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A Different Drummer
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A friend of mine from back in the day when we were both graduate students at Berkeley (South Asian Studies), mid '60's, has recently been in touch with me again. It was wonderful to hear from him, what's happening now, what has life brought in the last 40 years.

And I found myself thinking back to those days of ferment, chaos, demonstrations, counterculture, sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll.

What a time it was. On the one hand you hand the buzz-cut, button-down, white shirt and tie, engineer and business types, very much the old guard of the 40's and 50's, having had their fight in WWII, facing the middle age crisis by pursuing another war in Vietnam.

On the other hand were the young people, teens and 20's for the most part, anti-war, women's lib, civil rights, free love and a nascent computer culture, marked by torn jeans, sandals, long hair, headbands and experimentation of all kinds, rebelling against repressive authority.

Each side had its uniform.

I belonged to neither -- and both. I was in sympathy with the movement towards free speech and civil rights and women's equality. I wore the jeans and tee shirts and beads and sandals. Joined the group around the police car during the Free Speech Movement.

But my clothes were clean. I paid my rent and my bills on time. I went to all my classes. I studied, just as a good uptight WASP was supposed to. In reality, I marched to my own drummer, straddling both worlds.

I joined one commune, where we were equal partners in a big old house, but when all the boyfriends eventually moved in and they started growing pot on the roof, I moved out.

I tried to join another commune, but they sensed right away that I was too square for them. I wouldn't do drugs, have group sex, that sort of thing. I actually expected the other people to pay their share of the rent!

So I lived with a foot in both worlds. After returning from the Peace Corps (India), I became an elementary school teacher (Talk about pillar of society--had to wear hose and heels. Ugh!) but lived miles away from where I taught, and evenings and weekends were spent in my other world, where I could relax, wear jeans, and be myself.

Civil Rights. Women's Lib. Did we make a difference? I think we did.

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