Monday, January 03, 2011

1967 ~ The "Summer of Love"

Click on image to enlarge - © 2010 jim otterstrom

A digital self portrait I made from a photo taken in 1967.
The original photo probably belongs to Que? magazine, but the digital rendering is mine.

I was sitting on an old bridge over Topanga Creek playing my guitar one day in 1967 when a pretty young hippie girl came over to listen and hang out with me. A few moments later a car pulled up and some very busy people with cameras and tape recorders rudely interrupted our barely budding relationship. It turns out they were "journalists" for a Mexican magazine, I think it was called, 'Que?'. Anyhow, they were on assignment in California to do an article on the phenomena of the hippie culture. They took pictures of me and my new friend of a few minutes, asked a bunch of stupid questions, then sped off. A few months later, during '67s "Summer of Love", I was living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco (of course) and while walking down Haight Street, saw my picture on the front of a Spanish language magazine at a newspaper stand. Even though I don't read Spanish I bought several copies (for my mother) and this self portrait is made from one of the pictures in that magazine. I liked the photo because of the nonplussed expression on my face as I scribbled my name and personal info onto a piece of scrap paper for the female reporter who had just interviewed us, using my guitar for a desk. Unfortunately, my lovely new friend seemed quite disillusioned that I would waste our precious time talking to people like that, and left right after they did.

The well aged photo is one of those crappy little halftone things that doesn't render well by scanning so I decided to lend it an authentic '60s feel by jazzing it up in Photoshop with some acidy looking psychedelic effects.

Oh, if you thought it was a photo of me writing songs, poetry, or philosophizing, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I was 21, and into Girls, Love, Nature/ Environmentalism, Peace, and Music, in that approximate order.

I have no regrets over my deliciously squandered youth, life is to be enjoyed, and I had the good fortune of being young in an amazingly uninhibited, free-spirited time & place.

Imagine the odds, out of the entirety of the vast cosmos, that your molecules, your atoms, would be evolutionarily woven into the living fabric of this beautiful planet Earth, of the stunning Milky Way, to eventually become part of a human, born and raised in sunny Southern California, just in time to spend your youth wandering the canyons and beaches of a rapidly fading paradise, amidst the 1960s no less, a time of unprecedented freedom of expression for our species.

In the end, we are but the stuff of stars, and I find peace in knowing the very essence of our being sings within the breath of time, while dancing toward the mystery of tomorrows.



Blogger Madcap said...

Happy New Year, Jim and Peggy!

I was a teen in the 80's, in an evangelical home. Can't get more uptight than that! Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have come into a less fraught world.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I am guessing that while your are older and haven't changed much. Really nice photo!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Gardenmaster said...

Ha! Working on my computer in Orchid's kitchen, went by my blog and the list of blogs I follow to find this posted. As my eyes fell on the picture I thought was Jim Morrison, the play list I was listening to starts in with "In Spite of Ourselves" the duet Prine does with someone I don't know - thought I was having a divine intervention right there at 3:02...

Happy New Year!

3:08 PM  
Blogger Gardenmaster said...

That wasn't clear... sorry. In the instant I saw your photo, the Prine song came on -THATs the sense of divine intervention. I've been doing a lot of writing the last 24 hours and I think my verb/subject relationships have been stretched into couples counseling...

3:11 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Happy New Year, Jim & Peggy!

As always, we loved your post. Hope to see you soon.

The Hendersons

6:40 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


Well, my world was rather fraught too until 1964 when I stumbled into Greewich Village, then my life became quite magical for many years.

And your world seems to be growing more magical by leaps & bounds in recent years...


I'm definitely older, maybe a little wiser, and you're probably correct in guessing that I haven't changed all that much.

I still love Women (especially one of them), I still believe in the power of Love, I still thrive on the beauty in Nature, I still long for Peace on Earth, and I still think Music is the human species greatest achievement.

I'm glad you like the photo.


David! Hello to you and Orchid, and Happy New Year...

'In Spite Of Ourselves', and 'We're Not The Jet Set', are both duets with John Prine & Iris Dement, and they are both theme songs for goofy lives of Jim & Peg.

I've been told that I used to resemble Morrison, especially with the beard.

How did you like that Carrie Rodriguez & Skip Taylor stuff?

Amy & the clan at Goat Hollow Farm-

We need our Henderson fix too, maybe we should set up a Skype playdate? I'm always glad you enjoy my posts Amy, I just wish I could be a little more consistent with them.

Much Love to you all, and Happy New Year!

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