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The Accidental Hippie

Homelessness,piercings,rebellion,free love,street musicians, what would our world be like without them?  As much as I would like everyone to be warm at night, I cringe at the thought of a world in which everyone shopped at the Mall.  Given the opportunity to talk to an accomplished college professor, or a man whose bed is the sand, shower the ocean and whose food appears day by day....wouldn't everyone choose the latter?
 I recently ran into a childhood friend.  As we talked, he said, "Who knew you'd turn into this hippie chick?"  I laughed thinking, "I'm not a ....wait,how cool is that....I'm a hippie!"  He meant it as a compliment, and I took it that way.  But did I really deserve that label?  I must admit, I love the "Boho Chic" fashions, but had my life taken enough turns, had I allowed myelf to be as free as the way I perceived these people to be?  I lived at home all through college,never smoked a cigarette and had been drunk about twice in my life---could I really call myself a hippie?  Then it dawned on me.  he perceived Hippies, and me, as tolerant and unafraid of diversity.
That set me to thinking.  Why is it that if someone is approaching me on the street that might make 80 percent of the population go the other way, I am drawn to them, I want to know their story.  Where did my openness to society develop?  I smile as flashbacks of myself as a child come to mind.
 It's 1979, school at Sacred Heart Academy has just let out.  I'm running down Saratoga, and then Cable street to get to Newport Avenue, where my mom has a clothing store in Ocean Beach.  It's a typically balmy day in San Diego.  The volunteer crossing guards on Santa Monica Ave. wish me a good afternoon; I smile, in my mind thinking, "I'm half way there, half way to the store."  Although I loved to walk, I always felt left out, most of the kids made a right after school and walked to the parent parking lot for pick up, I was one of the few who made a left.
 How I envied my friends that were picked up by mother's in station wagons, with sensible haircuts and a baby in a car seat.  They got to go home, watch t.v. and have anormal dinner.  At eight years old, waht I wanted more than anything was to be like everybody else, to blend in; to be one of the many seemed like the epitome of happiness.  To be Portuguese  wouldn't have hurt either.
What I was, however was the only child of a divorced working mother.  Looking back now, I can see my mother at 36, tall thin, with long black hair, she was actually stunning.  Ironically I now recognize that my friends probubly dreamed of having a beautiful mother and an exciting life.My time spent in Ocean Beach provided memories of people and adventures for which I'll be eternally grateful.
 My mother had lovingly equipped one of the dressing rooms with a T.V.  so that I could watch The Merve Griffin Show.  My next move was tro go to the drug store two doors down to buy my daily chocolate bar, they cost a quarter back then.  I would go through fazes, the same kind every day for three months then change to another favorite.  If I was still hungry I could go down the block to the Chinese restaurant.  They made the best fried hot dogs I have ever had, actually, the only fried hot dogs I have ever had.  If I went into that restaurant one hundred times, one hundred times I was greeted by the owner with a smile on her face and the same words, "Pity Gil! Pity Gil is Hea !" (Pretty Girl is here.), to this day I think her kind words did wonders for my self esteem.
 I had playmates on Newport Avenue.  The owner's of the Greek Restaurant had a daughter my age.  They would give us huge cups of chocolate ice cream.  I don't remember if I actually liked the taste of the ice cream (somehow everything inthat restaurant managed to taste greasy,) or just the fact that we got such enormous amounts, either way it was fun.  Their generosity and the love they showed for their daughter has stayed with me always.
The family who owned the health food store/gym has a little girl.  She also went to Sacred Heart; we thought nothing of running along the streets of Ocean Beach in our Catholic School uniforms.  It was at her store that I developed a love for lemonade with honey and Kashi bars.  We would sneak into the sauna and eat our snacks there.  The sauna was heated with a tub of hot coals and smelled of suncrean and sweat.  Through a small window on the sauna door we could see half naked men and women working out.  Needless to say that my mother didn't know I snuck into the sauna or saw what I saw.
 Margaritas, the Mexican restaurant was always a happy place, I loved it.  It was there that I earned my first dollar for babysitting.  The owner had taken her six year old daughter to work one day.I walked her down the street to buy a coloring book and then we pretended to be school teachers.  Being that I was only two years older than she, I thought we were just playing, you can imagine how grown up I felt when I realized I had been WORKING.
 I must have bought 11 hamsters at the pet shop on the corner. Whenever I mentioned being bored my mohter would say one of twothings, "Intelligent people never get bored" or, "why don't you go buy a hamster?"  I'd like to say taht I lost each hamster that I ever had because I don't remember any of them actually dying.
 Friday nights were better that a Disneyland parade.  People going to The Strand theater to watch The Rocky Horror Show would start walking by our store as soon as the sun went down.  It was an odd bunch, doys dressed as girls, girls with pink hair, black lips, green tights and leather skirts, piercings everywhere.  I suppose you can go anywahere and see that now, but I like to think that they were among the true originals. One image has stayed in my mind, a slightly chubby boy of about 17, dressed in jeans and a green  t-shirt, spikey black hair and bracelets on his wrists.  He walked and laughed with his friends, but his eyes were focused, his smile slightly forced, he was walking, searching for happiness, I hope he found it.
 As I rollerskated down Newport Avenue(in my catholic school uniform), I can't remember a day that I didn't see the man with the long light brown hair, no shirt, always a beer in his hand.  I wouldn't dought that tattoos were a part of his physique, but I honestly don't remember, I do remember the smile on his face and the shine in his eyes, which I hope meant that he had found a way to be content in his simple existence.
 I sat outside of a store a few doors down from our own, as my mom shopped inside one day.  A black man of about 26 was passing by, he carried a backpack and what I believe was a jacket, our eyes met for an instant and something compelled him to walk towards me and kneel down.

