Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Scary II …

Following up on my “Scary I” poem from yesterday, I quote a story from yesterday’s Los Angeles Times that should push those of us who remember the saga of Haight-Ashbury a bit closer to the edge.

   


From the Los Angeles Times

NOT A LOT OF LOVE IN THE HAIGHT

(Gutter punks roam where, 40 years ago, flower children protested the war in Vietnam.)

By John M. Glionna
Times Staff Writer

May 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — From his second-floor apartment at the counterculture
crossing of Haight and Ashbury streets, Arthur Evans watches a new
generation of wayward youth invade his free-spirited neighborhood.

The
former flower child was among the legions of idealistic wanderers who
migrated here during the Vietnam War to “tune in, turn on and drop out.”

But
Evans, who has lived at the same address for 34 years, says he has
never seen anything like this crowd, who use his flower bed as a
bathroom and sell pot outside his window.

They’re known as
gutter punks, these homeless kids with dirty dreadlocks and nose rings,
lime-green mohawks and orange spray-painted faces, who panhandle with
cardboard signs that riff on their lifestyles. “Please Help Us Get
Un-Sober,” one reads. Another: “Please Give Us Weed, Beer or Money.”

Sometimes
aggressive, they block sidewalks as they strum guitars or bang on
bongos. Gangs of them skateboard down the middle of Haight Street. Some
throw used hypodermic needles into a nearby pond they call Hep-C Lake.
(For rest of story click on :

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-haight29may29,0,4307925.story?coll=la-tot-topstories&track=ntothtml

.

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2 responses to “Scary II …

  1. lookingforbeauty May 31, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Having been a hippie flower child myself, I had to grin at this article. Thanks for posting it, bringing it to our attention.

    I can remember adults being horrified at our behaviour, our profuse usage of four letter words in and out of public, our carousing joyous spirits not conforming with the sedate, decorous behaviour of our parent’s generation.
    I wonder if it’s not much the same every generation, wherein the adults have established rules and regs which society in general finds acceptable and the youth challenges them, ignores them, makes up their own rules, lives with them a while, then remember that some of their parent’s generations rules were, after all, not so bad, and integrates them back into their acceptable behaviour.
    If not, how did these former hippies become so stable, so righteous, so conforming?
    I remember thinking in the ‘Seventies that if a hippie dressed individual decided to go to my parent’s church, they would have turfed the person out because they weren’t dressed appropriately for God’s house of worship. Imagine! Long hair!
    (I ask you, what length of hair is Jesus usually represented with?) At a minimum, the person would have been shunned or drummed out by a barrage of icily polite questions about where the individual had come from or who his/her parents were.
    I have a great deal of compassion and admiration for the Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission who welcome all to their services and give as Jesus would have to the poor and the dispossessed.
    I suspect that the young dispossessed discribed by this posting are lost children just as so many of the hippies were. Hippies were not all from bourgeoisie families; they were from all kinds of families and likewise dispossessed by a morally corrupt government supporting a war that America should not have been in.
    Every generation has its lost people; every generation its dissenters. These homeless in Haight, like the previous generation, are steeped in drugs. Unfortunately, the drugs available are that much more powerful now and the drug dealers far more intent on addicting people for monetary gain.
    How did we hippie children “come out of it”? Reclaim our dignity? Regentrify?
    Good question! Perhaps through experience – that one was not willing to put up with squalid or extreme poverty conditions forever; that eventually one had to take one’s own action to change that; by gradually admitting that one had responsibility to one’s self and to others; that education was a way up and out,and then got some.
    I’ve rambled on here, but I feel that the article raised some memories about how shocking the hippies were to our parents and how, through the grace of God and those who had true interest in helping people, so many of our generation were able to find productive, creative lives that finally integrated the best of the older generation and the best of the new.
    There is always hope. We need to tackle the gap between generations with respect for the underlying decency in each other which may not be apparent by our outer manifestations of protest and/or self preservation.

  2. citrus May 31, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for that thoughtful comment! Your experience, insights and compassion mean a lot to me and I expect our readers as well.
    Roger

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