Who I am and what Story Peace is about.
This site is for generational peace through storytelling. My name is Lisa Gruwell Spicer. I was a child of the Flower Children. Growing up in the Sixties and Seventies as a counterculture kid seemed normal, even wonderful, until the Eighties when shame and stigma cast the movement as a social embarrassment.
Yet counterculture ideals live on. We could thank hippies for saving us from wonder bread, nylons, and ties, for starting community coops with organic whole food, for recycling, repairing, and reviving folk arts. The movement brought new ways of thinking about ecology, medicine, healing, peace, human rights, multiculturalism, feminism, child raising, learning, love, community building, spiritual autonomy, and solar power. There’s a book titled, How the Hippies Saved Physics. All this was happening with magnificent music. Why was the movement discredited?
To understand my question, I turned to anthropology. In 2012, I conducted a year-long ethnographic field study of back-to-the-landers in Mendocino County, where my mom bought a small farm in 1970. The powerful call, Return to the garden, caused a rapid influx of young families to this rural redwood community of loggers and ranchers. It was ironic that the newcomers arrived with ideals of living in peace and learning how to live off the land, because their arrival created fear, conflict, and resentment among the old-timers.
In the 2000s, high school reunions brought me back and I found the town’s transformation remarkable. Once culturally divided, now there is cohesion and tranquility. How did this community realize the ideal of peace?
How Hippies Changed a Rural Redwood Community This is a story of community resilience told through ethnography, which means "culture writing" (or recording), in this case, counterculture. Looking back to the 1960s and ‘70s, this ethnography explores the...
Story Peace is a place for stories about the counterculture. It starts with blogging selections from my ethnography, Finding Common Ground, retitled as Collective Effervescence. It explores the reason and the meaning of the counterculture. The study turns to story as we learn about the impacts of back-to-the-landers on a rural redwood town. It concludes with how they became a resilient community, having to do with live music and chicken dinners.