Rapt attention

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Let your freak flag fly

I had long hair as a teenager. When I finally cut it, the ponytail of my gigantic, curly mane hung 14" long down my back. It was your basic unruly "jewfro." While it was fairly normal to see hair like this in New York City, when I moved back to Southern California in 1974, it was not. People around these parts really didn't have hair like this at this time. I was a full blown hippie pariah.

Kids at school looked at me like a freak. My own little brother John was so ashamed he refused to walk on the street with me because he was embarrassed and asked me to walk a block in front of him on the way back from school. The Vice Principal thought I was a terrorist and told me so the first day he met me at Oxnard High School. Said he was sure that he would see a lot of me at detention.

Unfortunately, no pictures exist of my hirsute period. Or so I thought anyway. Yesterday my friend Pat said she found a picture of me at school on Ancestry. Oxnard High, graduating class of 1975. She said she would send it but I just looked it up myself. Bingo.

That is me bottom center, shades on, knees and arms Indian style. I had a feather earring at this point, I believe. Worked to support my mother and brother during this period, my mom completely incapacitated from a nervous breakdown. 

I wish the picture was sharper but you get the idea. Kind of look like my wife here, honestly. Or a guitar player with the MC5. Some of you might find this shot amusing. I have never seen it before. Never saw the yearbook, never went to a reunion. 

I had dropped out the previous year and hitchhiked across the northwest, living on various school buses and communes but came back and graduated so my mother wouldn't flip out. Got out of Oxnard as soon as I could.

Anyone have more pics of me from this period, please send them over.


Anonymous said...

Very cool! That’s a righteous look!

Anonymous said...

figures that you would be "front-and-center".
A Diva even way back then.......

Anonymous said...

Hey, you were an official high school hippy back then, lookin’ good.

I hadn’t known you lived in Oxnard for a while.

When I was 15/16, my family lived in Camarillo for a year, from 1968 to 1969 when Pops was stationed at Oxnard AFB.


Blue Heron said...

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was recurring non a non b chronic active hepatitis, Oxnard was a low point in my existence. Never felt healthy there, had an apartment right on the beach in Oxnard Shores. Abby was there for a couple weeks. Later we found out that it was built on top of a Chevron PCB superfund site. Go figure.

Jon Harwood said...

Clearly a natural revolutionary.