The Day I Met Janis..It was a cold winter’s night in the middle of December, 1969. There I was, standing on the street called “St. Mark’s Place”. St. Mark’s was where I hung out. It was the East Village (lower east side of Manhattan). I did more than hang out in the streets, I lived there. Most people do not understand street life; they think living in the streets means you sleep in the street. That is not always the case and it was not the way it was for me. I spent my waking hours hanging out. Sometimes I would be panhandling; sometimes I would just stand and watch the people go by. Sometimes I would watch them watch me, like those brightly colored tour busses with the gawkers and their flashbulbs.
We called ourselves “freaks” but everyone else called us “hippies”. Didn’t they know that all the real hippies were gone? Sure, there were those that looked like the flower children of yesterday, but there were posers. We called them the “bourgeois hippies”. They were those that came to the East Village on weekends to attend the concerts at the Fillmore. They lived in the comfort of their mommy and daddy’s home in the suburbs and never went hungry. They wore bell bottoms that were sold in boutiques, not those found in Navy surplus stores. They had money and lots of it. Those “hippies” had no clue about the ideologies embraced by those of us that lived in the subculture. They still revered the values of their parent’s and we – the real hippies had thrown that all away. Materialism was not only rejected it was our enemy.
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