Mothers prefer love over attachment parenting in Deadwood on Mother's Day

Dave Masko's picture

DEADWOOD, Ore. - Moms here in the retro-Hippie community of Deadwood say they expect even young kids to help out on Mother's Day; while rejecting Time magazine’s recent views about "attachment parenting."

The parenting philosophy here in this retro-Sixties suburb of Eugene called “Deadwood;” says both old and young Moms feel there’s no time to breastfeed a three or four-year-old - like on the current, and controversial Time magazine cover - because “real attachment parenting” means to literally “teach your children well at an early life about their role in the family.” In turn, the “First Lady of Deadwood,” an 84-year-old “Earth Mother” named Mary Lou Goertzen, stands proud with her vintage leather peace pendant that hangs around her neck as if it were a sign proclaiming “original Hippie.” Friends here in Deadwood - who've known this local mother and grandmother for upwards of 30 years - say “Mary Lou teaches motherhood by example and with real love," explains Mary Lou’s neighbor Ariel who is the mother of two toddler girls. In turn, Ariel says "Mary Lou and other older mothers around here are all about empowering us as younger parents to do right by our children so they will do right by us when we get older. The only attachment we have as parents is just loving our kids with all our might, and leading by example. By the time our kids are three, breast-feeding and babying is long over with because our kids are busy helping the family. We teach them this at an early age,” she adds.

Mothers too busy working to worry about breastfeeding toddlers

Ariel and other younger Deadwood mothers think “it’s so funny that these posh Moms back East are breastfeeding their kids at what, three and four years old. What are they thinking,” asserts Ariel who looks more like a fine-spun dancer than a mother of two with her slender body who cuts timber in her yard with the fluid, rippling motion of her strong muscles in her back and shoulders.

In turn, Ariel explains how “our life is hard here. We grow up quick because as kids we need to pitch in and help the family. What would I be doing hauling around my daughters when they’re three or four years old wasting time breastfeeding them? My daughter Sky is three and she hauls things to our compost.”

At the same time, wise old “Earth Mom” Mary Lou only has to smile to get local kids moving and doing their chores here in the woodsy outskirts of Western Oregon where people “live off the grid,” with no TV, Internet or places to use credit cards.

This community is so old-school that they still have an old 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album cover hanging up in the Deadwood Community Center. In turn, the center doesn’t have locks on its doors and features swings and naturally built outside amusements for kids to play on – since children are seen playing outside all throughout the day here in Deadwood.

Sixties values still in place

At the same time, folks around here still play record albums on a turn-table and spend time outside in nature talking and sharing meals together.

In turn, it’s not uncommon to see Mary Lou and other mothers dancing about with their young children rather than breastfeeding them as noted in the recent Time magazine report about these “digital parenting mom’s” that prefer “attachment parenting” that local Deadwood parents joke as “simply not having a clue.”

Thus, it’s no surprise that one popular Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song around Deadwood come Mother’s Day is “Teach Your Children.”

“You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Counter Melody To Above Verse:
Can you hear and do you care and
Can’t you see we must be free to
Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Teach your parents well,
Their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

Deadwood’s parent motto is “Nothing Lasts”

When “First Lady of Deadwood” Mary Lou Goertzen stands in front of her old Hippie bus that she’s nicknamed “Bluebird,” locals comment about a time when local Eugene area legend Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters would visit friends here in nearby Deadwood with Kesey’s famed “Further” bus.

“It was a sight to see: Mary Lou’s Bluebird parked next to the Pranksters Further,” explains another one of Mary Lou’s neighbors named Cal who also told Huliq during a recent interview that “the real concern we have for our Mom’s is they’re aging with each and every Mother’s Day.”

Cal, who lost his Mom a few years ago, thinks the “Hippie lifestyle” has helped him to come to terms with the “first rule of being one of the Pranksters. As Kesey said: ‘Nothing Lasts,’ and if you take life from the standpoint than you realize that even our Mom’s won’t last. They need us know as they age,” he adds with a deep sense of loss.

In turn, AARP notes that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be 65 or older; with more than half of these “Baby Boomers” being women and mothers.

Mom’s aging fast, while teaching kids to take care of mother

Meanwhile, local Deadwood mother and grandmother Mary Lou Goertzen says the stereotype that most people have of the Hippie subculture is about having longer hair or wearing clothing with bright colors or certain unusual styles such as bell-bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts.

However, as a group, she says today’s “older Hippies” are more concerned about taking care of their children in a world that’s more or less lost its way.

While she and other local Deadwood Moms still want peace and like to question traditional middle-class Western values, “we’re more about love these days because we just need more of it,” explained Goertzen during a previous interview a few years ago when this First Lady of Deadwood was still very active in helping wayward mothers.

For instance, Ariel recalls young and homeless Moms being on the road and coming to Mary Lou and this Deadwood community for help. “There’s no question that we would treat these Moms with all the love and kindness that we’ve learned first-hand from Mary Lou and our other senior Moms because they know how to take care of people. And now, as they’re getting up in age, it’s our turn as the younger Moms to help the older Moms even when they’re own kids don’t come around much on Mother’s Day.”

Image source of Mary Lou Goertzen in front of her famed Sixties bus “Bluebird” in Deadwood, Oregon, where Goertzen is known as a real “Earth Mother,” whose honored each Mother’s Day for teaching other Moms about love. Photo by Dave Masko

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