elizabeth: Laurie and I went to see the revival of Hair this past Sunday in Manhattan. I remember reading about this tribal love-rock musical in 1967 and wishing I was older so I could go see it. But my parents had the local nunnery on their speed dial (my parents knew the Jetsons—look it up) and I was too cowardly back then to attempt incurring my parents’ wrath. Plus I would have been force-fed Frank Sinatra records and that could have scarred me for life. So finally this past Sunday I was able to let the sun shine in on a young girl’s wish.
Laurie: I was back in the land of Maryland during this time. I remember a boyfriend from Kentucky (my all-time Utopia), drove seventeen hours to take me back to Louisville for a vacation. Unlike elizabeth’s parents, my mother thought, if a man was involved, all was well. Talk about wishful thinking! Anyway, this guy, oblivious to the strict conventions of small towns, had the audacity of wearing a pair of jeans made from the American flag. Forget about gasps of astonishment and out-and-out staring. The tar was being warmed up and feathers were being fluffed as we fled in his psychedelic van.
elizabeth: I was a younger version of the cast of Hair in the late 1960s. God that sounds so long ago. Maybe because it is. The first thing that made the pangs of a time gone by catch me off guard were all the cute boys sporting young hair. Long hair. Fringed vests and bare feet. I can still hear my father’s muffled cry when one would darken our doorway looking to take his daughter out to some den of inequity. But the play was not just about getting high and sleeping with everyone with a pulse. If only.
There was a thing called the war in Vietnam that was raging during the time of looking for peace and love. And both were competing for the attention of the young men and women back then. That struggle was evident all throughout the play, and although a little weed or a sweet face could turn one’s attention away from the war, it grew bigger and angrier and looked to destroy the innocence back then. If only we could have held onto the basic theme of the play. Black, white, straight and gay co-existed peacefully. My pie in the sky has just landed to take me back.
Laurie: I always talked the talk, seldom walked the walk. I was definitely for peace. But living on the streets, taking drugs, and massive free love were never a part of my past. I did wear all the groovy fashions but my real cause was civil rights. That’s when I put my money (and feet for marching) where my mouth was. And I wish I could say I left Hair passing out daisies to everyone in Manhattan. I wish I was that cool. But I fear I have become my mother. I left thinking what a bunch of whiney kids. I tried to put the entire thing in the perspective of 1967, but the drug overdoses, STD’s, and hypocrisy of the times kept invading my peace-seeking mood. The war was finally over but others came to replace it, and most of my friends (even the grooviest) became mainstream.
elizabeth: Fast forward to today. We don’t live in that world anymore. Some never did. But for a little while the audience of young and old (I fall into the category of middlessence) came together when the Moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars.
Laurie: Yes, we were on to something and I’m glad I was alive to witness it. And in total honesty, Hair got me at the grand finale of “Let the Sun Shine In.” I crave that innocence, but we all have to grow up and pick up some survival skills along the way.
elizabeth: Today I found out that my older sister’s boyfriend from back then died. I hope he’ll let me sister know if heaven is really a Peace In. And is fringe still groovy?
Laurie: Wouldn’t it be great if we could make Earth a Peace In right now? Fringe and flowers optional.