTER. She taught me too as I was one more she raised! Sooo proud of the woman she is and the woman you are because of it! Love ya kid!!!!

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 

      8 years ago from Bristol England

      What a great tribute to your mum, she was a remarkable woman

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Ginn, I'm glad you enjoyed and glad that I gave the women of that gen their due respect. Thank you for the welcome, I'm thoroughly enjoying HP.

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 

      8 years ago

      First of all---welcome to the HUB. Oh! this really brought back memories. As they say "you had to be there in the moments" I like your mother loved every minute of what that time period brought--and TAUGHT. I too past this on to my children.

      You will meet a lot of nice people here on the HUBs even a few ole-ole hippie's like me.

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you shorter loving brother! LOL Glad you liked it. I loved writing it.

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Enelle Thank you. What a generation! Very proud, didnt realize it so much as a kid but of course as an adult and with having 3 daughters of my own, if they want to become firefighters or politicians, Go for it! Glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • profile image

      your loving brother (the shorter one) 

      8 years ago

      Fantastic momma...really impressive! A side of her I didn't know and am now glad you shared:)

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Really cool hub :D It must have been great seeing you mom change the world :D I know I would love to be able to say that!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      anginwu thank you for your comment. I agree, that entire generation made a lot of changes for our society, I'm proud to be a "product" of that generation. I loved writing about it, I could have kept going but may have turned into a novella. Thanks again, glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      pddm67 thank you so much for the compliment and your comment. So glad you enjoyed my hub, I sure enjoyed writing it.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      8 years ago

      Love the picture of you and your mom. She was quite hip, to say the least. I always equate freedom with that age and i think women enjoy more freedom because of the hippie movement. Thanks for sharing part of your life.

    • pddm67 profile image

      pddm67 

      8 years ago from Queens, New York

      Awesome hub. So well written. I enjoyed reading every word. A true tribute to your mom. She sounds like a great woman. Rock on!

    • Missi Darnell profile imageAUTHOR

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you jwjulie a fan as always. What great times we grew up in! What inspiring mothers we had! Thank you for your comment.

    • jwjulie40 profile image

      jwjulie40 

      8 years ago

      Wow That was something I really want more!! Not to be noise but how could you stop writing!!

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