notquiteold

Nancy Roman

The Popular Table, Part 2

In the summer of 1969 – the summer between high school and college – there occurred an event so enormous it changed my life forever.

I know what you are thinking – Apollo 11 – the moon landing! The triumph of science and exploration!

Umm.  No.

Woodstock!

I wasn’t there.

In fact, I was so oblivious, I didn’t even know it had occurred until after it was over.

But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a turning point in my life.

Once somebody more “with-it” clued me in (which was basically everyone in the whole world, including my Mom and Dad), I embraced the Woodstock Nation with my whole heart and soul.

I embraced Richie Havens and Joe Cocker.  And Crosby, Stills and Nash (…but not “and Young’ yet…that came later… but then he became my new favorite…mostly because I had a boyfriend who looked like him, and I could tell myself that my boyfriend was not incredibly homely… he just looked like Neil Young…)

But anyway.

I became a full-fledged hippie.

Okay, not really.

I became a hippie in the “dress like a hippie” sense.

How I loved the clothes!

I had bell bottoms where I cut the seams from the knee down and added more material (in a contrasting fabric) to make them really wide.  And I had long flowing tunics. I had altered a pattern by adding extra material to in the sleeves…. (yes, I added extra to everything – and I could get away with it, since I still weighed 96 lbs).  I could buy one yard of material and two hours later I had a new flowy top.

(The above paragraph makes me sound like a fabulous designer and seamstress. I feel the need to clarify this. I had a sewing machine that went backwards and forwards, and I could do that – go backwards and forwards on the sewing machine, if I added a ton of swear words.)

And  I wore headbands. Not Hillary Clinton headbands. Pocahontas headbands.

Oh yeah, my favorite headband was a studded leather headband that had long braided tails down the back.  Which was as close as I could get to long hair. Although I had long longed for long (I think that is actually grammatically correct) hair parted down the middle, and had every intention all my life to grow my hair out, I didn’t actually have the patience for the growing out part. So I just permed it like crazy, and went with the afro-hippie style. And I had an African boyfriend for a very short time who showed me how to make my ‘do’ really big.

Woodstock changed The Popular Table.

I no longer yearned to sit with the fair-isle-sweater set. I wanted to sit with the moccasin-and-love-bead set.

And I was perfectly attired to do so.

Except for one thing.

The Woodstock Generation didn’t really care that I had a good Woodstock costume. It turns out I had the perfect clothes for people who didn’t care about clothes.

A girl in my dorm wore her father’s pajama top, and she was welcome at The Hippie Popular Table.

I wrote decent poetry, and I marched in anti-war protests, so I was closer to fitting in than my sweet but pathetic high-school self.

But I was still a nervous, shy little girl with a shitload of brains and not an ounce of charisma.

So I watched The Popular Table from my own table of sweet smart misfits.

In amazing jeans.

populartablecollege.jpg

(I wish I had a photo of my Hippie self. For some strange reason, it appears that no photos exist. I asked my mother why. It seems that my parents were waiting me out.)

39 Comments

  1. Except for the African boyfriend, this could be me. Unfortunately, I don’t weigh 98 lbs. any longer. Sigh…

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  2. Been there. Great post!

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    • I miss those years…. at least some parts of those years.

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  3. Nice post!!!Made me to smile:)

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  4. Alas, looking the part is not enough. I think you can only sit at the Popular Table if you have the right blood line.

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    • I think during the Woodstock years,the right blood line referred to your blood-intoxicant level.

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    • I think during the Woodstock years, the right blood line referred to your blood-intoxicant levels.

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  5. I loved this phase. It was after my Annette fixation. I call it my “Cut my hair just like Cher” phase. I can’t believe some of the things we wore!

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    • I also loved this period – for lots of reasons, but many of them had something to do with fashion. Years ago, my niece called me. Her mother had been telling her about all my cool hippie clothes, and she wanted to know if I had saved any of them. She wanted them. For Halloween.

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  6. I wish there were more pictures of that era too…. I had the Cher bangs for a long time and of course I cut them myself. obviously. Also had Beatle hair for awhile, even though I am a girl??
    Great post. Brought back lots of memories.

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    • For one brief moment, I even had Toni Tenille hair!

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  7. The one thing I inherited from my grandmother was an old beat up sewing machine. It was apparently one of the first electric models and I had to work it with my knee. Like you, I could make it go back and forth and I used it to make those jeans. The wider the bell you could make the better. Twice I sewed through my finger making them, so there was literally “blood, sweat and tears” in those jeans. I’m thinking the band of the same name probably thought it up while working on their jeans.

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    • I remember putting a zipper in a dress. It was a long maxi dress and the zipper took hours. And then I found out I had put it in facing the inside.

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  8. I love you went through this phase! How perfect. I will bet you were adorable all turned out in your hippie attire. I will also bet you bathed frequently unlike some of the more terrible of those living in hippiedom.

