Last night, Anchoress put up a pair of YouTube videos of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary and Henry Gibson of Laugh-In and I went to bed with the words to Puff, the Magic Dragon in my head, thinking what a different world it was then.
I mention it on this blog because people commenting on Catholic blogs today usually write about the Sixties, the time of Vatican II, through the lens of today. For a good many of them, it’s a time they only know about from history books with the inevitable photo of Woodstock and movies like Field of Dreams. In that sense, I can understand the comments about “those long-haired, jeans/peasant skirt/bell-bottomed, drug-smoking/stoned protestors carrying flowers, love and peace, “No More War,” and “Save the Whales” signs and singing Beatles songs on guitars.
It’s so easy today to caricature that time. Usually there’s an unspoken “if I was there, I wouldn’t have done any of that stupid stuff.” Silly people. There were, of course, some who weathered the storm better than others, but there seems to be a lack of understanding of a) how engulfing the storm was and b) the decades in question were not a unique aberration, but a focal point, a “perfect storm.”
For now though, the deaths of Henry Gibson and Mary Travers brings back good memories. Whatever political humor that was in Laugh-In was completely lost on me as I was too young. I just thought it was very funny. Then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for one-liners.
Peter, Paul and Mary provided much of the music of my childhood. Puff the Magic Dragon was a staple that I associate with families and young children. Leaving on a Jet Plane connects with John Denver’s songs: music which, to paraphrase a commercial of that time, was part of the fabric of my life.