Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…

Today’s prompt: in-

I saw the theme for today, and couldn't get this tune out of my head…. from 1968, Iron Butterfly, the title track from their album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

First time I heard this I was 12 and in 6th grade. Everybody loved this song. Most of us who owned the album only played the second side, taken up entirely by this one song. We’d sit there for 17 minutes and 3 seconds and listen to the song, and look at the album cover….

Source: Amazon.com
Source: Amazon.com

It wassn’t long before we realized that the light show going on behind them was actually a picture of sperm cells attacking an egg.

That was a strange time in my life. My dad had died the year before, and Mom was giving serious thought to packing us up and moving to California. We took a vacation to San Francisco and stayed with friends of hers who were there while the husband was working on his Ph. D. I remember there was a day when Mom and the wife went off for the morning. I think that was the day she had her interview. We stayed in Palo Alto, but drove into San Francisco frequently.

That was the Summer of Love. Hippies all over the place. They were fascinating to me. Mom was like, stay away from them, but I just had to see. I wanted to see Haight-Ashbury, which we had all heard about from Time magazine as being sort of the epicenter of everything that was going on. Naturally, we didn’t get there. Mom was determined to keep us on the straight and narrow. Anytime we went into the city, we were in jackets and ties, and I had my hair cut in a Princeton, a crew cut with the front left long, and you’d use a special kind of wax to hold it up. Butch Wax, that’s what it was. We looked out of place, and we knew it.

It really affected me, seeing San Francisco and hitting puberty all at the same time. I went home different. Well, different enough. Turns out everyone else was changing. We had influences, mostly the hippies walking around Loyola University, and the head shops that were opening. We’d go into those places and just hang out, smelling the sandalwood incense and checking out the chicks as they came in. (Girls in our grade were “girls,” older girls were “chicks.” Sounds sexist now, but that was the way it was.) And there were the underground comix, of course. Dedicated more to the “free love” than the dope side. Absolutely disgusting portrayals of sexual encounters. We loved it. Couldn’t get enough. We’d read them, then stick them into books when we went to school and trade them in the classroom.

We stayed away from drugs. None of us knew where to get any, for one thing, and even if we did, they wouldn’t sell to us. No way. Well, maybe they would, but we were chicken. It’d be another couple of years before any of us would even experiment with them. But we had all the accoutrements, the bell-bottoms, flowered shirts, Apache scarves… man, we thought we looked good. I had a Chianti bottle and bought a candle that had different color wax in it. I put it in the bottle and lit it, and watched as the wax ran down the sides of the bottle and stuck to it. I’d burn incense in my room, even though Mom didn’t like that. Thought I was trying to cover up the fact that I was smoking. Which I was, but I had already solved that issue: open the window and lean out. Hell, she smoked, why not? She didn’t have anything to say about it. I took the bulbs out of the overhead light fixture and replaced them with a blue bulb and a red bulb. I was heavy into the counterculture, man. At least as heavy into it as a short, stocky 12-year-old kid with a crewcut could get.

Me in sixth grade. I did let my hair grow out a little.
Me in sixth grade. I did let my hair grow out a little.

We laugh about it now, but we were dead serious then. Peace, love, dope! Off the pigs!

Years later, my brother moved to San Francisco, and Mary and I went to visit him. He and his wife were working full-time, so Mary and I would go out in the city during the day. I told Mary I had to go to Haight-Ashbury, because I had never made it there when I was in San Francisco as a kid. So she was patient with me and we rode three or four buses to get there. The corner itself is up on a hill, which we had to climb. When we got to the top, a young couple was having a loud and wildly profane argument under the street signs. We decided against crossing the street to get a picture of the street signs when they started swinging at each other and she spit on him…


Anyway, that’s my entry for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by the amazing Linda G. Hill. If you follow the link or click on the picture below, it’ll take you to her page, where she has all the rules and stuff.

Click the picture to play along!
Click the picture to play along!

21 thoughts on “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…

    1. It’s beautiful there, that’s for certain, but expensive to live there. Though I’m sure there are some places with more reasonable rents. Thanks for stopping by!

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 9:06 AM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv3244574367 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3244574367 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3244574367 a.yiv3244574367primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3244574367 a.yiv3244574367primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3244574367 a.yiv3244574367primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3244574367 a.yiv3244574367primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3244574367 WordPress.com | | |

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    1. Thanks. I think the world was in transition at the time, and we were just caught up in it.

