Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the Way Home - Open Letter to the Class of '71

I hated High School for the most part when I was in it.  I find it amazing that if you live long enough and you chew long and hard on enough of the things you loathed in your youth that you can, with diligence, become quite an authority on humble pie.  I don't have room in my heart for the kind of hate I sported just 20 years ago.  There goes more of my crumbling edge.  Well...taa taa.

This coming weekend is my 40th Class Reunion....Class of '71, Eureka High School, Humboldt County, CA.   The challenge of the average kid born in the 50's in California, having access to mind expanding drugs, the sudden exposure to completely here-to-for unknown ideologies and the corresponding flood of consciousness all carried upon the gossamer wings of Rock n' Roll was simply remaining alive.  For many of the Class of '71 all of this happened when we were in 6th grade or so. Think about that...Think of your elementary school grandchild smoking hash before crawling onto the couch with the rest of the clueless family to watch Bonanza and tell me that is not a recipe for disaster. Being the only one to notice that the Cartwright Ranch did not resemble any sort of a "real" hacienda was an enlightened detail whose value was completely lost in importance on the average family of the time.  With a 1001 of these small perceptions breaking on the shores of our tender, young minds the knowledge that the revolution would not be televised seemed a bit of an understatement. Is it any wonder the song "Stayin' Alive" made such an impact in the seventies?

It is with that kind of survival spirit usually reserved for shell shocked veterans of a foreign war, that the class of '71 finds itself converging possibly saying things like, "My God!  Are you still alive?  Amazing!  I thought you shot down in the Haight!  Far out!  So good to see you!"  We know what we are referencing and we are familiar with those cultural seedlings planted in our lives; even if the younger bystander chooses to romanticize the era.  Most of us by now have wrestled our turmoils over High School and have settled into an understanding of our own uneven footing and awkward presence in life at that time.  After 40 years? The statute of limitations has expired even if we have not.  It is time to let go and count blessings.  Yeah absolutely! I'll be your Facebook friend and I am sincerely happy for people making their lives as they have.  We survived and we all have similar marks of a time of special enlightenment. We were all in some way originating from that cultural nesting and we share a commonality. Given the outstanding and unusual height and architecture of that nest, the bond is almost mythical; the childhood stories among us, legendary in the context of their time.

I'm unable to attend this reunion but I am posting this in my absence.  I know some will understand the relief I felt when finally, in the 90's, I stopped having the bad dreams about forgetting to go to Algebra class for an ENTIRE quarter. (Seriously...a reoccurring dream....for years).  I'm happy with what I have retained of that time of my life.  I'm a child of my culture.  I cannot love music any more than I do without imploding, I am resilient, still mathematically challenged and I deeply appreciate questioning authority...especially my own.

I wish you all a plethora of good friends and healthy, happy families through all the rest of your days. Party on my friends and, as always, be advised there is warning out on the brown acid...Let's continue to take care of each other out there.

This is the 9 minute version of "Bluebird".  Some of you may want to bail at 3:20 into this video and rattle the ice in your high ball in salute ...but for those of you who are inclined, consider relying on your memory, if you can; or...reload that pipe, if you're able.  The flight of the Bluebird all the way to the end just might carry you home.

Want more? On The Way Home

Thank you franzia14999  for the "Bluebird" video.
Thank you sixties4ever13 for the "On the Way Home" video.


marciamayo said...

God, Cile, you write so beautifully.

On another note, you mentioned your new job. Congratulations or condolences or both. What are you doing?

sedonamoonshadow said...

Very nicely said. Love love love

Tstull said...

Hey Cile, this was wonderful... obtw, it was really a great piece of writing. and it was sooooo good too. Thanks for the words and the healing and a tiny piece of your mind and honesty and some serious reality from someone who has been there. And for anyone who doesnt know... those really were your legs... no kidding :)