In 1970 my Father was furious that I was hanging out with hippies and always carrying a tambourine. During one of our arguments (at a neighbourhood party no less) I told him that all people over the age of 30 should be sent to farms. When I turned 30, my father handed me a birthday card and asked me when I was leaving for the farm. Touche Arthur Knight-touche!
The town of Carleton Place either had a band of hippies ride through town and park themselves at Riverside Park, or their youth were changing and the townsfolk wanted nothing to do with it.
Tonight- three edited letters from 1970 The Carleton Place Canadian from the files of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum for your enjoyment. Then a story dedicated to my hippie youth.
Edited for length-1970
This is in reply to Mr. Pat Burke’s letter in your paper, October 7th 1970, and also to a letter of some time ago.
I am not an educated man as I would like to be, to use the words that some people understand, but only to write the words that each and every one can understand.
This letter does not mean war, but only to make a reply not only to Mr. Burke, but to others as well
I am not against nor am I in favour of the teenage youth or the hippy which some wish to be called. I for one object to the dress of the hippie or whatever they call themselves. Whom do you represent with your hair? Yes, years ago we men had long hair, but these were doctors and lawyers. What are you?
You speak of war and I am now wondering if going to war was worth it to make it a free country and freedom of speech. If we hadn’t, you and the others wouldn’t have much so much to say.
What about those dirty hippies you speak about in the town park at night? Did you or most of the others stay in a tent or a trailer in our park? Why do you suppose the authorities closed the park at 11 pm? The dirty language and destroying the toilet facilities there– not only for us but for the tourists. As a taxpayer I heartily agree in it being closed.
Now the music some of you speak about. Some of it I like very much. Did you ever try and purchase it on sheet music? Did you ever try turning it down and asking your parents how they liked it? Teenagers wish to express themselves? Maybe I am wrong but who pays the taxes? You can have your say only when you are paying them. Otherwise you should be seen and not heard. Have your asked your parents why the taxes are as high as they are? That’s because you keep asking for this and that in school etc.
The youth have been destroying all they can. A dance held at the Canadian Royal Legion left the place in shambles. The Lions Club had the same issue, and there was a lot of damage caused at the Town Hall. Now you are asking the taxpayer for your own hall. Who will pay for all the bills?
The people and organizations of Carleton Place cannot afford any of it anymore. Are you down at the arena you asked for and helping out? Last year the youth showed how much they appreciated the arena and threw empty liquor and beer bottles against the side wall. One youth fell down down and cut himself.
I don’t want any more war, but do you believe in letting some other youth or hippies into your town and country to stir up trouble? This is exactly what is taking place, and you are getting blamed. If you think I am shooting my mouth off, just ask your parents if this is not true.
Thank you for listening,
E. “Bunny” Townend
Photos from the Carleton Place Canadian file from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.
Photo of Earl Hurdis- Mr. and Mrs Bunny Townend and Donnie Croffort
Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place