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Summer of Love
Looking Back

Mary Kasper grew up in San Francisco. She left college and moved to the Haight-Ashbury district in 1964.

Mary Ellen Kasper
Mary Kasper

You go to the country, you see someone else's trash, you pick up their trash. That certainly came out of that time. We developed a relationship with the Earth that was different. We thought about it differently. I think some people were not political in those years, other people were very political in those years. Because I'd become so radicalized, from the early Sixties, I stayed political in those years.

And following along with other things that were of major importance to me, spirituality was very important to me. After the Be-In, when I was collecting unemployment, I was on Mt. Tamalpais, and I was on a mescaline trip, and someone had brought pâté for us to eat, and I heard the voice of God in my head saying you shouldn't eat that. So that's when I became a vegetarian, and it's 2006, and I'm still a vegetarian.

So many of those things from that time have stayed with me, certainly the importance of community has stayed with me. I live in a very supportive community now and a very political community. The crafts world, which is how I make my living, was a part of it. Many of those people live in small towns throughout the country and came to leading that life and that creative life from their experiences in the Sixties, and they have kept those ideas alive.

So I feel, for me, there wasn't an abrupt change in my life, it was a river flowing, and I'm in that same river. I think the spiritual aspects that came out of that movement, for us, where we were living, we were certainly greatly influenced by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who was Roshi at the Zen Center. ... We all took up yoga. We all were reading spiritual books, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita. ... I read all those books that one read in those years. I have revisited them, and they're just as wonderful as they always were. Trout Fishing in America is still a very funny book as were many of the other books.

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Summer of Love American Experience

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