Back in the early 60s I was like every other small town kid I knew. I had an American Pie in the sky, flag waving mentality and nothing could convince me this wasn’t the best country in the world. I was a child of the “New Frontier” (a phrase JFK often used) and the world was beautiful.
His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” (You can read the entire speech here; (http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html )
On November 1963 that world ended though when two shots rang out in Dallas, Texas and this country alas the WHOLE WORLD lost a hero. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/john-f-kennedy-assassinated) It seems overnight my world changed; I woke up. My carefree life was shattered and I began seeing all the things around me that needed changing. I joined a crowd of radical students and began attending political rallies and Peace Marches and began spouting anti- war slogans. My dream was to join The Peace Corp when I turned 16.
By the spring of 1965, “teach-ins” against the war were being held on many college campuses. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized the first national antiwar demonstration in Washington and 20,000 people, mainly students, attended. (http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/vietnam/antiwar.html) I was there and after that there was no going back.
My Mother and Father had informed me if I went I might as well pack my things and keep going so about a month or so before my girlfriend and I packed our things and drove across the river to Louisville KY and rented a small efficiency; even though we weren’t old enough to drink we found jobs as dancers to support ourselves and bought an old 1957 Chevy. At the demonstration she met a boy who was headed for California and left with him –leaving me on my own.
Shortly after I returned I drove my maiden run for what would later be called ‘The Freedom Train’ when an ex-boyfriend and his then pregnant came into the club one night and asked me if I’d drive them to Eureka, Montana a town about nine miles south of the border that divides Montana from British Columbia when you drive along U.S. 93 where some friends would get them across the border into Canada. We left the next day after I traded the Chevy for a 1964 VW bus.
From this point on I wasn’t to be stopped and by the Summer of 1967 I was well known for be actively involved for peace and equal rights –MY SOAP BOX WAS GETTING PLENTY OF USE. http://www.the60sofficialsite.com/Summer_of_Love.html
Somewhere in the 70s I traded my VW bus for a Ford and my bell bottoms and sandals for dresses and heels. For a time I “was content to walk around with my eyes closed and wrapped in my cloak of pretense to conformity and normality but in my 30s I re-awoke and pulled out my soap box and began anew.
Now in my 60s I’m again on my soapbox only now on a global – one world scale
It seems in this day and age it isn’t a popular thing to stand up for what you believe (sort of like the 60s) so who knows I might wind up doing more than raise a few eyebrows but you mow what THAT MIGHT BE A GOOD THING.