Updated: May 4, 2019
"Paul Bestler took this photo of me at the Fair. I had brewed up peyote tea and was sipping it through the day. I was having a deeply spiritual experience in that moment, as I sat back watching the fair go by like a movie playing on the screen.
I had wanted us to have a Saturday Market booth at the Fair as part of the Community Village. Paul built it, along with a sweet little stage for craft demonstrations, and a sleeping loft above. I now had my own home at the Fair, a place to be and to share with friends. On Sunday mornings, folks in the Village held hands in a circle and shared a moment of silence. We would start a hand squeeze and it would move around the circle. We had the idea to expand it to reach around the entire fair. The idea emanated out from the Village, and before the Fair opened one Sunday morning, it caught on, the word was out, and everyone stopped and took a hand, and throughout the figure eight, thousands of us stopped, and for a moment, became one thing. It was just so beautiful, and to feel that hand squeeze move to and from me brought me to tears: we really were all connected.
I was in an altered state, but one of great clarity. It felt like I was connected to every living being, and I felt deep love for everything and everyone. I rested there. I was at peace and reflected on my life and what I saw was beautiful. It was 1982, and I now had a seven year old daughter. She was the complete love of my life. I was managing to survive as a single mother. And was even flourishing. I was part of this community. We were a family. I belonged. I was respected, loved, and able to share my gifts. I had amazing people in my life, Howard and Paul and Steve and Robin and Sparky, and Sarah Grace. So many blessings.
I could hear the marching band approaching. My heart soared to hear the Teddy Bear’s Picnic song, the Fair’s national anthem. I climbed down from my perch above the fair, and allowed myself to be carried along through the throngs. The marching band, costumed, playful and spirited, was escorted by the most magical giant puppets. I ran to become part of the parade, In that moment, I was a child, alive, happy, connected to everyone.
When we got to main stage, I found myself, like Alice in Wonderland, in yet another scene. Everyone was up and dancing. The music at Main Stage was electric and exciting and brought me to a place of great ecstasy. I allowed myself to dance with wild abandon, along with everyone. Being at the Fair was the childhood that I never had. I felt happy and free.
I often wandered, got lost, never sure what part of the eight I was on. I encountered lovely friends, both old and new, as I tripped my way around the fair. There was this song about how we fell in love at the Country Fair. I think it was my theme song as I fell in love over and over again at the Oregon Country Fair, and received so much love in return. Never before or since have I ever felt so at home.
From my soon to be published memoir, Hippie Chick: Coming of Age in the ‘60s.