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 31 (day 17):
BORN TO BE WILD
Written by Mars Bonfire
Performed by Steppenwolf
Recorded at American Recorders, Studio City, California 1967
Drummer: Jerry Edmonton
“It’s a girl!” cried a young man with an enormous mound of brown curls falling into his eyes. He stepped out of the tipi long enough to let everyone know. “Her name is Summer! Born on the solstice!” He ducked back inside.
“Welcome Summer!” was the cry then as people circled the tipi and sang a song about peace on earth.
“To the meadow!” shrieked a gaggle of kids running and threading thenselves around the grown-ups.
“Molly, come look!” called Carol.
Norman’s bus sat in the parking area, painted white. A group of painters young and old were spattered with their handiwork Flam acted the role of inspector, walking around and around the bus as if his opinion on the paint job was the one that counted.
“Don’t you love it!” exclaimed Carol. Moonglow sat at her mother’s hip and clapped.
“How..?” began Molly, shocked. Norman would be so upset.
“We wanted to say thank you for the ride yesterday,” said Carol. “I saw that you’d started painting it already, so we just finished it for you.”…//
“Let it dry,” said Carol. “Then it’ll be a canvas just waiting for you, and you can paint to your heart’s content. We’ll help you. It will be fun to do in the meadow.”
There was no resisting them after that.
Back to “Easy Rider” for Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,” a song that still makes me want to run away from home, young and full of possibility, “looking for adventure; whatever comes my way.”
Which is where Norman is about to find himself, in full embrace of all kinds of new sensory experiences, including skinny dipping with the gang in the Aspen Meadow on the solstice, an experience Molly isn’t about to let him partake in.
Hugh Romney — Wavy Gravy — makes his first appearance in Chapter 31. Wavy is one of the real people I lobbied to keep in the story and found a way to do by cutting some other beloved sixties folks, as well as the better part of a chapter that I dearly wanted to keep, so Wavy could stay, and the story could move forward. More on that chapter coming up.
Wavy was — and is — one of my heroes in life. He makes an appearance in the last scrapbook of ANTHEM, too, arriving with the Hog Farm to be the “Please Force” at Woodstock in 1969.
Things are starting to get a little wild in Chapter 31, as folks from all the communes in New Mexico converge in the Aspen Meadow on the Summer Solstice, 1969. There really was this gathering, which you’ll read more about in the next chapter.
But first, Norman — who did not want to make this trip at all — is about to “let it all go for peace” — or maybe that’s love — and come into his own wild self.
As Wavy says, “We are all the same person trying to shake hands with ourselves.”