On the train home from Vancouver British Columbian, I told a beautiful woman from Bristol England;
“I am a living museum!”
This declaration occurred just after we pulled out of the Amtrak station and after we crossed a river with three bridges. Tracy had sat down next to me at the small table in the Bistro car. We consumed our food in a unconformortalbe silence. We were strangers on a train.
An hour later, you could not shut us up. We were seated in separate cars next to someone. We fled to any empty car where the conductor sat alone at a table working on his papers. I begged him to let us sit in this car and chat because we just met. He gave us twenty minutes. An hour later we are seated at a table in the lounge car we alas found. I compare our conversation with one of my favorite movies ‘My Dinner With Andre’, but this is;
“My Breakfast With Tracy.”
We come out of long tunnel and two eagles have been startled by the train and swoop down over the water the train runs along.
“Look Tracy. Eagles!”
“Are those The Eagles?” This British Subjects asks.
“Yes! I exclaim, knowing they have blessed the Vision quest we have been on. “They are American Bald Eagles, the one you see on American passports.”
I take out my passport and show it to Tracy who let’s out a knowing laugh, we just having crossed the border and were not happy with the posturing and bullying that had gone thru.
Then, this question was put to me;
“Are these eagles quite common?”
Tracy was asking if we would be seeing many of these great birds from now on, now that we were in their land. All of a sudden I had a vision of an America plagued by an over abundance of Bald Eagles. They were more numerous than the pigeons in Rome. They were everywhere, fighting with seagulls for a morsel of garbage. Outside McDonalds there are signs that say;
‘PLEASE DON’T FEED THE EAGLES’
You see, folks were getting ther jollies by throwing French-fries in the air just to see the eagles swoop down and catch them in their sharp talons made for catching fish. But, those were the good ol days. These fries have turned our National Bird into a feathered pig, who didn’t bother to soar high into the air anymore, but waddled toward the outdoor diners who emptied whole bags of fries on the sidewalk when they squawked. Some took little kicks at them, which was against the law. When the cops were called in to stop these feeding frenzies, Americans would rise up and riot. They would go thru the downtown looting and burning, they shouting and screaming;
“No one can tell us to stop feeding our national symbol of democracy. No one!”
I looked at Tracy who was waiting for her answer. She was sincerely puzzled. She truly wondered if many eagles would be seen now that we were in the Land of the Free. There was only one other explanation.
“That was a very rare sight. We have been blessed, our quest. Those eagles are us…..The Last Messengers of the Final Transformation.”
Tracy is a black musician whose ancestors come from Jamaica. For the next two hours I explain the Southern Strategy and the agenda of the Evangelical Neo-Confederates. I tell her about the utterance of Lindsey Graham and the ranting of Rick Perry the secessionist governor of Texas. This morning, both men are on the news, news that was being made as Tracy and I spoke. Perry was telling woman what to do with their bodies at a Right to Life rally, and is assuring Latinos immigration is a wonderful thing as the Evangelical Congress prepares to shoot down the bill the Senate passed yesterday. Illegal aliens crossing our southern border is our national plague, and should be shut out, say some. So called Christian law makers are screeching;
“DON’T FEED THE MEXICANS!”
The Mexican flag contains an image of a Eagle swooping down to capture a snake.
* * *
At the Vancouver Museum, I came into a room that contained a 1956 Ford Farilane. I am amazed, and am telling this older couple I used to own a 1957 Fairlane. I tell them about the Ford truck at the Portland Historic Society. I am tell them I own the mate to this truck, and, I am one of the original hippies, if not the last hippie.
This couple are spellbound. They are ten years older then me, and agree this exhibit is of my era. I pose for a picture. I put on my Barret, smile, and give them a authentic peace sign – from the source! I was yet to see the three rooms they had just seen. When I entered the first one, I felt electricity running all over this surface of my body. It was a replica of a Hippie Bedroom, a woman’s bedroom. There were Bohemian clothes in the closet. There was an altar with a cushion to kneel on. I did not see the deity, but saw the candles and the incense. My Muse came to mind. Was this Rena’s first bedroom, her hippie nest she made for herself in Lincoln Nebraska afer we parted ways.
There were two more rooms with hippie memorabilia. One contained a Light Show box. One could conduct their own light show, but it was not plubgged in.
