Growing up on a Hippy Commune | What was it like to grow up on Americas largest commune? In the latTime 2021-11-20 15:11:24
Web Name: Growing up on a Hippy Commune | What was it like to grow up on Americas largest commune? In the lat
Description:keywords: description:What was it like to grow up on America's largest commune? In the late 60's, 320 San Francisco hippies took a caravan of 60 buses across the country & founded "The Farm" in 1971 on 1,750 acres in the backwoods of TN. It reached a peak of 1500 people, all who took a vow of poverty to live communally, self sufficient off the grid. During the 70's and early 80's, hundreds of children grew up knowing only this reality. Living in tents and school buses, knowing nothing of TV, packaged food, meat, make-up, pavement or electricity, secluded in another world of farming, horse wagons, outhouses, home birth, rock and roll, pot smoking, meditating and OMing. I'm going to do my best to share what it was like from the view point of my child self who knew no different starting from the beginning... The grownups are freaking out. Something called a Presidential Election is happening out in the world. All the grownups want to cry, they are having meetings and pacing around, wringing their hands with twisted worried faces.Evil men out there are going to start something called World War 3. If the one called Ronald Reagan becomes The President.Im so scared, were all going to die. Why? Why do these men want to kill us? In my secret place in the bushes by our bus I pray and wish and wish and pray that the bad man, Ronald Reagan, does not become The President so no one gets hurt and we can all live. I love our bus and everything around it and dont want it to blow up into nothing. It doesnt make sense, its not okay to hurt people and everything is so nice and pretty; the animals, the trees, the moss, the sky, the plants -how could anyone destroy nice things for no reason? I pray pray pray the grown ups can stop these bad men.They are going to do something called voting. If enough people vote for the good man, he will be The President and the bad man wont be and wont kill everyone. The president is the ruler of all the ignorant people called squares out there who dont live here. The grownups are very worried because all the square people out there are not smart and might vote for the bad man. They have to go out there and vote for the good man and make sure he wins. Squares are a shape like a box. Why are they called squares? What does it feels like to be a square person instead of a normal person? They dont look like squares, they look like human shapes are squares their favorite shape or can their flesh morph and squish into the shape of a square or do grownups just call them that for some silly reason? Sometimes grownups are silly and dont make sense.I am 4 and dont understand it all but I understand its very serious, the most serious thing thats ever happened. We are barely balancing on the edge of a world wide planetary fiery explosion if Ronald Reagan becomes President. After they vote, if he wins, he will click a button that blows up the world and everyone and thing- BOOM, were all gone, were all dead.Killing people is very, very bad. Guns are evil little things that kill people, and bombs are way worse than guns. We are not allowed to play guns. If any kid is caught pretending a stick is a gun or if they hold their finger like a gun, they get in huge trouble. Really huge trouble. They get screamed at, spanked, stashed and viewed as a terrible person for a while. Thats how bad guns are. I cant believe how brave some of the boys are to play guns outside and wonder what it would feel like to hold my fingers like that. I can imagine how naughty and good it would feel to stretch my fingers into that position and point them at something and pretend some kind of power is shooting out of my fingerbut it would probably not be worth how bad my butt would feel from a spanking, so I just stare in awe at the boys who pretend their hand is a gun. I dont tell on them because I dont want them to get spanked. They arent actually hurting anyone with their fingers, they are just pretending and playing. Why does it make the grownups so mad even though its not even real? Could their fingers magically become real if they pretended hard enough? The look on their faces seems so careless and unafraid when theyre doing it, even though any random grownup coming from any direction could see them and it would be all over. Fury from the grownups would rain down upon them, I cannot believe the incredible risk they take.I ask my mom why anyone would have war and hurt people they dont even know. She says some people dont like other people because of the color of their skin. Like if they have a different color. I dont believe it. That cant be real. Thats not possible. Its just not humanly, physically possible in any way. Its totally impossible and theres no way that can even be a thing at all. I cannot even fathom how anyone could even come up with such a wildly impossible idea, much less implement that wildly impossible idea. Its the most impossible thing Ive ever heard of. Even if there was another reality, like in some dark tunnel outside of this reality, where impossible was possible, it couldnt even be possible there. Because no matter what color someones skin is, they are still a person, just like you, so it would be impossible to not like them just because they had different color. Theres just no way that could be. But my mom says it really is true. I stare off through the trees somewhere out there is an extremely strange world with extremely bizarre people that make no sense at all.After a while, after the vote, our worst nightmare comes true! Ronald Reagan does win, he does become The President. Its time to die.But miraculously, we dont blow up. And the grownups just go on acting like everything is pretty much normal again, acting like they never acted like we would all be blown up if Ronald Reagan became The President.But they all get cartoon t-shirts. I play outside our bus watching the big tall men stomp by in their cartoon shirts. The bad men are on their shirts, their cartoon shirts that say TAKE THE TOYS FROM THE BOYS. Do these men want to take toys from boys? Thats mean. I keep observing the grownups and their weird shirts so many of them wear now. The 2 giant cartoon men are sinister, ugly and laughing and they have a big black bomb they want to light. One of them is Ronald Reagan. I finally get it, the bombs are their toys, even though its not a toy, its a bomb. And they are the boys, even though they are not really boys, they are men They are bad men and they are real, not just cartoon shirts, they live out there and wear dark suits, and want to blow up the world and kill everyone with their bombs. Thats why we need to take away their bomb toys. But if the evil square guys want to blow everything up, and they have those bombs, why havent they? Why hasnt Ronald Reagan blown up the world already?Thanks to Patty Ibur for pic of shirt she pulled out of chest. It’s almost like I remember! I wrote the story before seeing this image I hadn’t seen in decades, so it’s not perfectly accurate but the description of the impression it made on my child mind, is. lol
Besides having no house, no bed, no toys, no electricity or indoor plumbing, no money, not enough food, not getting to call your mom Mom, getting punished and spanked by random strangers, getting 3rd world parasites you also get, drum roll please: no childhood photos! That youre not even in.
