Yes, that's us, Brian and Laurel Hines, displayed in all our 60'ish glory (both age and decade) in a New York Post story this month: "When I'm 64. Tie-dyed-in-the-wool hippies are redefining retirement homes and end-of-life choices."
After being asked for a photo of us, I'm pleased that the Post went with the one I sent them that a friend took of us at the 2014 Oregon Country Fair.
We were leaving this marvelous annual counter-cultural celebration in Veneta when I spotted a perch that seemed perfectly suited for my non-humble unsoul. Laurel is clearly enjoying being "blessed" by her exalted husband, though I admit her expression can be interpreted in other ways.
The piece was written by Joseph Gallivan, a freelancer who has done a lot of writing for the Portland Tribune. Gallivan phoned me after discovering my blog post, "I'm 65. Where's my 'Aging Hippie' retirement community?"
My interest in his story perked up when he told me that it was being written for the New York Post. This newspaper has a circulation of around half a million, so I figured it was time for my fifteen minutes of fame.
I'm still waiting.
I'd cleared my busy retirement schedule so Laurel and I could fly first class to New York to appear on various morning shows after they sent us interview expense money. But so far not a single person has responded to the story, which appeared in the Post a few weeks ago.
It took this long for Gallivan to get a PDF file of the story from his New York Post contact person.
Sadly, the piece doesn't seem to have made it online, perhaps because it appeared in the Post's magazine section. Thus my best chance to squeeze at least a few milliseconds of fame out of the story is for me to publicize it myself, which I'm doing here.
All of the story is worth reading, but for some (obvious) reason I start to lose interest in it after mentions of me fade away. Most of the quotes in the story are from my 2013 blog post. Since, I've given up skateboarding/ longboarding for an outdoor elliptical bike.
Here's the "good part." Click on the link for the whole thing.
Download When I'm 64 story PDF
Baby boomers — the post- World War II generation born between 1946 and 1964 — are hitting retirement age, and in the same way that they changed the world, many are looking to do the same with the last stage of their lives.
Some will still be content to watch TV and putter — but what about the hippie subset? The Woodstock originals and alternative lifestyle lovers? How will they fit into retirement homes, and how will their lives end?
Brian Hines is one such boomer. A self-confessed hippie living on 10 acres near Oregon’s capital, Salem, he recently hit 65 and started wondering where he and his wife, Laurel, would end up when their property became too much to handle.
He decided to watch a DVD for a retirement home near Olympia, Wash. To him that state has at least two things going for it: recreational marijuana and assisted suicide. [Note: so does Oregon now!] However, the nursing home video was a turn-off. As he blogged:
“We aren’t interested in living a golf course and bingo retirement. Watching the DVD made us realize that we won’t be in a continuing care retirement community — or not until they pull my skateboard out of my land-paddling, senior citizen arms.”
The people in the promotional video looked nothing like him and his wife; he felt they looked aged.
“We have money, but we’re very liberal and we damn sure don’t enjoy acting like we’re old. We dress as youthfully as Social Security recipients can get away with. We enjoy the MTV Video Music awards. In short, we’re aging ex-hippies who still embrace the Flower Child dream. We know some people from Oregon are trying to put together a community in Eugene; the problem is we’re not communal living people — we like our privacy.”
So what do they want?
“Dog-friendly. Not only allow skateboarding; encourage it. Multi-use paths in natural settings. Coffee house. brew pub. Movie theatre that does not show “On Golden Pond.” Tai Chi, yoga, and meditation classes. Intellectual stimulation.”
Their needs were echoed in the blog’s comments section.
“I want ‘70s music, tie-dye, liberal politics, recycling, and a community!” wrote 60-year-old Julie Mason Lacey.
As a post-script to this story, for the moment my wife and I have given up the notion of moving from our non-easy-care house in the country. It may kill us in the end, but until we feel otherwise, we've come to the conclusion that city life (or even suburban life) isn't for us.
We are, though, still interested in aging hippie-friendly retirement communities. The Vermont one mentioned in the piece sounds appealing. However, we love Oregon and can't imagine living anywhere else.
Well, life has a way of bringing about changes in the right way, at the right time. We either will move one day, or we won't.