Gardner_02-1988
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My Country 60's

I lived in Vermont from 1962-71, and I met many of what I later came to call 60's people. While I recognized them for what they were at the time—that required no great penetration—nevertheless there were things about them that puzzled me: Why did they suddenly appear in droves there and then? Why were they taken so seriously? Most puzzling of all, how was it that they completely escaped analysis and criticism?

The way we got mixed up with the 60's people is a little embarrassing to relate. In September 1962, my wife and I and our four small children moved from Massachusetts, where I had been teaching, to a farmhouse on a remote hillside in northern Vermont. We had a dozen hens, a cow, $300, and the rent was paid for two years. I did not know then and I cannot tell now what we thought we were doing; "living off the land" may have been part of it (though that movement had not yet begun), but I am not sure, simply because I am uncertain as to whether we had gotten that far in our thinking.

Because of the appearance of our situation, as well as the fact that the place we rented belonged to a locally notorious proto-60's person (in the fullness of time—and of bitterness—we called him Mr. Simple Living, after a pamphlet he wrote extolling the virtues thereof), it was assumed by all that we belonged to the new breed. So we saw the 60's world from inside, while our lack of money...

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