Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Memories: Giving Peace A Chance


It was way more dangerous in 1972. At least according to the crime rates.

But we didn't know that or notice it. We just went about our business all over the city by ourselves or with each other, a gang of 12 and 13 year old girls traveling the subways, the buses, the streets without a cell phone because they didn't exist then, and at least in my case, not even a dime to call home in case something went wrong.

So it was no big deal for us to head over to the Peace Building on Lafayette and Bleecker to pick up peace buttons to sell on the street for the cause - BRING THE TROOPS HOME! PEACE NOW! FREE KIM AGNEW!

Our plan was to walk up 6th Avenue selling peace buttons until we got to the big peace rally near Herald Square. We pinned our wares to our teeshirts and in our tinny little voices hawked our wares - Peace Buttons for a dolla! Stop the war in Viet Nam! Buy a button for a dolla!

The shame of that day wasn't the man jiggling under his raincoat while touching each button on breasts I wasn't sure I had.

It was when on a dare or perhaps on empty pockets we all dashed under the turnstiles at 34th Street and ladies who probably were our neighbors or knew our neighbors or maybe even our parents TSK TSK'd us scolding "such nice girls such nice girls doing that shame on you what would your mother say..." as we ran down the ramp to the F train and home.

6 comments:

real estate agent said...

Hi. Interesting story. It reminds me old times when we were full of ideals that we could change the world. I loved the passion of that age. The life was different, there were no cell phones and internet. And I think that also our values were different. I like remembering these times. It's important part of my life.

Best regards,
Julie

cityofstrangers said...

Hi CD,

Nice story. Brings alive the New York of that era. Not just the peace buttons, but the kids running around by themselves all over the city. We did the same, but I grew up in a Canadian small town. Amazing how cloistered kids are now, city or country . . .

Best,

Tim

c.o. moed said...

Thank you so much for the comments - delighted this story evoked such interesting memories of your own.

both the passion and commitment to social action and the freedom with which we moved now all seem embedded in these smart phones. Our revolution seems to have gone from the street to technology - an observation made by a UN official about how social change was happening - not through marches he noted but through the electronic communities.

bowsprite said...

what beautiful buttons and memories. It does seem that values were different then, but I think it's cyclical, and I sense that passion for social integration and harmony is returning, in a higher-tech way. There is nothing like a simple message, though, in the shape of a little button, in vivid colors, beautiful type. Art will always have the power to move; every revolution has its poet.

Melanie said...

I loved this story too--My best friend Ronnie and I would run around the west village at the time maurading around MacDougal Street like we owned it--stopping in at Rienzi's for a burger and a side of salad with the best Russian dressing and feeling somewhat bohemian. A great escape from Brooklyn.

Melanie said...

I had my original Peace Button--the white background with the black symbol on it--for years until about 4 years ago when I gave it to some and passed the peace and love vibes on. Although the Vietnam Conflict was raging and my brother was over there--it was still a time of hope.