ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969
This is Chapter 28 (day 20):
GOING UP THE COUNTRY
Written by Alan Wilson
Performed by Canned Heat
Recorded at ID Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California 1968
Drummer: Adolfo “Fito” De La Parra
The next morning Molly read out loud from An Adventurer’s Guide to Travel Across America as they rode through a landscape of shinnery oaks and prickly pears, past the vast grasslands inhabited long ago by plentiful buffalo and bison herds, land tended by the Kiowa and other tribes before the Homestead Act of 1862 sent white settlers pouring into the territory.
“You mean before invaders brought cholera and chaos to Indian land,” said Ben.
“It doesn’t say that,” said Molly.
“It wouldn’t,” said Ben.
Molly frowned. “Why wouldn’t it?”
“Because ‘the Kiowa and other tribes’ didn’t write that book,” said Ben.
“This is an official guidebook,” said Molly, looking in confusion at the cover.
“That’s the problem,” said Ben. “There’s the official version of the past, and there’s the real past.”
“How do you know which version is real?” Molly asked, genuinely curious.
“Start paying attention to who’s telling the story,” said Carol. “The story changes depending on who’s telling it.”
Molly put the book away but not her questions.
They entered New Mexico at Texline.
“Going Up the Country” indeed. I was not familiar with Canned Heat, at all, but I knew this song of theirs from its radio play (it was also sung at Woodstock), and knew it was considered a “rural hippie anthem” — and we’re getting into a new hippie incarnation now, with Ben and Carol and baby Moonglow along for the ride, and an education Molly and Norman would never have received at home in Charleston.
Chapter 28 begins a new way of seeing the wide world and those who inhabit different places in it, and hold different stories from the history we’ve been told.
A totally different experience of living awaits Molly and Norman in New Mexico’s communes, populated by young people who are trying to carve out an existence away from materialism, commercialism, and the life and goals of their parents… and far away from war.
I knew I would need expert readers here, as we segued into New Mexico, and we got them, from enrolled members of Indian tribes in the area — some of whom were students at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 1969, to those “kids” who had actually lived and worked in the New Mexico communes in 1969 and built a life there.
What an education *I* received as well. Research can take you very far, but to hear people’s stories who lived that time, and to be the lucky recipient of their expertise and knowledge about your subject matter… this is essential to writing history. You want to get it right.
And you want to have a dog… you neeed a dog:
Molly came around the corner from the bathrooms and the ice machine and saw her cousin with a garden hose, a bottle of shampoo, and something living, white with foamy suds.
“We’ve got a dog!” Norman called as he wrestled with the animal, who clearly wanted to be anywhere than where he currently was.
Molly stalked past Norman without a word and boarded the bus.
They had a dog.