Sunday, May 17, 2015

From Avalon to Dylan

Up at five in the morning. I wrapped my hair on big rollers then placed the cap of my portable hairdryer over them. Snuggling down on the sofa with a pillow tucked beneath my neck, I turned on the hairdryer and tried to get another hour of sleep. I might be a little tired that day, but my bouffant hairstyle was worth it. Thus was the life this once teenager in the mid 1960s.

There was quite a change between the years when my sisters grew up and those of my own.  A revolution was taking place. Teens questioned and followed new paths. Skirts were shorter. Hair was longer. Jeans were part of my wardrobe and wearing a guys button down shirt was a fad with shorts.

At the Alumni Banquet instead of a speaker, music from the honored class eras was performed. The music rocked and rolled just as we had in our teens. Our class perked up as we all felt the music once more. With a little encouragement, we probably would have all gotten up to dance. I looked at the young people who were the class of 2015. I wondered what they thought of these grandparents sitting at a table, 50 years graduated, and mouthing the words as they swayed in their seats. Who were these old people?!?!? Well, we were some of the first to do the Twist, the Mashed Potatoes, the Monster Mash, the Frug, the Hully Gully, the Watusi, the Pony. We were part of the dance explosion, dances that are still seen in movies today and alive again on the dance floor.

Times, they were a changin'. Fads were aplenty. Afro hair, banana seats on bikes, turtleneck shirts and mini skirts, Granny dresses, lava lamps and smiley faces. Tie die came into being along with love beads. It was a big step from the 50's to the 60s. And, we were the generation that saw it happen.

New thoughts and ideas came to be in the 60s. For some it was difficult to change old ways. For others doors were opened that had always remained closed. Cultural walls were being torn down when the youth called for change. People were willing to fight for their rights even if it meant death. Our music reflected the questions teens had probably always thought about but were afraid to ask. Individuals began to think for themselves and to step beyond the comfort zone of their parents. The world changed. Some thought for the worse. Some determined to make it better for all people. In churches and in streets, men, women, black and white held hands and became one voice. It was a time of change.

Perhaps the music is what I remember most. We experienced it all. Rock, Folk, Pop, Soul. Music about love, war, outrage and peace. Our feelings were reflected in a new way. We felt it, we danced it and most of all we loved by it. Frankie Avalon to Bob Dylan. A generation that grew up quickly. No wonder our parents couldn't keep up.

I am still a girl of the 60's. Part of a change in this world. A change that needs to be continued. We are the past and are still a relevant future. No more rollers at five in the morning. Still dancing across the floor when no one is looking. Still singing those folk songs. Not seeing bellbottoms in my future and positively forget my backside fitting on a banana seat. But today is still the future for those open minded, loving adults from the 60s. I, for one, am proud to be one of them.