Checking in with some of the Santa Clara grads who set forth in the world at the beginning of the Summer of Love
“We were in the middle of a famous time and were not even aware of it,” says Michele McEvoy ’66. She lived in San Francisco in the summer of 1967—and she and Tom Inks ’62 would head for Haight-Ashbury “to see what the fuss was all about! We also used to go to the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms for the music.”
So let’s talk music. Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner ’63 and Jorma Kaukonen ’64 helped provide the soundtrack for that summer. Their second album, Surrealistic Pillow, was released in February 1967, with the singles “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” released in April and June. One of the timeless tunes from the record is Kaukonen’s “Embryonic Journey”—a haunting song for which Kaukonen first began working out the fretwork during a guitar workshop in Nobili dining hall on the Mission Campus.
The Monterey International Pop Festival ran three days in June 1967—drawing tens of thousands of fans to hear The Who, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix—and of course Jefferson Airplane.
Where were you? We asked a few Santa Clara grads. And we’d like to hear your story, too. Share it as a comment below. Or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or post a class note and include a photo. Rock on, Broncos.
The Class of ’67 valedictorian recalls graduating at a time of turmoil.
The one line I remember from my valedictory remarks was, “I don’t pretend to speak for all my classmates.” Some hated it—an older Jesuit insisted that future valedictorians should have their talks vetted by a mentor before the graduation. Many others, I think, appreciated it. How could I speak for all my classmates? We were a divided nation in a divided world.
Not that we didn’t talk to one another. One friend was training to be a helicopter pilot. Presumed destination: Vietnam. One day he told us casually that he would have to carry a sidearm, not to protect himself in case he was downed in enemy territory, but so he could shoot himself so as not to fall into the hands of the barbaric Vietcong. We were shocked. Catholics weren’t supposed to contemplate suicide. Luckily Terry never used that weapon.
1967 was a year of turmoil, and that was what I reflected upon in my talk. We faced a world out of kilter, far more out of kilter than we had been raised to expect in the innocent, affluent fifties. The Civil Rights movement had triumphed legislatively, but it was clear there was lots more to be done. Martin Luther King Jr. would proclaim that the War in Vietnam was a moral outrage a few months after we graduated. A year later he was dead, as was Bobby Kennedy. And our class had barely started school when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The two Kennedys, Dr. Tom Dooley—these were the Catholic heroes we were asked to look up to. Later scandal would cloud their names. But the heroics they called us to continued to inspire many.
I’ve not lost my engagement with national and international affairs since those days, but I’ve added a deeper engagement with the place where I’m planted. I never “turned on and dropped out,” though I toyed with both. But when College Republicans at The Catholic University of America where I taught from 1989 to 2007 called me a “hippie” because I opposed the invasion of Iraq, I shed my suit and tie, put my blue jeans back on, and let my hair grow once again. I always hated haircuts, and I was ready for a change of life.
Today I am a farmer in Willits, Mendocino County, raising vegetables and fruit for market, running our local farmers market, and I’m co-founder of a farmer training program for the new generation of young people looking to make the world a better place with their bare hands and their ingenuity. I think there is no doubt our civilization is failing and rapidly running out of time. But I put my hope in growing things, nurturing the young, building up our local community, and gathering together the fragments of resilience that remain among us. Fears for the future and hope in the young probably summed up my valedictory address, and both occupy me today.
Michael Foley ’67
Foley has six children and seven grandchildren and lives in Willits, California. Presently he is, “on sabbatical” from his farm, living in Oregon and writing a book entitled Farming As If Resillience Mattered
Summer of Books
I wish I could say “Wow, what a summer. Spent it in Golden Gate Park, high on pot, music and love.” Alas, I can’t. The truth is I spent it studying for and taking the LSAT and starting Law School at SCU. Most of the summer was in a library. They had real books and libraries with real books in those days. I only tried pot once and nothing happened! Never tried it again. Must not have inhaled like Bill Clinton. Had a special lady who later became my wife.
Gary Shara ’67
Summer of Quế Sơn
The Summer of Love wasn’t where I was in 1967. I spent that summer as a member of the 1st Marine Division returning again and again to a place called Quế Sơn in the southern portion of Quảng Nam Province. We fought battles with the North Vietnamese Army there that are only remembered by the survivors and military historians. Thankfully, some of us survived and have revisited Quế Sơn to admire its post war beauty and to remember the dead, the wounded, and the scarred. The only song I can recall that summer was “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs; it’s a nonsense song, has a great beat, and was totally appropriate for that time and place.
Mike McDonell ’66