Slang in the 1960s



Oh, there you are, Amy.


I'm just wondering what's been happening with you in 1960-something.
You know, what you're up to.

What? You're actually doing it? You're hitchhiking across the continent?

Uh ... okay.

I sound worried?

Oh yeah, no, I'm not worried about you in the slightest.

Why, if nothing terrible happens to you ... I mean, I'm sure only great things will happen to you.

There's lots of friendly people out there who'll pick you up from the side of the long, grey, lonely, dusty highway, right?

C'mon positive brain image ...

Whew. Better.

Okay, well, here's some popular slang words from the 1960s  you should know on your travels.

 I hope you have a groovy, far out time. And try not to sound like a square, huh?
That would be such a bummer.


ACID - LSD - (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) - a hallucinogenic drug
BUMMER - Something disappointment, a "downer"
ELECTRIC KOOL AID - Combining LSD and Kool Aid during the "Acid Tests" of the 1960s, and a  term written about in a 1968 book by Tom Wolfe, titled, "The Electric Kook Aid Acid Test"
FAR OUT - Something wonderful.
FLIP OUT - Losing your cool
FLOWER POWER - in use during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance
FREAKS - Actually cool people
GET HIGH - Get stoned
JOINT - Marijuana cigarette
NICKEL BAG - $5 worth of marijuana
OUTTASIGHT - Wonderful
PEACE - Mainly refers to the wish for peace in the ongoing Vietnam War
RIGHT ON - an affirmation
SCENE - wherever the cool people are
SPACED OUT - Not with it, may be high
SQUARE - If you're a square, you're definitely uncool
TEENY BOPPERS - those too young to be hippies
TRIP - What you go on when you take a hallucinogen drug
VIETNAM WAR - A conflict occurring between 1955 and 1975 in Vietnam, Laos

There are loads of illegal drugs easily available in the 1960s, and you'll see them everywhere you hitchhike.

Doesn't mean you have to take any. 

And watch out for the fuzz.

Fast Food in the 1960s

Hi, Amy. Just to let you know ... I think whatever you're smoking has gone out. There's not even the slightest whiff of smoke around you right now.


     Uh, Hello?



What's that?
You're actually a princess in a forest right now?


 Yeah, sure you are.
Hold on to that thought just for a sec, will you? 


Oh, you're  a princess looking for a big, juicy  hamburger in the woods?

You're hungry?


Not surprised in the slightest.

Don't think you'll find a hamburger in the woods, though. But, hey ... in the 1960s when you currently exist, camping is a really popular thing, so you never know.


How about I let you in on what you're really longing for in 1960-something - fast food.

And you're in luck ... depending upon where you live.

In 1958 the first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita, Kansas when Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mother. By 1968, they  opened their first restaurant in Canada. Dominos Pizzaopened their first store in Detroit, Michigan in 1960.

But back to hamburgers...

In the USA, the restaurant first specializing in hamburgers was White Castle, opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1916. 

In the 1920s, the A & W Root BeerShop had the novel idea of offering curb service to waiting occupants in cars. The fashionable carhop system, mainly staffed by young women, grew through the years ...


... until drive-through fast food became easily accessible.

Started in 1940 by Dick and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, McDonald’s hamburgers sold for 15 cents.
By the 1950s, the two brothers created franchises for their restaurants, and a total of eight restaurants were opened by the early 1950s.


In 1955, Ray Kroc opened the Des Plaines, Illinois, McDonald’s restaurant, the start of a momentous business. In 1958, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth burger.

To the joy of teenagers living In Canada in the 1960s wanting to get away from the boring eat-at-home every day way of life and their boring parents, McDonalds opened its first restaurant outside of the USA in 1967 - in the city of Richmond, in the province of British Columbia.


Let me know when you get there, huh?

The Heart of a Book Signing

Oh, hey Amy. I  thought you'd  have missed me by now. But you look totally ... 


             ... mellow

You tried calling me?

Hmm. Don't think that's a possibility considering you're in 1960-something and I'm in the 21st century.

Wait ... what? You've actually been worried about me?


 Yes, I can see your concern.

