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Children of the Children

Dreams of peace, love, freedom, and equality filled my mind and heart as I was growing up. My parents had been very much involved in what went on in the 60s Movement, but when I was still young, the heart of that generation died out. Except it lived on in my parents, some others like them, and our record player. I spent most of my life living in and visiting communities that were trying to live a life similar to what I dreamed of and what was being striven for during the 60s. In about 1974 we lived in the Needmore Community near Bloomington, Indiana. About seven years later my dad bought some land from the Needmore people and began to start an egalitarian community of his own called Chrysalis. It was listed in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. In my early and middle teenage years, I visited the Twin Oaks Community in Virginia and spent a summer in the Dandelion Community near Kingston, Ontario.

We were dairy goat farmers. My parents were into self-sufficiency. We lived a good portion of our life without running water and electricity in hopes of finding a more natural way of getting these things. For some time we lived way back in the woods on part of what was an 800-acre community. In the late '60s to early '70s it was thriving with dedicated homesteaders and hippies. Craft and music festivals were happening all the time. However, as I got older, I began to discover that all these dreams of 'getting back to the land' had evolved into one thing. Even though there was a lot of talk of a better way, all I really saw around me was a lot of partying, drugs, booze, and sex, a lot of quarreling and hidden motives and feelings. I was trained that 'whatever feels good to you, do it.' I was the fruit of the 60s generation.

The community we lived in was an open community. The expression 'free love' was a way of life in which my parents raised me. Everyone was very 'open-minded' about such things and having sexual relations with many people was considered to be the pathway to freedom from the religious and moral restraints that had made the system such a cold and heartless beast.

But instead of setting my parents and their friends free, it caused them to have deep-seated mistrust for one another while promoting strife and jealousy between community members who were always trying to be the most together, liberated people. All this caused the adults to be extremely insecure, and of course all these things were passed right into us — the children of the children of the 60s.

My parents were also very involved in the anti-nuke movement, and I joined in and gave all my heart, my heart full of bitterness, to fight the system. But still I was part of and a product of that system, and there seemed to be no real way out of it. All my protests never really helped a thing. Things just kept getting worse. Sure, I got a lot of good feelings and high hopes of change, but in the end, I personally was always left feeling lonely with no peace, love, freedom, or lasting happiness. I had friends, and some of them even felt the same way I did, but I could never find any true unity between us. We had hopes and dreams, but they never did anything for us. We were, or at least I was, left in desperation, turning to the music, drugs, and other things the kids my age were into.

Peace? Peace only seemed to come when we were stoned or fantasizing. But fantasy is only a product of a lack of peace. It is an escape from reality. The thing is, after it is over you only come back to reality. Getting stoned you can sit in a room with people and feel in love with them all. You seem to be at peace; maybe you’ll fall off to sleep feeling good. But when you come down from your high, you are back to reality. Where is the peace? It’s time to roll up another joint to escape reality. So where is the peace? I never found true peace there. If it were true, it would have lasted.

Love? What is love, really? Is it going to bed with almost anyone? Is love what you do in bed? Or do they just do that because it feels good? Something always seemed wrong to me that they would just jump into bed with almost anyone. But still I was encouraged to do the same, being just barely a teenager. My parents would say, "Get birth control! Don’t get pregnant! We have too many children now; we can’t have another."

Is love what you see on TV, or in the movies? Is love holding your true feelings inside so as not to hurt anyone? What is love, anyway? I longed to know what true love was, but I didn’t find it there.

Freedom? Is freedom just another word for nothing left to lose? Was Janis Joplin right? This seemed to be what we thought. But oh, how wrong we were! I can still remember our music and crafts festivals. We would have puppet shows, bands would play, people would paint faces, my parents would sometimes set up a drinks stand. People would bring their blankets and lay around listening to the music, drinking and taking drugs. The children would skinny dip in the large creek at the back of the field. At night the party would go on and on. We would build big bonfires and people would sleep out. Yes, I can remember in the day by the light of the sun, running through the field to the music, naked or at least half naked. I felt so free. I was free to do whatever felt good, and I was only four years old.

