TITLE: Old Hippy Chick
By Frankie Conar
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The Old Hippie Chick
There she sits, an old hippie chick, back where she started so many years ago. Her rose-colored glasses have been traded for bifocals. The tired old eyes, a little wiser now, have seen beauty, happiness, brokenness, and pain. Looking around the classroom, she sees all the fresh young faces, and remembers a time when she was one of them. “Rules were made to be broken” was her motto; she thought she knew all the answers back then. Funny, how life seems to have come full circle.
An old Almond Brothers tune filters through her mind.
“Oh, when I think about the old days,
Lord, it sends chills up and down my spine,
Yeah life ain't what it seems, on the boulevard of broken dreams,
Guess I opened my eyes in the nick of time,
'Cause it sure felt like the end of the line.”
Occasionally she listens to hard rock stations, remembers most of the lyrics, and can still sing along with CCR, Black Sabbath, Santana, and the Almond Brothers Band. However, these days you will most often find her harmonizing with Third Day, By the Tree, December Radio, or Casting Crowns.
As the students filed into the classroom, several had given her that ‘look‘. You know, the ‘look’ that says, ‘Oh brother, what‘s an old lady like you doing here?” Feeling out of place, she tries to go unnoticed, as she sits half way back along the far wall of the collage classroom. “Do these kids realize the opportunity they have? Do they even care? How many of them think life is just one big party? Like me at their age, I‘m sure they think they know it all.”
She smiles to herself as she looks around at the fashion of the day. She should have saved all her hippy clothing. “I’d fit right in,” she thinks and then softly chuckles picturing her fifty-six year old grandmother body in her favorite hip hugger, bellbottom, blue jeans. Completing her fashionable attire would be her favorite peasant top, love beads, and head band; she would look ‘groovy, man‘. Her five grandkids would howl with laughter and her kids would be mortified to know she was dressed that way in public.
Drugs, sex and rock-n-roll filled her collage years. Attending class and studying was not always on her list of priorities. She is starting back to college thirty-five years later; many lessons learned the hard way, and many pounds heavier. She remembers what she thought about the ‘old people’ -- those over thirty -- who were coming back to collage. The ‘Establishment’ was a joke; they were just a bunch of out of date, old foggies who didn’t understand the peace movement or the ‘New Generation“. We have a better way; we will not conform was one of the many battle cries of the day.
Would the kids listen to her and take her, hard learned, life lessons to heart if she talked to them? They probably would not listen to her anymore than she listened to those who tried to warn her. “Should I risk trying to get to know some of them and face ridicule and rejection?” she thinks; “Or stay in my comfortable cocoon where it‘s safe and I can go unnoticed?” “Could I make a difference in their life, should I even try?” Once she was just like them; but now she admits, “I may not know all the answers, but at least I know the questions.”
Recognizing the vacant yet pain filled eyes of a young girl, sitting in the row beside her, she takes a deep breath, smiles and says,” Hello, my name is…
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