The ‘60s through the ‘70s was an important era, with changing art, music, fashion and attitudes. Our peaceful villa by the sea began to slowly evolve into the lifestyle.

In the early ‘50s, the Bohemian influence centered in Lake Union where four of us rented a large houseboat and experienced great gatherings with artists and intellects — definitely a precursor to the Beatnik and Hippy eras which beckoned even more exploration.

The first to be influenced by the hippy generation seemed to be college students from the University District. It was all about vegetarianism, yoga, Transcendental Meditation and physical health that appealed to many. Eventually, protesting, draft dodging and that herb that many said should be burned (a little at a time) became the norm.

Long hair, bell-bottoms, beads, platform shoes and women wearing long-flowing flowered dresses became the look of the day. This unfamiliar fashion decree slowly made its way from Seattle city center to all the neighborhoods.

There were a lot of singles in Madison Park, so the hippy scene happened with little effect —concern for world affairs was minor. There were fashion changes, but the draft card, bra burning and protesting happened elsewhere.

Due to serious crop failure, I could not grow long hair but I could grow a beard. The coffee clutch at the Madison Park Bakery was the hangout at the time, and when I joined in one day a neighbor purveyed my too-light-for-primetime beard and asked, “Dick, are you one of those?”  Huh? What category would this be? I answered, “Just a fad.”

In the early ‘60s, a friend and I went to a tavern not far from here. She and I engaged in small talk while sitting in a booth and sharing a pitcher of beer. A guy at the bar apparently didn’t like me or my beard, as I must have represented “One of Those” to him. He spoke loud enough for all to hear and said, “Bearded draft dodger!” As his remarks grew louder, the owner came from behind the bar (I thought I might only have a few minutes of conversation before being asked to leave) spun the guy around and said, “What’s wrong with you, man? Are you on a bad trip or what?” and kicked him out. I had just completed military duty. It was not infrequent that this type of thing happened throughout the hippy movement.

There was no dress code for the very first of many concerts and festivals, but evening wear: sports coat and tie, with a date in a dress and high heels was the norm. 

The Iron Butterfly musical group was to play at the Eagles Auditorium, so we stood in line, and once inside it was general seating, which meant sitting on the floor. Feeling conspicuous in our conservative attire, I looked around and at my date and said, “We are overdressed!” I removed the jacket and tie and rolled up my sleeves while my date removed her scarf, rolled it tight and turned it into a headband. The music was great and all the hand-rolled cigarettes passed around filled the air, somehow making the whole experience better.

At social gatherings thereafter, dress was definitely less formal with the new fashion as the 8-to- 5-ers raced home from work to get into the more comfortable attire and, in a word, become “hip. The Attic and Red Onion welcomed all and were jam-packed.

Madison Park didn’t have any musical concerts, but Leschi and Volunteer Park both had music festivals. Stereo FM had just become popular, so a neighbor across the street played the left channel on his sound system and I played the right side. All those walking or driving down the street got the full effect of stereo. People stopped and sat on the curb. Soon the wine came out and it was a party. All this led to frequent outdoor dining with candles on the front lawns of many.

A big event to hit Seattle was the Great Piano Drop, which took place somewhere near Mud Mountain Dam near Enumclaw. It was a gathering like Woodstock on a small scale. In the early evening, after a full afternoon of music and treats, the crowd cheered as a helicopter slowly flew far above and released a large grand piano. It thundered to the ground and the crowd applauded and cheered. It was truly a happening to be remembered, depicted by the souvenirs taken.

There were demonstrations citywide — on the freeway and downtown — but the traffic was so light people were able to avoid the congestion usually. A psychologist friend “dropped out of society” as they used to say, and lived in a commune in California. He would call or write a letter and describe how the new lifestyle was a great diversion. Nearby some dude would have a barbecue on Sundays, but most were vegetarians. The owner had some pretty radical views and went by the name of Charles Manson. Our friend finally returned to corporate America and L.A. life.

The point when one can say, “This is it!” is the moment of realizing the vibrant abundance we have here in Madison Park, as my German grandmother used to say, is more than “gut enough!”