Sep 24, 2011

Those were the days

I don't know if everyone looks back at their past and yearns for that glory that seems brighter with memory, but there are days of retrospect when I wish I had that free spirit. I suppose many would say I still do, but there is something about the bravery of youth.

I was a child of the sixties. The hippie community of Haight Ashbury influenced my thinking. I wore peace signs, believed love could conquer everything, and wrote poetry that was social commentary on what I felt was the ills of society at the time. I was a huge Beatles fan. I would listen on my tiny transistor radio to their music every night. Their appearances on Ed Sullivan were as close as I ever got to them. I even gave myself a Beatles' hair cut.
My friend Bonnie and I

 The 60's ended to find the Viet Nam war still raged and the casualties mounted. One of my friends was killed in the war and I remember viewing him in a glass covered casket. Simon and Garfunkel's song Bridge Over Troubled Water was the song of the hour. I wore a P.O.W. (prisoner of war) bracelet. Once it was placed on my arm I continued to wear it until he was released. The prisoner's name was Captain Konrad Trautman U.S. Air Force. He was captured in North Viet Nam on October 5, 1967 and was released March 14, 1973.

Yes, I suppose I look back and say "those were the days" and I thought they would never end, but life moves on. There have been many trials, tribulations, and blessings. I cherish each moment I have been given and pray I will have many more. My love of poetry still remains. I write almost every day. It is my voice to speak what is within. 

There Was A Time

There was a time
I wore flowers in my hair.
believed love
to be the universal theme,
and a peace sign was more
than a fashion statement.

There was a time when
I protested war;
marching in the streets
with signs begging
there be an end
to the carnage.

There was a time
when I wore
a silver bracelet
with the name
of a prisoner of war,
leaving it on my
wrist until he came home.

There was a time
when I was not concerned
with acquiring possessions.
The little I owned
was given to others
when their need
was greater than mine.

There was a time
should not be my epitaph.
there is still a need
for flowers in my hair,
for universal love,
for a peace sign
to mean more than
a fashion statement.

©Susie Clevenger 2011




  1. Susie, I enjoyed both your commentary and your poem. They tweaked some of my own memories. I had forgotten about that transistor radio I used to go to bed with. I loved the last stanza of your poem. There are lessons to follow from 'those days,' and perhaps it's time again to wear flowers in one's hair.

  2. Susie,
    I was a student at Berkeley in the late 60's. I watched with envy those like you. I was too busy trying to financially and academically survive to be much of a free spirit.

    I am still trying to survive but am much more of a "free spirit" than I was in my youth.

    If I were to do it over again I would do it differently but then again who knows . . .I could end up now very stodgy . . .

    Nice post. I like this blog a lot.

  3. susie.... this was such a lovely post...

    the silver bracelet thing... intrigued me...

    yes, peace is more of a fashion statement nowadays...
    people talk about peace to sound cool and to show they are all *angelic*!!!

    it's really sad... coz' today our planet needs peace more than she ever had....

  4. Hi Susie.. i like ur name :)

    @One of my friends was killed in the war and I remember viewing him in a glass covered casket

    Must have been the memory brings heaviness to heart anytime..

    The poem was so appealing.. felt like it was heartfelt..;)

    Nice to meet u here..would look forward to read many words of wisdom of you..

  5. Susie, this is amazing. Reading it made me so pleased that I picked Those Were The Days for this weeks prompt. I lived in London during the 60's and whenever I'm wishing I was a bit younger I remind myself that I wouldn't have been there if I was any younger.They say if you remember the 60's you weren't there. Nonsense. I WAS there and I DO remember it!They were the best days of my life.

  6. Great writing. I, too, was a product of the hippie generation, but I got over it. I enjoyed your memories!

  7. I really enjoyed this post and this poem. Thanks.

  8. I loved to hear that your POW did come home. Did you write him? Did he know you wore his name upon your wrist? I heard about MIA bracelets just the last year. Powerful image.

    I like the parallelism of the first and last lines.

    My Gooseberry picnic offering is here:

  9. Faultless sentiments beautifully put.

  10. Beautiful poem and the history that goes with it, well done

  11. Wonderful commentary and poem, Susie. Both are extremely well written, and combine to present a clear and moving message. Very well done!

  12. love this,

    profound childhood or young adulthood experience recalled, and the imagery is astonishing.

  13. I love this. It took me back to my days growing up in the 60s. I was a "flower child" also and ended up living in a spiritual yoga commune for most of the 70s. Sometimes I think back on those days and wish for that easier time when I didn't worry so much about "things".

    I wore one of those silver POW/MIA bracelets too and bought one each for my two daughters. My person had some controversy surrounding his remains being found--he is still considered MIA by his family.

    Thanks for sharing this--I really enjoyed it.

    Peace and love...