Last updateFri, 02 Oct 2015 1pm

Castañeda, Huicholes, hippies, vets & various species of misperceptions made the north shore an instructive gathering spot

My wife and I landed in a small pueblo that, on the drive down, no one beyond Jalisco seemed to know of.  We quickly moved into a recently renovated house in Ajijic ... and found home.  This was the early 1960s. 

For a happy number of years the pueblo continued to possess its extraordinary laid-back rustic charm.  This had attracted a number of U.S. veterans of World War II (“Pacific vets”) and the Korean war.  A notable number of these shunned returning to the nine-to-five work-day on the United States, rife with neck ties, suits and the over-starched post-war life, thriving ambitiously in places like southern California.  The surging U.S. economy was noted, not invitingly, by former soldiers, some dealing with what now is called post traumatic stress disorder. 

They lived on the GI Bill.  This seemed to irritate small collections of older U.S. citizens in nearby sub-villages.  Such folk soon identified them as being attracted to either 1) the media stereotyped ”beatnik” movement of the 1950s, or 2) the later “hippie” cultural changes.   This was fantasy.  Vets here had more in common with what came to be known as the subsequent, and more seriously exploratory, “counterculture.”  

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