I was fresh out of high school in 1968 when my parents moved to Park Ave, just a couple of blocks from Highland. All summer I looked for a job but was always turned down because I was draft age. So many days were spent on Highland Ave. There I was accepted. No troubles then, no (visible) drugs, just fun at the pinballs and companionship. At the end of 68, Uncle Sam got me but when I finished with my basic, I had a month off, so again I went back to Highland. Things were starting to change, the music, the clothes, the drugs. Yes, I participated. I was young and even though my hair was short, thanks to Uncle Sam, I was still accepted. It was a good time until I had to return to the fray. Never got to come home again until I got out. After coming back, I only drove past the strip. I saw the garbage, I could smell the difference, I never stopped. Like many who came home, I was never welcomed, never accepted. I was a killer, a weapon of destruction. My views never changed, I even started letting my hair grow out, but to the outside world, I was different. I could not be loved anymore.
As for now, things have changed, people have changed, all for the better, I think. I will always remember what I had on Highland Ave and I will always remember the people who accepted me for what I was, hippies or otherwise. Maybe one day I will go back to that street and relive old memories.
By Chris Davis, Susan Ellis, Toby Sells, and Maya Smith
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