"What you doin cute thing?" "Playing with my Barbie's" "Barbie's! You a lucky girl to have toys." "I know." "You have a good day, allright?" "You too." As he walked away, my mom saw waht had taken place and asked what the man had said. "He said I was lucky to have toys." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "O.k." I remember his kind eyes, and thanks to him, I always knew there were people in this world that could just be nice. Climbing the steps of the Ocean Beach Pier was one of my favorite things to do. Always holding on to the rail, because the worst part about falling was the embarrassment. The ocean on either side of me. Once on the Pier there were families, romantic couples, sea gulls and fishermen. The fishermen with music playing, bait boxes, a bucket for their catch, usually smoking what I thought were cigarettes, although later on in life I would smell something quite different and get flashbacks. Walking the length of the pier was like walking to the edge of the earth. The way it felt brings images of the book cover from " The Little Prince", by Antoine De Saint Exupery. A child standing on top of the earth, looking at the possibilities.
Watching the surfers was amazing; that they seemed fearless was an understatement. I was facinated by the fact that they would put their bodies into such a huge ocean, risk drowning, jellyfish, sharks, getting hit by another board....the risks seemed many, but I always knew that the feeling they got surfing was well worth it. Our customers at the store deserve their own article, how do you describe such precious people? The Transvestite who never bought anything but was allowed to try on as many things as he liked. The teenage girls who got caught shoplifting and the would cry and beg my mom not to call the police(she never did), the very pretty woman who always seemed to have a date, but never managed to have her dream-a husband. Thanks to my days spent at Ocean Beach, my eyes never saw a mold, every day was different and every person was unique. To say that I acquired an acceptance for diversity is just a part of it; I developed a love for the flat-out weirdness of life that has made each day of my own life easy to live and a joy to experience. If that attitude makes me a hippie, I must say that it was a happy accident. ©

[email protected]

