For political and police experience, Berkeley and the off campus ferment of the university community were a full-contact training ground that spawned many of today’s political leaders in the Bay Area. At the same time, numerous proto-hippies were opting for neo-primitivism, including travel and trading in the southwest.
Various Native Americans became semi-shamans for the converts to Peyoteism, Mexican mushrooms and ceremonial desert retreats for self-
discovery. Mana Pardeahatan, the Apache, Crow Dog in his upriver retreat on the Rosebud, even Rolling Thunder, the Nevada Shoshone who was the spiritual guide to the Grateful Dead for several years. Being part of these changes was one long comic book, complete with heroes, villains and characters to fill out the plot.
After prowling the old West, many of us headed to the east coast, where the Boston collegiate subculture was booming and much taken by our cowboy and Indian trader image. Our stores of Navajo silver, saddle blankets and well worn Winchester rifles turned a nice profit on old Cape Cod, and the numbers of Ivy league lassies who came along for the riding was phenomenal.
Music was one bonding agent of our sub social system, with the off campus coffeehouse circuit acting as the meeting place and venue for the folk musicians of the era and the post beat subculture. From Boston’s “Turk’s Head” to the Village and Philadelphia, where we sold tanned Buffalo hides, back to Denver’s “Green Spider” and “The 5th Estate on Sunset.” Back the Cabale, in Berkeley we found out that our Apache roadman had been ripping off white trading posts from Oklahoma to the coast, and was being sought by the FBI, who were also interested in several of us as well. My running partner jumped to Hawaii where he became a native dancer in tourist hula shows.
I went to Guadalajara, where I lived with Bob Gump, the famous rake hell of San Francisco nightlife, now living as an embarrassing exile from his Frisco society family. His daughter, Sue Mallory, had been one of the new wild western scene in Nevada and the old man was glad to have some company, strange as we must have seemed to a forties era drunk.
What bothers me, these days, is the apparent memory loss among my still surviving cohorts. Like Hesse’s “Journey to the East” everyone seems to remember the events of our past differently, some from late onset denial, others in repentance for past sins, of which there were many among us. The stories we tell seem distant from the new century in which we are forced to live our much less dramatic golden years.
It all happened, once upon another time, and nobody remembers just what happened.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.