Editor’s Note: First in an occasional series about the author’s 45th anniversary of San Francisco in 1967.
I had returned to San Francisco after the groovy times of 1966, where I would sit on the stoop with the Grateful Dead at their house at 710 Ashbury in the Haight District, sipping a java (and that’s not all), or with Janis (Joplin) at the I-Thou Coffee Shop just before she hit the big time and left for fame.
By spring of 1967 it was changing. The musicians above, along with Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe, Santana and others had gone national. I no longer carried the Airplane’s instruments across the street from their house at 2400 Fulton to Golden Gate Park for them to practice and to have Grace Slick hand me a couple of passes for their performance at the Fillmore that night. Janis no longer crashed at 112 Lyon just two blocks from where I shared a Victorian with a couple of other free thinkers. The Dead were not dead, but they were gone.
This was Easter week 1967, and a human tidal wave from the East had filled Haight-Ashbury with wannabe hippies, runaways, and students seeking instant enlightenment in the form of an acid trip, or with the help of any number of bogus gurus. Tourists, after reading articles about us in Life magazine and Time, clicked away with their cameras. I posed with my beads and corduroys in front of the Pall Mall Lounge (1500 block of Haight), flashed a peace sign, and went inside to buy a Love Burger with cheese...