Regular Americans Speak Out Part 3 Hippie and Programmer

A series of essays from various regular Americans on love, work, and life in these United States including a hippie, a programmer and a person from the Bronx.

America Speaks


lives on a 70-acre farm in Oregon in a semi-commune with her husband

"I went to California in 1966 after I graduated from high school. My parents moved out there, and I went too. It was just when all that good stuff was happening. There was just the most incredible energy. I'd come from the Main Line in Philadephia, really posh, egotistical, money-oriented scene, where our social stuff was based around drinking.... I had said, 'Oh, marijuana, what's that all about? I'll never smoke grass.' And then my younger sister turned me on. I went out with her and her friends and we started getting stoned, and then the next week we took acid. A month later I moved away from home and lived up on this mountain, which was just about a half hour away from where my parents lived. It was up in the redwoods. There was a little log cabin up there. It was the 1st commune that I ever lived in. A bunch of really nice people....

The beginning of that whole scene was really good. You'd go into a park and people would turn you on and smile, and you could just hold a stranger's hand and walk along and talk, and just feel really at ease. Then a lot of hard drugs started showing up, a lot of speed, and that naturally changed a lot." (From : Good Times by Peter Joseph. New York, Morrow Paperbacks, 1974.)

RUTH NELSON, systems analyst

"I enjoy working in the field of data processing for many reasons; one is that the work is done by individuals. I've heard many programmers express the feeling of satisfaction they get from doing a job entirely by themselves rather than with a committee. They identify with the system they use in working with their particular type of computer.

"Another thing I like about programming is that you always know when you've made a mistake, because when you do, the system won't come out right. Then you're able to keep on trying until you finally get it perfect. There are no maybes, only wrong or right. There may be many different ways of approaching a problem, but only one that will come out exactly right. I get great satisfaction from having done something correctly." (From: Saturday's Child by Suzanne Seed. Chicago, J. Philip O'Hara, 1973.)

GENEVA, East Bronx, New York City, N.Y.

"I want to get out of this neighborhood. It's too filthy around here to raise children, and like sometimes you see people on the street eating out of garbage cans. Like the other day I see this man. He didn't look like a bum, you know, but it looked like candy he was taking out of the garbage cans and everything. So it was my last 500, but I gave it to him. I said, 'Don't eat out of garbage cans.' And he said, 'Thank you,' and walked away. It doesn't matter to me that it was my last 500, but it makes me sad and mad for him eating out of the garbage can." (From: The Block by Herb Goro. New York, Vintage Books, 1970.)

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