Via GardenRant and Facebook,
a Hippie-Boyfriend Reunion


BobeuropeThis 1969 photo of two college kids bumming their way through Europe has been on my About
page since GardenRant launched in 2006, with my hidden agenda that maybe someone would see it and say "Hey, that’s Bob Oakes!" and tell me where he is now, 35 or so years after I’d lost contact with him.  Nothing.

Then recently I registered on Facebook, where they ask you what schools you went to and when, and I got discovered by another guy in our little crowd back at Oberlin in its counterculture and anti-war heyday.  He read my About page here and wrote me, "Hey, isn’t that Bob Oakes?" and the next email I get back tells me that Bob’s in Asheville, NC and here’s his email address!


Bam, past suddenly springs to the present, and before it’s sunk in I get THIS photo of Bob (kneeling in front) with his family in front of the Smokey Mountains.  Assembled are his adult kids
with their spouses and grandchild, his younger daughters, and his wife Ann.  So right away I see that he’s still cute and trim, and a good family man.  Notice his "neo-hippie" son?  That’s Bob’s term, an obviously affectionate one.

An accompanying email then tells me he’s still playing his guitar, either jamming with friends or playing for kids, and has worked for and with kids all his life.  So there’s been no being co-opting for him – our biggest fear back in the day.

And more good news about the mutual friend who sent me Bob’s email address.  He and his wife were the first certified organic farmers in Kentucky for over a decade, and now garden for pleasure in Hawaii.  So who says growing up means having to change who you are?


  1. Bob looks a lot like my freshman high school English teacher, Mr. Schwartz (maybe the spelling is wrong, Spaceballs ruined that name for me). That teacher was a bit free spirited himself and turned a C student into a B, then A student, and finally a writer. But, this note is about you: don’t covet thy neighbor’s organic farms.

  2. A lot of old hippies have ended up in Asheville, NC and there is no shortage of “neo-hippies” either. That family photo looks like it was taken on Max Patch, just up and down and around the gravel road from me.

  3. Re. Christopher C –
    Yup, that’s Max Patch where my family is standing. Yikes, it’s a small world!!! I wouldn’t be surprised if you know my son Jacob who lives with his family in Marshall. It has also been exciting for me to re-connect with Susan (She called me on Thanksgiving!) and we’re looking forward to her visit to Asheville.

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