Got no flowers for your gun, no hippie chick
Won't make love to change your mind, no hippie chick
No hippie chick, no hip hip hip hip hip hippie chick
At the Nevada test site protest in '91, outside of Mercury Nevada.
My hair is almost dreaded. I would always catch it just before
it hit that point of no return -- so about every 6 months.
In fact, I was a hippie chick!
I had dinner with my good friend Maw the other night and she mentioned that she loved the picture of me topless in the desert from a few posts ago. She said she had no idea that I had been a hippie chick. Somehow these roots seem obvious to me, but maybe not so much.
Jean, Dave (my beau), Dr. D, Chuck, and Mark jammin at the Oregon Country Fair
So -- MAW, THIS IS FOR YOU!!! Enjoy!!
It'll probably be a 5 part series, considering I think I lived more wild experiences in the five years I lived in Eugene than any other time in my life.
I lived in Eugene, Oregon for 5 years and received my undergrad degree there. However, my community was not really the college scene. It was the alternative, underground, hippie community. And even that ranged vastly -- from other college students, who like me were really drawn to an an alternative way of seeing the world and living, yet still had at least a toe in the more mainstream culture (ie. as a college student) -- to folks who were so completely off the grid and truly living under the radar and off the land.
Jam session on the porch of the "single moms' house." Chuck (on guitar),
Dr. D on bones, Chip (on the fiddle), and Dave Heath (on mandolin)
Yeah, I know, almost all men in the pic.
My first introduction into this surreal world was working at the Butte Tavern, a total seedy, blue collar (timber and mill workers), on the "wrong-side of the tracks" bar in south Eugene. The place was a large cement box with no windows, pool tables, dart boards (teams for both), and Blues on Thursdays.
Alicia (still one of my very best friends, and still living in Eugene)
and Chuck with Daisy dog.
I still giggle everytime I think about the night I walked in and asked for an application. I REALLY needed a job and I think I'd seen an ad in the paper, so I went to get and application. It was like 7:00 at night, I walked through the door and the cloud of cigarette smoke wafting throughout the place; EVERYONE (like 12 regulars and the two bartenders -- all very long-haired, bushy and clearly NOT used to perky college students walking in) turned to look at me. I walked straight up to the bar and asked if I could get an application. The bartender (Frank, or Frankie as he dearly became referred to -- he was a big hairy bear, though I didn't really put this together until years later) was taken off guard and sort of paused and then said "uhhhh sure" and went in the back and got one. I had a beer, filled it out there and the next day Frankie called and said I had the job (apparently the owner Dennis was sitting at the bar when all this went down and he told Frank after I left to hire me).
Me in Dave's van at Cougar hotsprings
Soon, I was considered a special member of the fraternal order of blue-collar men who would gather everyday Monday through Friday at 3:00 pm to drink beer together and shoot the shit until about 6:00 at night. Frankie also started scheduling a lot more music. We had bands on Thursdays (always stayed Blues night), Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Henry Vestine (guitarist from the Mothers of Invention and Canned Heat fame) was a regular and Ken Kesey would occasionally hang out. This is also how I met my boyfriend Dave Hicks, who is really the one responsible for my experiences in the bowels of living off the grid in Oregon. Dave was playing with the band, Band of People and needed a poster designed (I was also just starting to do band posters for the WoW Hall). We met at the Butte to discuss the design, he came over that night, we went to Cougar hotsprings and then had a great, adventurous, tumultuous relationship for the next four years. I was 21, he was 30; in addition to the lure of the sexy, older guitar/mandolin player, Dave had been a nuclear physist for 6 years, saved the big bucks he'd made (being extremely non-materialistic), realized how fucked up the industry was, and left it all behind to move to Eugene and pursue an alternative life and his real love of music.
Dave in our kitchen
Back to the Butte Tavern for a minute. I'll share one of my favorite stories from working there. I worked the night shift/closing for the first 8 months I was there (7pm - 3am) -- alone during the week. However, this ended following a close call on a Sunday night - three guys had been there all evening/night playing pool and getting wasted. When I announced that I was closing, they started to give me a hard time and I was getting very nervous (remember, I'm 21) Luckily by the grace of god, Dave, who lived a couple blocks away just happened to walk in at that very moment to see if I wanted to come over. Anyway, close call.
Scary Dave drinking his morning coffee during the month long
hotspring camping trip we did through Oregon, Idaho, Utah,
Wyoming, and Montana.
So it was the dayshift for me now. Well every day, like clockwork, at 2:00 in the afternoon Harold would pedal in for his one can of Bud (my theory on the 2:00 - was that Harold wanted to avoid the hoohaw that would begin shortly after 3:00 when all of the mill workers would file in). Harold was probably in his sixties and had the look of someone who spent every day clawing his way out from 6 feet under (rusty bicycle in tow) just to ride on over to the Butte for his Bud. And he'd sit at the bar, barely saying a word, nursing his can of Bud (Bud was the Butte Tavern's signature beer - of our 5 taps, 4 were Bud and Bud light, Bud in a can, Bud in a bottle, Bud signs everywhere), stay for an hour and pedal out. Well on the special day mentioned, the group of us who are there - me, Frankie, and a handful of other regulars - see Harold coming from the street (during the day we'd keep both doors in the bar open cuz it was the only way we could tell that it was daytime since their were no windows) and Harold is riding up on a sparkly, spanking new turquoise Huffy mountain bike (Kmart's finest) with a bell to boot, and he's ringing that bell as he rides in like there's no tommorrow. We're all speechless. Harold parks that thing in the corner and sits himself down at the bar, grinning ear to ear (I note that Harold actually has a lot less teeth than I had thought). So we have to ask, "Harold, what's up with that new bike you got there?" Harold says "I won myself $22,000 in the lottery." So we all congratulate him and gather round to hear about the big moment and ask what he's going to do with the cash and he tells us he gave $20,000 to his grandkids for college and is keeping the other $2,000 in the bank, less what he spent on his new bike. And my Allman Brothers tape is playing and "Midnight Rider" comes on, when it gets to the chorus Harold stands up, toasts the air and belts out "and I got one more silver dollar ..."
Crawdads of Pure Love at the Beanery. Chip on fiddle, Dave Heath on mandolin,
Chuck on guitar, and Dr. D on bones.
I can't believe I don't have any pictures of the Butte because I know that there were a bunch, but I think they ended up with Dave when we broke up.
So that's all for this entry, I think I'll share stories of bus living and culture in the next.