Unusual Occasions

A history of beginnings

On January 30, 1969 in Monson, Massachusetts, a small town about 10 miles east of Springfield, local school officials dismissed David Lucia, a high school English teacher, for growing a beard over the winter break and charged him with insubordination.  On January 30, 1969 newspapers reported that rising cases of a rare infant disease known as phocomelia, which shortens the limbs. The article quoted a geneticist from Northwestern University who observed that the syndrome is “being observed in babies born to hippies.” Holding up a green and white capsule for the media to see, the researcher declared that the “Hippies have no idea what they are taking and are taking it to weaken the effects of LSD. I have heard this through the rumor-mill,” he said. “The hippies’ babies’ limbs are short.” That same day, in an interview with his authorized biographer, John Lennon remarked that “people think we know what’s going on. We actually don’t really. We are just doing it.” On the same day, January 30, 1969, in response to students’ occupation of the London School of Economics, the British

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