In these communal days, when our parents moved there, they signed a Vow of Poverty and had to give up everything they owned to the commune. All their money, car, tools, furniture, books everything was was handed over to be communal. Anyone who had a camera, that was taken and given to The Media Crew. You could only take photos if you were one of the few people on that crew with a camera. Most people were doing hard and tedious labor, on farming crews sweating in the hot sun out in the fields, building crews, baking, firewood, sucking shit out of hundreds of outhouses, etc, etc. A few lucky people were entrusted to the awesome easy job of taking photos for the whole commune, since it was a commune and all, and everything was communal. The people who got to take photos used equipment and film the community provided, ate the food the field workers grew, lived in the houses the builders built, shat in the outhouse the shitter truck crew cleaned, sent their kids to the school the commune built and teachers teached at, living completely off the hard labor of their community, while they snapped pictures of people hard at work, kids at play, whatever they wanted. These were our photos, all of our communal photos.
I didnt even know anyone had a camera. I thought only visitors had otherworldly alien technology like cameras. I am not in one of these thousands of communal photos. And that never bothered me much because, well, there was thousands of people, its understandable the Camera Crew didnt get a picture of everyone. But, although not actually in any of them myself, I can completely relate to the pictures, and almost pretend Im in them kids on horse wagons going down dirt roads one of my earliest memories, a mother walking her little kids to The Store for rations exactly like my mother did when the roads were dusty and the trees were only that big, the pictures of the fields and skinny hairy people working in them just like I remember, lines of odd hippy hillbilly traffic at the gate, the noisy soy dairy making tofu, the giant greenhouse vibrating with plant life that I loved, Services where I sat in a meadow trying not to fidget every Sunday morning with hundreds of meditating hippies, the creeks I learned to swim in these are my precious childhood photos, that the Camera Crew took.
I dont know if my birth mother had a camera when she arrived and handed over everything. We only have a handful of photos from the communal days that my grandparents and a few visitors took.
My mother wasnt on the camera crew, she woke us up at 5 in the morning to drag us to The Woodshop to make breakfast for the Building Crew, up to The Gate for long gate duty hours, into the hot fields for farming, over to households infested with lice for nitpicking, to the hot bakery for bread baking, washing households of shitty diapers, stuff like that, no sweet leisurely job like taking photos.
So when the communal structure crumbled and everyone went scrambling, although the shitter truck guys who had to suck up the shit of the camera crew guys during the communal days get nothing tangible in retrospect, all the hard laborers get nothing, people who handed over their entire inheritance get nothing, one of the camera guys wants all the communal photos to be his and only his and he wants to hide and protect them from the world. While the people he took photos of shedding blood, sweat and tears for him to survive on during those years get nothing, he claims the communal photos as his. The photos he took DURING the COMMUNAL years, not before or after the communal years, but during, while no one else had a camera or the opportunity to take photos of this incredible historic time.
Yep. So then, hundreds of kids who did not sign the Vow of Poverty or ask to grow up entrusting a tiny handful of people to take their childhood photos for them, get no childhood photos of their extremely unique amazing childhood -even though theres thousands of them. Even though this man did indeed sign the Vow of Poverty and agree to live communally, he claims the communal photos as his. He says hes copyrighted them. He threatened and harassed me into deleting them from my Growing Up on a Hippy Commune blog. I cried a little as I deleted them, feeling it as a very sad loss.
<<< Thank you for your visit >>>What was it like to grow up on America's largest commune? In the late 60's, 320 San Francisco hippies took a caravan of 60 buses across the country & founded "The Farm" in 1971 on 1,750 acres in the backwoods of TN. It reached a peak of 1500 people, all who took a vow of poverty to live communally, self sufficient off the grid. During the 70's and early 80's, hundreds of children grew up knowing only this reality. Living in tents and school buses, knowing nothing of TV, packaged food, meat, make-up, pavement or electricity, secluded in another world of farming, horse wagons, outhouses, home birth, rock and roll, pot smoking, meditating and OMing. I'm going to do my best to share what it was like from the view point of my child self who knew no different starting from the beginning...