Merimee’s stories slip readers into the times that were “a changing,” the time between beatniks and hippies and then some. The settings follow a winding path from San Francisco to New York City and back to the farm factories in eastern Oregon. The young couple, vagabonds on the road, give a glimpse into pre-women’s lib society and the musicians and sadhus looking for love and life beyond the inelegant, patriarchal norm of the fifties. Free Love, Free Fall is a must for those who are curious about how it really was, at least for this author, and for anyone who also was there, in that time, living through social upheaval and creating it on a day to day basis.
A trip to the Red Dog Saloon in 1965 starts a journey of music and musicians in the Haight Ashbury and life without an instruction book. Merimee’s stories embody the themes of the times: Make Love Not War, No Hope without Dope, Be Here Now, and—surprise!—Peace and Love. The PH Phactor Jug Band makes a not-so-profitable career move to Portland in the Summer of Love, resulting in an end to the relationship that had become too entangled with the detritus of the music scene lifestyle.
Eventually, Merimée flees Portland following friends to New Mexico where she falls in love with the land and the culture. The loosely linked stories don’t tell it all and readers may wish for more where these came from. Lets hope she keeps producing the sketches that piece together an era and a lifetime. Dealing with instability and a child, the young mother begins to let go of her free-spiriting and takes on the serious task of sole breadwinner in the beautiful town of Taos, New Mexico. The stories create a coming-of-age tale in the counter culture, an awakening, and a readiness to move on.