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    • Yes, I was a very clean hippie. I tried to stop shaving my legs and underarms, but I couldn’t bear it.

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  9. I had a pair of pink and purple paisley ‘low rider’ bell bottoms that I paired with a pink blouse that had a ‘flounce’ at the neckline with matching ‘cuffs’. I was, like you, around 95 pounds in 1969 and I thought I looked AWESOME (I also had a floor length multi-coloured striped ‘vest’ that I made myself)! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don’t have any pictures of me during my hippie days either!

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    • Oh my! A floor-length multi-colored vest. You were at the popular table for sure! I had a black shawl I had crocheted. I also had a yellow flowered poncho from Mexico for the cold weather.

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      • Ponchos! I’d forgotten about ponchos! I made one out of a pink and purple woven fabric (do you see a trend here?!?!?) I wore that thing EVERYWHERE! And I never got to sit at the ‘popular table’ at my high school – I went to a school where ‘hippies’ were definitely frowned upon (I actually hung out after school with kids from the ‘trade’ school – GASP!)

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  10. Too funny. I remember bell bottoms with contrasting fabric and the tops you describe. Your sketch is outstanding. It’s hard to believe how much time has passed and how quickly.

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  11. Ah! A moment to remember the summer of ’68 before going to college in Chicago. I embraced it all when I got there…….bell bottoms, headbands, anti-war protests, Buffalo Springfield (there’s somethin’ happenin’ here). Thanks for the great post!

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    • Oh, Buffalo Springfield – brings me back! Did you know that Steven Stills was under consideration when they were casting the Monkees? The story I heard was that he had bad teeth, and he told the casting folks that they should consider Peter Tork, that he was cuter.

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  12. Even if you weren’t really a hippie hippie, in your hippie outfit you probably scared people like me who were the 30ish squares. 🙂

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    • I looked like a ten-year-old playing dress-up. Not very scary.

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  13. You’re pretty damn cool here in the ‘sphere, Nancy. The rest? It’s history!

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    • I realize now that it is not possible to be cool when you are trying that hard.

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  14. I was slightly younger (1982 was my summer of love) but all I ever longed for was to be a hippie. In college I followed the Grateful Dead, made and sold tie dyes, and ultimately started dating my husband because he had a van. Not a mini-van, a real deal Chevy Van. Every skirt I owned had bells on it. I always kidded myself that if I had been a little older I would have made it to Woodstock…but all that outdoor muddy stuff would have driven me crazy, Richie Havens or not! And as long as we’re on a theme, I weighed 112, which is now the approximate weight of my left thigh. The good old days.

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    • I’d like to go back and have more fun. For all my my fashion efforts, I was actually a very serious student. I know better than to be serious now.

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  15. I was SURE this post was going to end with a photo. but, as usual, your drawing is just as good. ;o) love the hair.

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    • Thanks… I asked an old friend if she had any hippie pictures of me. Maybe I can post one eventually.

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  16. dragonhavn (@dragonhavn)

    Oh, heavens, I remember those days, although my first sewing project was a high waisted “grannie” dress …now that I’m a grannie, wouldn’t be caught dead in one, but the fabric was nice. Having a small widow’s peak and wavy hair, I couldn’t hippie hair for beans … and the weight… we are sooooooooooooo not gonna go there, but then I was part of the outcast creatively socially eclectic group that talked to everyone and belonged nowhere. Yep, we were the wierdos, LOL. You were cool.

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    • Oh, I always wanted a widow’s peak! I got a cowlick instead.

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  17. Your illustration is just as good, if not better, than a photo!

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    • Ever notice how much cuter I am when I draw myself than in my photos? Uncanny, isn’t it?

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  18. Oh, how I want to see the photos! Just trying to envision it is pretty fun.

    I love your follow up paragraph on sewing. I was delighted to make bibs for a friend who was pregnant with twins. My instructing friend took this as a sign I was ready to leap off into greater sewing adventures, but no. I was just glad to have been there, done that . . . once. 🙂

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    • My mother used to say that she always knew when I was sewing or typing, because it was the only time I swore.

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  19. I don’t remember fully embracing the hippie look, probably because I was NOT 96 pounds. But my sister did. She had the Pocahontas hair and the long, yarn, macrame vest. Those jeans are groovy, man.

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    • I was incredibly groovy – fashion-wise. Brain-wise, I was incredibly old-fashioned.

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  20. No, you don’t want the pictures. They wouldn’t be anything like you remember.
    But the leap you describe was about much more than fashion. It was about discovering who we wanted to be, rather than who others told us we were supposed to be. Some of us did that more successfully than others, but the big thing was we now knew there was a difference. Sometimes just trying on different costumes helped. I’m thinking of guys who could be Indians or cowboys or yogis or bibbed farmers or Victorian-era dandies or comic book figures. It went on and on.
    As I said, you don’t want the pictures.

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