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 10:33 AM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv4723712030 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4723712030 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4723712030 a.yiv4723712030primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4723712030 a.yiv4723712030primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4723712030 a.yiv4723712030primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4723712030 a.yiv4723712030primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4723712030 WordPress.com | | |

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  1. Wow man, that is so far out. πŸ˜‰ Too bad you weren’t able to go to Haite-Ashbury, I’ve never been either. I think I was a bit younger than you, probably 8 or 9, A couple years later, in Junior High we did wear the bell bottoms and platform shoes and we thought we were so cool, buying cigarettes at the local Texaco’s machine for $1.25, (It’s hard to believe they were ever so cheap!) untill the owner told us he wouldn’t let us buy them anymore. Thanks for taking me down memory lane πŸ™‚

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    1. We didn’t make “the Haight” on the first trip, when I was eleven, which is why it was so imperative for me to get there when I went as an adult. Some of it still seems stuck in the Sixties, and I would guess they like it that way.

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 2:33 PM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv7878359698 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7878359698 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7878359698 a.yiv7878359698primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7878359698 a.yiv7878359698primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7878359698 a.yiv7878359698primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7878359698 a.yiv7878359698primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7878359698 WordPress.com | | |

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    1. Thanks! If you look carefully enough, none of them appear to be plugged in to anything…

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 3:32 PM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv2765714403 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2765714403 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2765714403 a.yiv2765714403primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2765714403 a.yiv2765714403primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2765714403 a.yiv2765714403primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2765714403 a.yiv2765714403primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2765714403 WordPress.com | | |

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  2. interesting post! Sorry, but that is…slightly before my time. (70’s kid) Plus, I’m not sure the “counterculture” ever reached northern New Mexico. I remember my brother (he’s a 1958 model) wearing some (in retrospect) odd looking clothes in the 70’s. And he played “My Sweet Lord” on his guitar incessantly. I enjoy reading stories about all that stuff, though. Great picture πŸ™‚

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    1. New Mexico is the counterculture, or at least where it moved after the rest of the country was done with it. πŸ™‚ And we all wore odd-looking clothes in the 1970’s, and thought we looked good.

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 3:38 PM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv6820293700 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6820293700 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6820293700 a.yiv6820293700primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6820293700 a.yiv6820293700primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6820293700 a.yiv6820293700primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6820293700 a.yiv6820293700primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6820293700 WordPress.com | | |

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  3. I did my SoCS prompt post after you did yours, but I swear I hadn’t seen yours before just now, as I’m going through Linda’s prompt post and reading what everyone posted. And, like me, her prompt inspired you to write about In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita (and the assassination of JFK).

    I live in San Francisco now (but not at the time you were referring to), but one of the first places I visited when I moved here was the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. It just called out to me. And I also remember Butch Wax for my flattop.

    Good trip down memory lane, sir.

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    1. I’ll have to see your post about it. Thanks for stopping by!

      From: The Sound of One Hand Typing To: johlt@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2014 4:05 PM Subject: [The Sound of One Hand Typing] Comment: “Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Groooooovy, man…” #yiv1069031535 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1069031535 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1069031535 a.yiv1069031535primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1069031535 a.yiv1069031535primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1069031535 a.yiv1069031535primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1069031535 a.yiv1069031535primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1069031535 WordPress.com | | |

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  4. I was born in San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area during the Summer of Love. But I was a teenager then too and did not go to the Haight. I remember all the kids coming from all over the country to San Francisco and panhandling. Some of them were dressed nicely and I remember my cousin and I got really annoyed with them and would not give them money or did so reluctantly. You brought back memories about the chianti bottle with candles in them. That was popular with young people starting out in their own places that I recall. I never got into drugs. This is second time I saw Iron Butterfly posted. You know I do not remember that group. Were they from back east? From San Francisco we had Jefferson Airplane, and my husband remembers The Doors got their start in LA. Both groups were really big in my memory. Light My Fire, Alice, Somebody to Love.

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      1. I did google them after I asked the question. I do seem to remember the name of their band. I think that song may be one that was not a favorite for me, so I do not remember it. From reading about them a bit on google I see they were popular with folks for sure. I am glad I can still listen to some of the old greats on You Tube. Even though we have Serius in our cars, I don’t always like the selections they play and they seem to play the same ones over and over. So if I go on You Tube I can pick out my own favorites.

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  5. Great post, John. πŸ™‚ I was a bit young for the hippie scene, though I remember wearing bell-bottoms when I was eight. I was madly in love with Davey Jones at the time. πŸ˜€

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  6. I made my first visit — I hope there will be more, anyway — to San Francisco this past summer: one of the silly but fun things we did was taking a 3-hour Movie Tour of San Francisco: the guide pointed out Haight-Asbury along the way.

    On another note, I was sad to hear that you lost your father when you were a boy. Not sure what else to say, except that I’m sure that was difficult.

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    1. It was rough losing Dad that early, but it all worked out for the best. Mom remarried a few years later and had another child…

      Haight-Ashbury is a relic of the late 1960’s. If you go back, be sure and walk around the neighborhood.

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