In the exhibit, Dominique Denis wrote:
"Purchased in 1978... I was 13, and used to pretend to be into meditation... My room reeked of incense. Perhaps seeing Hair (the film version) was to blame. In any case, I was quite proud of the shirt, which cemented my reputation as the resident hippie wannabe in high school, where I was... a ... drummer in a band... For some reason my mother hung on to the shirt, and returned it to me in Toronto... my son Julien, who was then 12, found & adopted it... Julien is also a drummer... and he wore it for a concert of his ...rock band in school... I was proud of him."
Wait a minute - this sounds just like my now 16 year old daughter, Emma. "But that's me!" she said, when I showed her a copy of the text. Knowing she would feel that way, I then pulled out the shirt (borrowed!) to show her. Instant love ensued, between girl and shirt. I asked her if I could make a photograph of her in the shirt, to post here - and she slipped into it (barely - not being 13 anymore...) and found that it went beautifully with her other trappings of latter-day hippie spirit.
Here's what she said: "This is the most comfortable shirt I've ever worn. It makes me think of music festivals in the summer [drum circles!]. The hippie thing makes me smile, 'cause that's me, more or less. And now the shirt smells of incense again." [from having been in her room for just a few minutes...]
When my daughter recently asked me if I had been a hippie when I was young, I had to tell her that I would have left home straight-away to head for Haight-Ashbury, but sadly I was under 10 years old at the time... So, I had to stay home and make do, in the ensuing years, by piecing together hippie clothes out of old fancy linens I found about the house...
Somehow, this mid-century zeitgeist keeps returning to haunt us. Is it about style or philosophy? (A bit of both I suppose...)
As soon as I was old enough, I left the (then) sleepy town of Oakville to head straight-away for Toronto. Once there, Honest Ed's became a significant thread in my existence - this is where poor students and starving artists went to find the practical domestic trappings of their skeletal approximations of "home" - very sketchy in terms of possessions, but bursting with life and crazy creativity. So, Mr. Mirvish wasn't only there as a haven for the new-comers to this country, with their often heartbreaking stories. He also assisted at the birth of so many "vies bohèmes" - a slighter, but decidedly rich side to the story.
Really though, the impression I take away with me in the end is a tangible sense of that delicate thread of tender affection that is continually passed on, down and around - ties of family and friendship. It does make the world that looks flat under our feet feel a little more like the circle we carry in our minds.
Vicki O'Donnell and Emma Hazlewood