Technically I guess it would have been post middle age, menopause perhaps, when Mom discovered something, and perhaps it wasn’t just a change in her, it was a change in the world, but for whatever reason, during the ’60’s, not hers, I guess they’re Caesar’s, or whoever it was who made the silly calendar that says it’s 2017 now, she would have done her 40’s during the ’60’s, she was born in ’20, but that’s when the change happened.
Technically I never knew Mom as anything other than middle aged, or old, because I was one of those late babies, Mom was almost 40 when I was born, already at a stage in life very different for most folks from what one thinks of as youth, or in one’s prime. She’d been raising kids for years by the time I came along, had two sons of prime draft age during the sixties.
The draft was something that existed back then. It made a difference.
When the Hippies showed up, Mom fell in love. She fell in love with the art, the music, the love, the sexual liberation, the language, the poetry, the resistance to wrongs, the flowers in their hair.
Oddly enough, not the drugs, Mom was never one to alter her consciousness, didn’t drink, couldn’t hold her alcohol well, at all, the rare glass of wine at the holidays made her very silly. She tried smoking weed once, didn’t like it, at all, which was fine.
Whatever turns you on, ya know? She dug that attitude.
She and her youngest sister, on the edge of Hippie, she herself almost a little too old, a decade Mom’s junior, so over thirty, pushing forty, and that was a thing, Don’t Trust Anyone Over Thirty, but she was very cool, too, and a social activist, one who marched along with the Hippies et al. when that first attempt at Revolution went down, the two of them took my sisters and me to the movies to see Woodstock when it came out, Rated R, none of us girls eligible to get in without a parent.
Mom was a good parent and got us in.
And she fell even more in love, with all of it. She’d already been into the music, mostly the folk singers, she loved Dylan, easy to understand, she was an Okie, her brother played guitar and sang Woodie Guthrie songs, but she loved lots of the great lyrical music coming out, loved the Motown sound, the dancing, Dick Clark and Bandstand. Fun stuff.
Woodstock kind of blew her away. She raved, and I mean raved, about that kid who played the drums with Santana, sat wide eyed and grinning at the kids romping naked in the mud, the babies and the twenty somethings, all of it. Joan Baez enthralled her, that voice, and Richie Havens, strumming the guitar’s body as much as its strings.
Joe Cocker? Can anyone watch that performance and not see something very, very special there? Crosby Stills and Nash doing the Suite for Judy Blue Eyes, spectacularly, great stuff. She loved John Sebastian, loved Country Joe, even if he did spell out that bad word, he followed up with the Fixin’ to Die Rag, a masterpiece.
The whole show gave Mom kind of a new perspective on life, a good thing to do, when one passes that point that is middle age, moves into elderhood; gain new perspective. At ten, which is what I was, well, it did quite a bit for me, too.