One of the first ‘Flower Power people’ in Glastonbury
Blog post, September 3 2012
I arrived at work this morning to find an email from an old friend, telling me about a funeral that was to take place at 11.30. The funeral was for Christine Chapman, an important member of the ‘New Glastonbury Community’ back in the early 1970s.
I hadn’t know her very well, though I certainly remembered her – she must have made a big impression on me at the time (I was still in my teens, she would have been in her early thirties). I recalled visiting her house in Northload Street once, and for a while I had lived in a caravan, on Godney Moor outside Glastonbury, that had originally been hers. Like my friend in his email, I remembered her ‘with long blonde hair with gentle voice and long skirts and flowing movements like a dancer.’
I decided to go to the funeral. Her family had brought her back to Glastonbury for the funeral and burial, as had been her wish, and anyone here who had known her was invited to join them. On the way to the church I realised that though I remembered her, I couldn’t recall what she actually looked like. As I walked through the door, I was handed a printed ‘order of service’ with her picture on the front, looking exactly as I had known her.
I think it was the picture more than anything, with the Tor in the background, which brought up such a strong feeling for me that she symbolised that early time in Glastonbury. I felt grief; not really for her – though I’d liked her, we hadn’t been close, and I hadn’t seen her for 40 years or so. More for my own lost youth, and for those priceless days that I could now only remember as being endlessly sunny.
Afterwards I spent a little time talking to the others who had known Christine, who had been ‘Flower Power people’ (as we’d been described in the church) all those years ago. Later it struck me that this must be a bit what it’s like for war veterans getting together on Armistice Day – every year there’s a few less than last year, and everyone’s a little bit older.