Be that as it may, the truth is that you haven't heard from me for a while because I've been busy promoting my new novel, Victorian Town.

Holding book signings and participating in literary events this summer was a terrific way for me to meet book lovers!

What's the heart of a book signing?

To me, the heart of a book signing is the opportunity to meet readers  ...

Readers who want to be dazzled in the fantastical world of make-believe ... 

... or be brought to tears by an unexpected and heartbreaking turn of events ...

... or enfold themselves in a great mystery ...
... or fall passionately in love with a character in a romance ...
... or be swept away to lands that existed long, long ago ...

... or lands that never existed at all.


The heart of a book signing is chatting with engaging readers who have names like Kat and Marie ... Brianna ... Tiffany ... Simone ... Owen ... Cheryl ... Emily ... Jasmine ... Rebecca ... William's dad ... Helen ... Ashleigh ...

... and to connect with readers who are hesitant to chat at all.

So, thank you to all the incredible readers I was fortunate enough to meet this summer, both in person and online. You  touched my heart. And I hope in some way I touched yours as well.

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A shout out to the glorious and inspiring young women I met when I was part of the career day event put on by Girls Inc. of Durham Region. I was part of the panel along with a chiropodist, a journalist & author, a professor, and an entrepreneur. Amazing!


Just checking in to see how things are going, Amy.


A bit bummed out about Woodstock being over? Still, it looks like you're managing quite well in 1960-something. Nice place you're living in.

You keep imagining yourself back in the 21st century?

Yes, of course I'm still working on the time machine.

And the repairs are  going ...

... really well.

But since you're stuck in 1960-something for now, how about focusing on the groovy zeitgeist of the time.

The spirit of the time, Amy. The spirit of the time.


Take mini skirts for example.

In the 1960s, Mary Quant is a central figure in the London-based fashion culture. She is one of the designers credited with the creation of the miniskirt.

Mary decided to name her design not after the length of the skirt (or lack of) but after her favourite British car - The Mini.

After the prissy and conservative expectations and restrictive social norms of the 1950s, the 1960s is a time for young women to change the old ways and create a culture all their own.

The 1960s is also a time when young women are seeing the start of sexual freedom.


         And the invention of the birth control pill.

Well, that certainly cheered up you and your friends, Amy.


Hey, Amy. It's been a week and I'm wondering how the travelling in the van is going. Made it to Woodstock yet? Amy?

Oh, there you are.

Not surprised.

Yeah, I get it.

Love and peace.

Well, in the meantime, let me give you a bit of information about what you're going to find in Woodstock when you and your fellow hippies arrive.

Advertised as three days of peace and music, the Woodstock Festival, or simply, Woodstock, takes place on the weekend of August 15 to 17th, 1969.

No one knows just how important and meaningful these days will be. The name Woodstock is about to become legendary. And just think, you're going to be there, right in the midst of it all.

Isn't time travel an amazing thing?

Though the organizers originally planned to hold the event in the village of Woodstock, New York, the festival will take place in Bethel, New York, on one of the hayfields owned by the dairy farmer Max Yasgur.

Bethel is 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock.

The three day event is initially created as a profit-making venture. But when the audience starts to arrive, no fencing or ticket booths will be enough to hold back the crowd of more than 400,000. 

The first act to appear will be Richie Havens, on Friday August 15th at 5:00 p.m. when the slated opening acts have trouble getting to the festival due to the overwhelming traffic.

His will sing his famous song "Freedom" for the first time on Woodstock's stage.

The weekend will consist of one performance after another. Thirty-one bands will take part.

Janis Joplin with the Kozmic Blues Band will appear on Sunday August 17th at 2:00 a.m.


The Who will appear the same day, starting at 5:00 a.m. 

People will begin to arrive at the festival on Wednesday. 

By Friday, police will turn away thousands of cars due to lack of space.

Through rain, cramped living conditions and lack of facilities for almost half a million young people, there will be no violence.

The movie "Woodstock" will win the Best Documentary Oscar in 1970. It will be 185 minutes long and cost a  mere $100,000 to make.


You, Amy, are about to take part in the most remarkable gathering of harmony,  music, love and peace in the history of the world.