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Homelessness,piercings,rebellion,free love,street musicians, what would our world be like without them?  As much as I would like everyone to be warm at night, I cringe at the thought of a world in which everyone shopped at the Mall.  Given the opportunity to talk to an accomplished college professor, or a man whose bed is the sand, shower the ocean and whose food appears day by day....wouldn't everyone choose the latter?
 I recently ran into a childhood friend.  As we talked, he said, "Who knew you'd turn into this hippie chick?"  I laughed thinking, "I'm not a ....wait,how cool is that....I'm a hippie!"  He meant it as a compliment, and I took it that way.  But did I really deserve that label?  I must admit, I love the "Boho Chic" fashions, but had my life taken enough turns, had I allowed myelf to be as free as the way I perceived these people to be?  I lived at home all through college,never smoked a cigarette and had been drunk about twice in my life---could I really call myself a hippie?  Then it dawned on me.  he perceived Hippies, and me, as tolerant and unafraid of diversity.
That set me to thinking.  Why is it that if someone is approaching me on the street that might make 80 percent of the population go the other way, I am drawn to them, I want to know their story.  Where did my openness to society develop?  I smile as flashbacks of myself as a child come to mind.
 It's 1979, school at Sacred Heart Academy has just let out.  I'm running down Saratoga, and then Cable street to get to Newport Avenue, where my mom has a clothing store in Ocean Beach.  It's a typically balmy day in San Diego.  The volunteer crossing guards on Santa Monica Ave. wish me a good afternoon; I smile, in my mind thinking, "I'm half way there, half way to the store."  Although I loved to walk, I always felt left out, most of the kids made a right after school and walked to the parent parking lot for pick up, I was one of the few who made a left.
 How I envied my friends that were picked up by mother's in station wagons, with sensible haircuts and a baby in a car seat.  They got to go home, watch t.v. and have anormal dinner.  At eight years old, waht I wanted more than anything was to be like everybody else, to blend in; to be one of the many seemed like the epitome of happiness.  To be Portuguese  wouldn't have hurt either.
What I was, however was the only child of a divorced working mother.  Looking back now, I can see my mother at 36, tall thin, with long black hair, she was actually stunning.  Ironically I now recognize that my friends probubly dreamed of having a beautiful mother and an exciting life.My time spent in Ocean Beach provided memories of people and adventures for which I'll be eternally grateful.
 My mother had lovingly equipped one of the dressing rooms with a T.V.  so that I could watch The Merve Griffin Show.  My next move was tro go to the drug store two doors down to buy my daily chocolate bar, they cost a quarter back then.  I would go through fazes, the same kind every day for three months then change to another favorite.  If I was still hungry I could go down the block to the Chinese restaurant.  They made the best fried hot dogs I have ever had, actually, the only fried hot dogs I have ever had.  If I went into that restaurant one hundred times, one hundred times I was greeted by the owner with a smile on her face and the same words, "Pity Gil! Pity Gil is Hea !" (Pretty Girl is here.), to this day I think her kind words did wonders for my self esteem.
 I had playmates on Newport Avenue.  The owner's of the Greek Restaurant had a daughter my age.  They would give us huge cups of chocolate ice cream.  I don't remember if I actually liked the taste of the ice cream (somehow everything inthat restaurant managed to taste greasy,) or just the fact that we got such enormous amounts, either way it was fun.  Their generosity and the love they showed for their daughter has stayed with me always.
The family who owned the health food store/gym has a little girl.  She also went to Sacred Heart; we thought nothing of running along the streets of Ocean Beach in our Catholic School uniforms.  It was at her store that I developed a love for lemonade with honey and Kashi bars.  We would sneak into the sauna and eat our snacks there.  The sauna was heated with a tub of hot coals and smelled of suncrean and sweat.  Through a small window on the sauna door we could see half naked men and women working out.  Needless to say that my mother didn't know I snuck into the sauna or saw what I saw.
 Margaritas, the Mexican restaurant was always a happy place, I loved it.  It was there that I earned my first dollar for babysitting.  The owner had taken her six year old daughter to work one day.I walked her down the street to buy a coloring book and then we pretended to be school teachers.  Being that I was only two years older than she, I thought we were just playing, you can imagine how grown up I felt when I realized I had been WORKING.
 I must have bought 11 hamsters at the pet shop on the corner. Whenever I mentioned being bored my mohter would say one of twothings, "Intelligent people never get bored" or, "why don't you go buy a hamster?"  I'd like to say taht I lost each hamster that I ever had because I don't remember any of them actually dying.
 Friday nights were better that a Disneyland parade.  People going to The Strand theater to watch The Rocky Horror Show would start walking by our store as soon as the sun went down.  It was an odd bunch, doys dressed as girls, girls with pink hair, black lips, green tights and leather skirts, piercings everywhere.  I suppose you can go anywahere and see that now, but I like to think that they were among the true originals. One image has stayed in my mind, a slightly chubby boy of about 17, dressed in jeans and a green  t-shirt, spikey black hair and bracelets on his wrists.  He walked and laughed with his friends, but his eyes were focused, his smile slightly forced, he was walking, searching for happiness, I hope he found it.
 As I rollerskated down Newport Avenue(in my catholic school uniform), I can't remember a day that I didn't see the man with the long light brown hair, no shirt, always a beer in his hand.  I wouldn't dought that tattoos were a part of his physique, but I honestly don't remember, I do remember the smile on his face and the shine in his eyes, which I hope meant that he had found a way to be content in his simple existence.
 I sat outside of a store a few doors down from our own, as my mom shopped inside one day.  A black man of about 26 was passing by, he carried a backpack and what I believe was a jacket, our eyes met for an instant and something compelled him to walk towards me and kneel down.

"What you doin cute thing?" "Playing with my Barbie's" "Barbie's! You a lucky girl to have toys." "I know." "You have a good day, allright?" "You too." As he walked away, my mom saw waht had taken place and asked what the man had said. "He said I was lucky to have toys." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "O.k." I remember his kind eyes, and thanks to him, I always knew there were people in this world that could just be nice. Climbing the steps of the Ocean Beach Pier was one of my favorite things to do. Always holding on to the rail, because the worst part about falling was the embarrassment. The ocean on either side of me. Once on the Pier there were families, romantic couples, sea gulls and fishermen. The fishermen with music playing, bait boxes, a bucket for their catch, usually smoking what I thought were cigarettes, although later on in life I would smell something quite different and get flashbacks. Walking the length of the pier was like walking to the edge of the earth. The way it felt brings images of the book cover from " The Little Prince", by Antoine De Saint Exupery. A child standing on top of the earth, looking at the possibilities.
Watching the surfers was amazing; that they seemed fearless was an understatement. I was facinated by the fact that they would put their bodies into such a huge ocean, risk drowning, jellyfish, sharks, getting hit by another board....the risks seemed many, but I always knew that the feeling they got surfing was well worth it. Our customers at the store deserve their own article, how do you describe such precious people? The Transvestite who never bought anything but was allowed to try on as many things as he liked. The teenage girls who got caught shoplifting and the would cry and beg my mom not to call the police(she never did), the very pretty woman who always seemed to have a date, but never managed to have her dream-a husband. Thanks to my days spent at Ocean Beach, my eyes never saw a mold, every day was different and every person was unique. To say that I acquired an acceptance for diversity is just a part of it; I developed a love for the flat-out weirdness of life that has made each day of my own life easy to live and a joy to experience. If that attitude makes me a hippie, I must say that it was a happy accident. ©

[email protected]

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