Inside the Summer of Love (And the Sonoma Valley School Board)
We had to scratch around inside the psyche of the Summer of Love for this issue, trying to make sense of a time, if not a place, we lived through as it changed the boundaries of everyone’s conscious awareness for better and for worse. And while San Francisco, the Haight and Golden Gate Park comprised the geographical epicenter of that magical, mad, metaphysically exciting, politically naïve and morally indignant moment in our national evolution, its ethos flowed, like the marine layer, over the entire country.
Some of us dropped through the veil of illusion back then, thinking we had found enlightenment. We were obviously wrong. Some of us experimented with every known (and some unknown) means of stimulating the human body, mind and soul, and some of us crashed or cried or literally died as we gradually rediscovered the reasons our mothers told us to beware what we put in our mouths, our minds, our memories.
But as we all comb through the things we saw, felt, learned or ignored (or at least later read about), it’s hard not to arrive at the realization that something really important, life altering, planet changing actually happened back then. It may not have been the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, but it was the beginning of something no one could completely understand or adequately explain that made it at least a little bit impossible to put the genie back in the bottle and return to the old attitudes about race, religion, gender, sex, justice, equality and even human consciousness.
So the Summer of Love was a big deal, even if none of us can adequately define what that means. And we feel privileged to have had the opportunity to share this retro-exploration with the notable artist and cultural chronicler Stanley Mouse, once a 20-year resident of Sonoma, now a resident of Sebastopol, but always a fond admirer of the Valley of the Moon. Thank you, Mouse. Less fun was the duty we felt to dig into the story of Louann Carlomagno’s resignation as superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, the board of which, it is now widely known, is anything but unified. The fact that it isn’t, that it has been rendered sufficiently asunder by a board member’s behavior—and by the inability of all board members to sufficiently right the ship—is an important object lesson for everyone involved.
As we go to press, education superstar Chuck Young, the chancellor emeritus of UCLA and a 2010 transplant to Sonoma, has agreed to step into the role of one-year interim superintendent, to help steer the board into calm waters and productive behaviors. We wish him well, as we do all members of this troubled but profoundly important body of public servants.
There’s a lot more to read and enjoy inside, but this page is now full.
David Bolling, Editor & Publisher, Valley of the Moon Magazine
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