“Turn on. Tune in! And drop out!”
All of a sudden I realized I was the Real Thing, the Living Hippie come home alas. These were my things, in my home, in the House of the Three Muses. I belonged here. Here was my……………..”Sanctuary!” Here I could bring home Rena whom I rescued in LA. I saved her and brought her to a mountain top where perched like eagles we behild the sea far below.
My philosophy. My way of life. My vision of beauty and a new world had been exported to a foreign land where it took root and found a permanent home. Meanwhile, back in the state, I am hounded, questioned, put in a jar – and poked like a bug!
“A prophet is not known in his own land.”
Why is Vancouver, if not Canada, such a liberal country I now wondered. The answer came just now.
“People who love Victor Hugo find a home here – the French!”
I chose to come to Canada rather than fly to France!
I was called Aqua Lungs after I developed a love for beer. That is me in front of 1939 Ford panel truck. This was taken by my roommate, Peter Shapiro of the Loading Zone and Marbles. We lived in a Victorian with the rest of the band before this, along with Tim O’Connor who wrote ‘The Hippies Were Right” in Amsterdam.
I am getting of the Amtrak train in Eugene as ‘Oakland Jonny’. to get sober. I was living in a Victorian water tower and was under the protection of a crack gang whom I knew when they were children.
I am standing with my uncle and brother with a cast on my hand. Vinnie and June would give me their Ford Fairlane that is parked at the curb.
A museum is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities throughout the world and more local ones exist in smaller cities, towns and even the countryside. The continuing acceleration in the digitization of information, combined with the increasing capacity of digital information storage, is causing the traditional model of museums (i.e. as static “collections of collections” of three-dimensional specimens and artifacts) to expand to include virtual exhibits and high-resolution images of their collections for perusal, study, and exploration from any place with Internet.
The English “museum” comes from the Latin word, and is pluralized as “museums” (or rarely, “musea”). It is originally from the Greek Μουσεῖον (Mouseion), which denotes a place or temple dedicated to the Muses (the patron divinities in Greek mythology of the arts), and hence a building set apart for study and the arts, especially the Musaeum (institute) for philosophy and research at Alexandria by Ptolemy I Soter about 280 BCE. The first museum/library is considered to be the one of Plato in Athens.
Young people searching for an alternative way of life made Vancouver the hippie capital of Canada. Kitsilano, at the time a neighbourhood with cheap housing, became home to Vancouver’s radical youth. The 1960s and 1970s were a time of contention as the city grew in to itself and now internationally known “radical” groups like Greenpeace started right here on home turf. Groove on Vancouver, the cool city on the coast.
Visit the hippies’ communal house, try on macramé finery, and listen to great Vancouver bands from the late 1960s.
Look for your mom or dad, or yourself, in swinging footage of the Stanley Park Be-In.
Follow the action as Vancouverites – both hippie and straight – fought the freeway, saved their neighbourhoods, and changed the way city planning is done.
Post-riot therapy. Scout lists 101 awesome things about Vancouver. Glad to see we (and this blog) made the list!
Riot. An independent review of the police response to the riot is underway. The Vancouver Police Department has released a fact sheet.
The backlash continues. Employers of outed rioters are facing boycotts and negative press and in some cases are letting those employees go. Blenz has launched the first major lawsuit against as yet unnamed rioters.
The backlash highlights lines of cultural divide and prejudice between the city and suburbs. A lot of the blame for the riot has been leveled at the suburbs, but many suburbanites are disputing th
There is growing concern that some riot photos submitted to police have been photoshopped, and it’s likely that this will be a popular defence in court.
Rebranding. In light of recent marketing campaigns by Vancouver and Calgary, how does a city go about changing it’s image?
Gentrification. The Dependent looks at some of the people walking the fine line between gentrification and revitalization in Gastown and the Downtown East Side.
Language. There is now a dictionary for the Squamish language.
Local food. Turning a new page in the local food movement, the City of Vancouver funds a project to encourage people to replace their lawns with wheat.
Summer of our discontent. Past Tense remembers Vancouver’s Yippie civil unrest.
Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:
Rena took me to a museum. We are a Living Museum. The Jon and Rena collection.