A lot of times people would come over and we would get stoned and jam. If you didn’t have an instrument, you’d find one, grab a pot or beat the table with your hands. I can remember one time doing this for awhile on the night of a full moon. After getting very drunk and stoned, we took our instruments and danced, sang, and made noises. All in a line we did an Indian pow-wow and moon dance by the light of the moon. We danced through the woods and down to the lake to take a late night dip. Freedom? Was this freedom? We weren’t seeking freedom. We were seeking pleasure! The reality was that we weren’t really free, but enslaved to our sinful, self-centered ways. 

Equality? We thought if we could all be equal, then we could be happy. So someone made by-laws and one of them was: "There should be no differences between sexes, creed, color or age..." but this led to many problems in terms of equality between sexes and equality between ages. Another time in a community that was trying to get started, there were only three members, one man and two women. The man had violated some of the by-laws, so the two women kicked him out (they happened to be his wife and daughter).

They wanted everyone to be equal so there was to be no 'coupling off'. This meant that if you were married when you came in, you must not be possessive of your wife or husband, but you must share him or her. This would also keep people from spending most of their time with just one person, but their time would be shared among the community. Somehow there was always a tendency to couple off, though. It must be because it is normal for a man and a woman to be committed to each other.

They also believed that parents of children should not be called mom or dad or anything like this — they should be called by their first name because they were to be just friends, no one superior or inferior. That way every adult would be equal; no one would be parents and others not parents, but they would share the children. In some of the communities the children had a children’s building away from the others where they would spend most of their time with metas (people trained by the community to be with the children; they would have the mind of the community in child raising). At supper time they would go to be with one of their primaries. Each child had two or three primaries. They would take turns taking the child from supper time to bedtime.

Both my mother and my sisters were fairly active in the ERA and feminist movements. It seemed like they had a general disgust towards men, except in one vital area. I was following right along the same path, but wasn’t old or scarred enough to understand why they felt this way. Besides, I had another thing going. At ten, I became more involved in fantasy. I would go off by myself into the woods and dream of a better life, of restoration of the creation around me. I would dream that the animals could live in peace. I would have dreamed of unity between human beings, but I was losing all hope for mankind. I despised the world’s system, and I thought that human beings had everything to do with it. It was all so corrupt.

Religions never interested me. I thought they were unreal, another perverted creation of man. Any exploring of them just increased that thought. But at fourteen, I fell in love and married a man who was very interested in the Bible. Searching and searching through Christianity and other things, all we found was hypocrisy. Yet, the words of the Bible contained so much hope. So we and a few other people grouped together to try our best to live out these words. But trying to live the life shown in the Bible without a true community of the Spirit is impossible. So there I was again in desperation.

But the true God of heaven knew our hearts and he led us into his dwelling place, his Community. When I first came, it was like I was in a dream. I saw people living together in unity. They had peace, love, freedom, and happiness, and it was real and unending. But I wasn’t dreaming; it was real! I never would have believed it unless I had seen it with my own eyes. All I knew was that I wanted the same life they had, and now I have it. I am thankful.

It was obvious that there was no restoration in my parents and the others who tried to live together. They couldn’t get along with one another. They were always dividing from one another, getting offended, and leaving the community. Also, every personal relationship didn’t make it. We just couldn’t be restored to one another. We couldn’t forgive one another because we weren’t yet forgiven.

My hope includes the restoration of all things, for this is the very heart of my Creator. We no longer are a part of the world and its system, but we have come out of it. We no longer have to worry about providing for our own independent nuclear family because all is provided as we learn to give ourselves every day to the will of our Creator. This demonstration that is being raised up on the earth will someday bring about the end of this age, the beginning of the New Age, the return of our Master Yahshua, and the restoration of all things.

~ Yashepheh


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