Oh, the stuff I threw away! Posters, magazines, record albums, love beads, incense burners, pipes, comics. My black light! I could go on. Yes, I could. Most of the trappings of my late 1960’s/early 70’s, Yakima, Washington hippie boy lifestyle landed in the trash heap decades ago. Perhaps I did sell a few things; but I received pocket change for them, compared to what I would rake in now. I did, however, save a few iconic treasures.
I suppose my peace symbol should come first. After all, that was the basis of the whole hippie thing, at least for me: peace. I’ve owned this since 1968-’69. Sorry I can’t remember the exact year I purchased it at a store in Yakima. But actually, I remember quite a bit about those times, considering…. The pendant is made of cheap, cast metal; but, it’s seemingly indestructible. These days, I wear it when I play all-ages, folk-rock concerts. I’m sort of a “rent-a-hippie” performer. I provide the young folk with a chance to see a real live hippie relic, while I serenade them with the songs of Dylan and Donovan. And, I help bring back memories of those great times, for folks of my generation.
Here is a real Keep On Truckin’ patch, vintage 1969. No reproduction, this fine item! The patch far outlasted the pair of 501’s my Mom sewed it onto, by hand, for me. (Thanks, Mom.) The patch was designed by a man of many talents: R. (for Robert) Crumb; or at least, it was based on his work. Mr. Crumb, the subject of a well-known documentary film, has been written about extensively. — An interesting guy. Hippies liked old things from the 20’s and 30’s; much of R. Crumb’s art paid homage to that era.
My mom sewed this early, most-likely first edition Rolling Stones logo patch, designed by Royal College of Art student, John Pasche, onto my baby blue cords in late 1971. I sported it all over our small, Eastern Washington town. If you search for this image on the interweb, you’ll readily see that this is an early release. I’ve saved it all these years. Being much more of a Beatles fan, I didn’t know what for, until now. — I needed it for this story!
This is chronologically out of order; but I wanted to keep all of my apparel together, above. This is my one and only comic or in this case, “komix”, from the day. I saved it because it pays tribute to my all-time favorite hippie band, the legendary Canned Heat.
Canned Heat was/is a Los Angeles, California electric blues band. The band’s best work focused on electrified delta blues. The guys could play Chicago blues with the best of them, and definitely, their own brand of psychedelic blues. But their electric delta blues efforts remain unmatched to this day, in my view. The comic came as a bonus insert with their Future Blues LP, which was released in 1970. I purchased my copy that year, at Yakima’s Bon Marche, and I still have it. I’ve seen the comic, alone, listed for sale for as high as $60, plus shipping, on E-Bay, for one in very good condition. But I’ve seen it listed for much less. I kept mine because I love it, not as an “investment”.
Hey kids! Start your own collection! You can find examples of these artifacts all over the internet, and you can purchase your own. Or make me an outstanding offer. Hee hee.
Your humble scribe in 1968, a few miles north of Yakima, perched contentedly on the roof of Chris Baker’s old jalopy. And yes, it was cold. — Yakima cold, as I call it. But I was stoned on weed, so I didn’t really care. On this snowy, frigid afternoon, we were on our way to watch the wild elk get fed, an event which took place outside of town, every winter. Chris and I painted his car with “official” Standard Oil Chevron Filling Station red, white and blue paint — the paint they used to paint their stations. We hand-painted it with brushes, in the garage of Tom Baker Chevron in Yakima. Later, my brother Al III purchased the car from Chris, cut off its top, and drove it around Yakima!
I wore my peace symbol on Saturday, August 18, along with a couple other iconic items I’ve managed to acquire over the years: my 1995 Dr. Seuss “Lorax” tye-die, and my Lee Riveted Dungarees overalls, which my late, beloved ex-wife gifted me around 1997. If I hang onto the shirt and overalls long enough, they’ll also become “artifacts of a small-town hippie boy”. Except, now I live in Seattle, where we have huge, amazing, free festivals, like Hempfest. In the above photo, I’m with my friend/favorite human being, Sheen “SeattleFreeze” Hunter, who also puts a lot of thought into what she wears. And yes, if you look right above my veggie burrito, there’s the peace symbol. BTW, I was at Hempfest, to see the legendary Climax Blues Band. I’ve only seen two blues bands at that park (Myrtle Edwards Park): Climax, who were great, and…. Canned Heat. I saw them in 1994, on the 4th of July — another free concert! Life is good.
Here’s the topper to that “chapter”. After my visit with Sheen, I was dancing around to another of Hempfest’s great offerings, a fine, young, three-piece band. I danced and danced. When I finished, I started to walk away. I was stopped by a reporter for Seattle’s incredible, famed Stranger publication, who interviewed me and took a photo. Please go here to see that. — Scroll down and I’m the fourth person in the story. (But finish this story first!) Hopefully they’ll include me in their print edition when it comes out…. https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/08/20/31081223/we-asked-10-people-at-hempfest-how-high-are-you
Note: In order to preserve them for future generations, I sold my Keep On Truckin’ and Rolling Stones Tongue patches to an old hippie (I mean that as a compliment) in Colorado, who has youngsters that collect this type of item. He promises to keep them into his old age, and then to pass them on to his offspring. I feel good knowing they are in Colorado with a cool family. They could have ended up in the trash heap, along with all of that other great stuff I thoughtlessly discarded. As part of the deal, I threw in a 1970, Jesus Gives Real Peace pin-back button I discovered I still had. (I found two, so I even have one of those!) And I gave the Canned Heat Comix to my great young friend in Hungary, Péter Garami, who will assure that it lives on for a good while longer.
2019 Update (because I love updates!)
I just located this button (see below) I purchased in 1970 or 1971. A lot of us young Christians identified ourselves as “Jesus People”. — I’m hanging onto it — and my faith.