No Rules: Hits from a Hippie On the Road
May 22, 2020
Hosted by Diane Dewey
Ever dream of leaving home as a teen, headed for California and freedom? It’s 1971 in Connecticut, and sixteen-year-old Sharon’s parents think that, because she’s a girl, she should become a clerical office worker after high school and live at home until she marries and has a family. But Sharon wants to join the hippies and be part of the changing society, so she leaves home and heads out. Upon arriving in California, Sharon is thrown into an adult world for which she is unprepared, and she embarks on a precarious journey amid the 1970s counterculture. On her various adventures across the country and while living on a commune, with friends and lovers filtering in and out of her life, she realizes she must learn quickly in order to survive—as well as figure out a way to reconcile her developing spirituality with her Catholic upbringing. It’s a story of belonging, independence, of surviving against the odds. Is freedom just another word for nothing left to lose as Janis Joplin sang?
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At Dropping In we’ll explore diverse stories about identity. What makes people unique? We’re done with shoe-horning ourselves into preconceived notions of who we should be or being told who we are. Dropping In Stories are stories of self-discovery. They enable us to find our truth, re-configure ourselves to that truth, and becoming stronger for it. It brings the juice to re-imagine who we want to be. By listening to others talk about their own path, ours becomes less fearful. We’re always supposed to know what we’re doing, where we’re going, but we often don’t, and there’s no shame in that. We need a compass. Drop into the conversation. Create a new dialogue. You might get clues on your direction, the answers you seek, or even the questions you want to avoid. The adventure continues on Dropping In where unique stories become part of the fabric of diversity.
My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.
Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.