Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby


Flower Child, circa 2007

Younger Son's American History class recreated the sixties this week, complete with an outdoor "Woodstock" -- minus the sex and drugs, of course. (Which is sort of like groovus interuptus, but what're ya gonna do. At least they kept the rock 'n roll.) The Son had been looking forward to it for months, and even let his hair grow long.

Having been there for the real sixties, I have actually been of some use to him in the project, and I must say it's been a lot of fun. I got to introduce him to Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and to tell him what it was like when the Beatles first played on the Ed Sullivan Show. After explaining acid rain and nuclear testing, I even got to play Joan Baez's "What Have They Done to the Rain" without getting the eye-roll thing.

I told him what the draft was like ... how we all sat in front of the TV, watching the numbers drawn by lottery, to see if my brother would have to go to Vietnam. I told him how the girls in my school could not take classes like drafting or engineering, and how I was told point-blank by counselors that even though I was a straight-A student and could do the work, I would never be hired in any field of science because women were not allowed.

POW bracelets, peace signs, Age of Aquarius, Hair, Black Panthers, back to nature, bell bottoms, earth shoes, flower power ... a total bonding experience. We even made protest signs together.

The event was not, however, without its drawbacks.

The Son needed a tie-dyed shirt, and I had managed to survive the era without learning how to produce such a thing. No problem ... off we went to Hobby Lobby. There we found blank T-shirts on sale for $2.99 (score!) and a kit that promised to do the job for $10.99 (ouch).

Being an artistic sort, The Son wanted a three-color spiral design. Again, no problem. The kit had Instructions for that: "Decide where the swirl will be. Pinch fabric at this point. Twist fabric around into a flat spiral. Bind with three rubber bands, creating six wedge shapes. Apply dye on wedges using as many colors as desired." Uhhh. What??

So there I am in my latex gloves, hunched over the bench on my back deck with an array of dye bottles, my kitchen dish pan, paper towels, plastic bags, and a wadded-up cheap shirt, thinking Where the hell is an overalls-clad hippie when you really need one?

Plan B: The Internet. God bless Google: There's a video for that.

Back to the deck, where I discover that I need to add water to the bottles of fine dust that is, apparently, the dye. Nowhere in the instructions does it say how much water to add, just "for lighter colors, use more water". Arrrgh. The video said amateurs don't use enough dye, so I need enough to soak this sucker. But I don't want to end up with pastels, because I know Son ain't going out in pink and baby blue. I fill them three quarters full and hope for the best.

Five minutes later, the shirt is soaked and wrapped in plastic, the timer is set for four hours, and the dye dust has migrated to every surface within a ten-foot radius of ground zero. Hosing ensues. Thank God I didn't try this in the house.

After clipping the bands off, hosing down the shirt and washing it a couple of times, we have the real deal: a bona fide, butt ugly, tie dyed T-shirt a la 1967. Son is pleased. Mom is declared Groovy.

This week totally rocked.

1 comment:

Jaquandor said...

Well, I've got an e-mail address, you know!