Tom Hayden, R.I.P.

Years before I discovered queer politics or even knew that I was gay, I was a tween peacenik, and Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda were my heroes.

I'm not sure how that happened. My parents were not particularly anti-war, despite my mom's involvement in race issues in the neighborhood. Mom had two cousins, Lonn and Neil, who were a few years younger than she, and I remember anxious conversations about their draft status (I think it was A1, the most likely to be called up) but I don't remember now if either of them was drafted before the war ended.

I suspect it had something to do with our babysitter, Pam Fryer. She lived next door and she was a few years older than my brother and me and a total style icon for my baby gay soul, with her maxi-skirts and macrame jewelry. I remember reading the cautionary novel Go Ask Alice and thinking Alice was EVERYTHING. Not that our teen babysitter was a peace activist, but in my eyes she was a hippie and it was all part of an ethos I absorbed.

Anyway, I was surprised to see Tom Hayden's obit this morning. I thought: but he's so young! He was my mother's age.