Monday, April 22, 2013

Deja vu

Ritchie Havens died today. He was some kind of bodhisattva, an angel, something like that. Ritchie Havens was not of this planet, but I'm glad he came to visit. I loved his music, his voice, the way he played guitar - everything. What a passionate guy. His cover of All Along the Watchtowers is one of my all time favorite pieces of music. It is such a powerful rendition. May Ritchie fly high!

One thing that's crazy about early old age is the beginning of the end of the generational cycle into which we're born. It's not only about the deaths of contemporaries - so many more than earlier in life - but the deaths of icons who were part of the generational soul. We baby boomers have a powerful generational soul, believe me. Our archetypes are starting to die off. It's alarming.

I'm no romantic when it comes to that period of time, when I came of age. It was exciting, true. Just like now, there were upheavals in society, rapid changes in terms of the cultural norm. Society opened up during the 60s, everything changed. It was powerful, but unnerving, at least to me. Letting it all hang out? Never my best thing, but especially when coming of age. I was a nervous wreck.

Not only was I not at Woodstock, but I would have been miserable there. Too many people, too much chaos. I know someone who literally lost her mind at Woodstock. She was institutionalized afterwards for awhile. Someone else was there but has no memories whatsoever of any of the music. Another friend, when I asked about the experience, said, "What I remember is standing ankle deep in mud with the worst hangover of my life."

Oy. I know there were those who had an ecstatic experience at Woodstock. Something happened there, it was a big magic as I once would have said, requiring a lot of horsepower to work the generational spell. It required humans - lots of them. I am very grateful I was not among them.

After the bombings in Boston, the explosion in West, Texas, etc. what came up for me was how scary the early sixties were. Our president was assassinated, his brother, too, and then Martin Luther King who was kind of the Dalai Lama of that era. We watched the Vietnam war on television. We were still influenced by the cold war, that is: paranoid as hell.

Oh yeah, this period in history right now? It feels like the sixties, people. Like I've been saying.

I miss the sex.
I miss the drugs.
I miss the rock and roll.



Steve Reed said...

I am very sad about Richie Havens. And it IS strange to see people in that generation leaving us now. They seem like they should still be way too young. Joan Baez is 72! Grace Slick is 73! Joni Mitchell is a comparatively youthful 69! It seems impossible, but that's how it goes, right?

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah. We aren't the first or the last to realize how short and precious life really is.

ellen abbott said...

yah. it's not nearly as much fun without the sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Reya Mellicker said...

Dang, man.

Kerry said...

RIP Richie.

Long ago I remember joking that when we boomers landed in nursing homes, the music would be rock 'n roll. Lawrence Welk would be out, the Rolling Stones in. And the drugs would change from LSD to statins.

Pam said...

I agree with Kerry. We had this discussion last night in a pub - except I said 'No more Vera Lynn and Mantovani. - our nursing home music will be very different!'
We had an Australian band in the 1960's who used to belt out a song with the lyrics "We gotta get outa this place, if it's the last thing we ever do" - someone said that would probably be quite apt for our residential care sentiments, because of course, it would be the last thing!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ahh ... Eric Burdon and the Animals.

Kerry you know they're researching medical uses for LSD again - and discovering that statins are not good for us and that cholesterol blood levels have nothing to do with heart disease.

I'm telling you, this period of time feels just like the 60s.