Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 12, 2014

01/12/2014 — Lee Ward: Missed ‘hippie’ time; movie rubs it in

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — My cousin Bobby was a full-fledged hippie when he was in college.

Honestly, I rarely saw him and didn’t really know him until we were well into adulthood. I was a grade-school child when he was in college and my parents kept me away from his kind.

But how I loved what little I knew about Bobby!

He had long hair, which kept the family ticked off.

He protested the Vietnam War, which particularly ticked off the men in the family, all of whom served in the military.

He loved school and aimed to stay in it as long as possible, which might have been the least of his offenses.

As for other behavior and interests of my favorite cousin, I’m sure if we knew more, some of us would be even more ticked off and some of us would be even more enthralled.

Although I was pretty ignorant about his experience in college, I looked forward to going to college and being a hippie.

It was my bad luck to have graduated from high school and begin college in 1980.

When I arrived on campus with my long hair, rock-and-roll T-shirts and incense, I was greeted with a bunch of uptight, short-haired conservatives who would never consider making a scene, either by being too loud or by showing up for a sit-in. Goals included acquisition, not peace and love. It was dog eat dog. The ’80s had begun.

As if we needed a bigger signal of a sea change in our social psychology, Ronald Reagan was elected president and John Lennon was assassinated during my first semester.

The 1980s went on to become my least favorite decade and it all came flooding back to me when I saw the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Even in the previews, I could see the movie was full of materialism and greed, but as one always hopes while watching a movie, somebody surely would get their due in the end.

In this movie, they did not.

There wasn’t even anyone to root for — not one person with good qualities to triumph over the greedy snakes in the grass.

The movie not only reminded me of how much my personality was shaped by the 1960s and ’70s, but it also enlightened me; I learned I also was shaped by my negative reaction to what the 1980s stood for.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.