Advertisement

40 years of change

Contributor to book about Woodstock describes the hippie lifestyle of the 1960s.

June 11, 2009|By Michael Miller

Ask any number of Boomers around Huntington Beach about the 1960s, and they’ll probably give you plenty of recollections. But among local historians, Dixon Hearne is a standout. The 61-year-old, who formerly taught at Chapman University and has published both fiction and nonfiction, recently contributed the final chapter to the book “Woodstock Revisited: 50 Far Out, Groovy, Peace-Loving, Flashback-Inducing Stories From Those Who Were There.”

Hearne, a Huntington Beach resident since 1978, didn’t actually attend the legendary rock festival, but the publisher asked him to cap the collection with an essay about how the Woodstock generation transformed American culture. Shortly after the book’s release, Hearne spoke to the Independent about how the world has changed in the last 40 years — and how it hasn’t.

This book commemorates the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, and a lot of people reading it are probably going to be young people who weren’t around at the time. Is there anything about the ’60s that’s hard to explain to someone who wasn’t there?

Advertisement

There was general feeling among youth that the world was on the brink of a new age and we were the catalysts, the heralds. It spread quickly and cut deep into the American psyche — indeed, the world’s. America had never experienced such a threat to its core values and lifestyle — and taking root in every corner of the nation. Post-Boomers have a difficult time in their struggle for some cultural legitimacy in the wake of their grandparents and parents, who were the original counterculture prototype.

You say there was a general feeling at the time that your generation was going to change the world. In hindsight, looking back 40 years later, was that feeling accurate?

Post-Woodstock, we found ourselves thrust upon a world that still did not understand us or our struggle to be differently alike, an adult world where survival of the fittest was skewed heavily toward the opposing team. The Woodstock generation went kicking and screaming, but we survived, even thrived, and lived to realize the glorious fruits of the last children’s crusade. Girls, we now know, can study and learn just as well in pants, long hair is not a predictor of success (or lack thereof), rock ’n’ roll has never been unquestionably linked to cancer, and the nation’s churches have not closed up shop.

Did you consider yourself a hippie back then?

Huntington Beach Independent Articles Huntington Beach Independent Articles
|
|
|