My roommates — the beautiful, long-haired, blonde siren named Starlight and Eric, the Nasty — and I sat outside the I-Thou Coffee Shop on the 1700 block of Haight in San Francisco. Eric was a big fellow from somewhere. He had received his moniker from Starlight not because of his attitude, but because she would have liked him to take a few more baths a week.
We sipped black coffee and passed around a doobie. We looked down toward Ashbury street. Eric mentioned about getting a greasy, but delicious “Love Burger” at the Pall Mall Lounge a couple blocks away. “Are you kidding, we can’t even cross the street,” answered Starlight.
This was July 1967 and across America the Summer of Love was blossoming with media from newspapers to radio and television proclaiming the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco the heart of the hippie movement. For us three “originals,” as Starlight was fond to remark, we had seen and experienced the peace, love, new ideas, new music and most of all a kindred friendship float in the air (along with smoke from a certain weed) above the cool City by the Bay during those halcyon days of the summer of 1966.
Now it was disappearing fast. Grey Line tour buses gave Hippie Tours. Tourists in their Lincolns and Cadillacs had no choice, with all the vehicles and people, to move at a snail’s pace down Haight Street toward Golden Gate Park. All the better for the wife to click away with her camera, but too much time for mothers to shield the eyes of their young daughters as they snubbed their noses at our disgraceful display of humanity...