PHOTO: The Peter Franklin band sings a ’60s song at a Davis High reunion of the 1969 graduates.
By Charissa Zeigler,
Davis High’s class of ’69 gathered at El Macero Country Club on Oct. 12 to commemorate the 50 years since their graduation. An outdoor patio opened into a long dining room where the Peter Franklin band crooned ’60s hits next to a multi-color hippie bus emblazoned with a peace sign.
A whiff of smoke wafted above alumni socializing at different tables. Alcohol could be purchased for an additional fee at the bar.
1969 was the year the U.S. government sent Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and broadcasted the landing to the nation. It was the decade when color TV had finally replaced gray-and-white images on screen. Images of wounded soldiers and civilians from the Vietnam war bleeding red were broadcast into living rooms and fueled anti-war protests.
Alumnus Bob Daprato, one of around 300 graduates from 1969 and an editor for Davis High’s school newspaper, The HUB, recounted Davis students’ anti-war protests.
“We put a picture of Frank Zappa, a very outrageous rock musician of the 60s […] on the front page of the paper on a toilet taking a shit and we did this to get the attention of the readers so they would read the editorial.”
The article, called “a new look at morality” declared that “if a ‘decline in morality’ means an increase in frankness […] by all means let morality decline! If it means stopping senseless wars.”
Although the picture of Frank Zappa was censored by Principal Robert “Dick” Mansfield, the article was featured in The HUB and Daprato went on to give a graduation speech criticizing the school administration for not doing enough to understand their students.
Divisive politics fueled a rebellious counter-culture: girls wanted the freedom to wear pants, and smoking and long hair became popularized.
Alumnus Don Francis pulled out from his pocket a picture of himself at senior ball. “I was a long-haired hippie creep,” Francis said.
Rock music dominated the ’60s and music tempo sped up conveying a sense of urgency and rebellion.
“The great part of living in Davis was […] all the San Francisco bands used to come through: The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver,” Francis said.
Upon seeing old classmates, alumnus Robert Roper said “some of them haven’t changed at all, some of them I hardly don’t recognize.” Later in the evening, Roper said “these were people we came all the way through grade school with.”
From the patio, loud applause for a couple married for 50 years could be heard and someone called for a toast.