Ode to the 60s...

As I sit here in my 21st Century den, listening to the 20th Century Ghosts from my past...Tom Jones, Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Dean Martin, Janis Joplin, The Beach Boys, it makes me wonder where the hell all those years went.

Wasn't it just yesterday that it was actually sexy to wear pink polka dotted tops and silk scarves in your hair (I'm a girl, okay!) and slow-dance with your date on Saturday nights?

Is this just my age and faltering memory colouring those times and I'm choosing to view it all through rose-coloured John Lennon glasses...probably.

But as Tom sings sweetly in my ear about yet another love lost, I wonder if, in our hi-tech days, we aren't lacking the "esprit du corps" that we had back in the 60s.

Times were still innocent enough and as kids or young teens, we thought we'd invented sex - well, at least free love - and knew it all. We thought we had become jaded with Oswald's bullets in Dealey Plaza and with the 6 o'clock horrors of Vietnam on our living rooms TVs.

We never really knew how lucky we had it back then. No 9/11, no 3 hour airport check-in procedures, no fear of terrorist attacks in tall buildings or on public transit. We thought the worst thing that life could throw at us were the names of all those dead boys coming home to rest in Arlington; and by '74 we never thought we'd lose another war.

And now there is Iraq...Gulf War II...and the killing continues.

Zoom your mind back to the summer of '69 and even the Nam casualties were low - like they still are for Iraq - and the Beatles and the Stones were vying for airtime and kids were flocking to the record stores to get their latest 45. Those singles were precious things to us kids back then and somehow became more precious when they got a few scratches and skips, as a kind of testament to Yes! that song was groovy, Man!

And as that summer of '69 meandered into a hot Indian autumn, one Friday night rolled around and with it, those soft summer nights seemed to instantly harden, turning blood-red - and not from the falling of the leaves- and the knife replaced the daisy as the Hippie logo.

Yeah, sure, we went back to arguing with our parents about how mean they were, not to allow us to attend Woodstock, that if they really loved us...blah, blah, blah....But on the Woodstock weekend, no one yet knew who had killed Tate and Sebring and Hippies weren't yet Slippies but just misunderstood conscientious war objectors with pot, sex and rock and roll on their minds. Weren't Hippies supposed to stay that way? Why did Charlie have to end the party?

Overnight, that summer that had turned into a blood-red autumn then became the dead of winter and all those polka-dotted tops and scarves were forgotten, and replaced with flack jackets, marches on the Washington Mall, flag-burnings and The Manson Family. LIFE gave up on the pictures of all those dead boys from the South China Sea and filled their pages with incredible pictures of an unknown band of misfits who espoused love amid their talent for the carving up of unsuspecting people, at rest in their own homes, in the dead of night.

I don't think many of us 60s girls ever pulled out those old polka dot tops to wear, ever again...

Manson basically yelled for everyone to get out of the pool and grow up and so we did.

We grew up and buckled down and graduated high school and got college degrees, and one day, while cleaning out our attics, our kids discovered an old, dusty cardboard box, containing those polka-dot tops and silk head scarves and asked us Mothers where they came from and to whom they belonged. And as we knelt beside that box, we were unable to answer our kids because we were never given the answer when we asked Charlie that same question.

Maybe I'd better turn my CD player off....


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