Connecticut-hippie nursery school

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AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Hi, everybody!
Could you please help with a difficulty with a story by ANDREW BEAHRS
"TWAIN’S FEAST: SEARCHING FOR AMERICA’S LOST FOODS"

One of my earliest memories—not just food memories, but memories—is of boiling sap in a lean-to at my Connecticut-hippie nursery school.
The only way to interpret the phrase I see is Connecticut, where hippie used to congregate. On the other hand it is not in the south of the USA, so it doesn't seem probable. I cannot believe the hippie[s] were trusted to work in the nursery schools. So what on earth could be the meaning of this
?
 
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  • quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi Alexander.

    Connecticut is very near to New York City and also a very nice place to live. Many people live in Connecticut and work in NYC. However, these are people who make enough money to afford this lifestyle.

    Hippies are not confined to the southern USA. Hippies are (now) people with a more relaxed lifestyle.

    So, a Connecticut-hippie nursery school is located a rich neighbourhood but has a more relaxed approach to life. This is an oxymoron because real reject-the-system hippies don't make enough money to live in Connecticut.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Imagine a bunch of bankers' kids going to nursery school in a fancy neighbourhood where the teacher wears sandals and beads and teaches the kids to felt and meditate.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hi, Quillerbee,
    I guess I understand what you mean. Will it be close enough to the original to render the phrase this way:
    One of my earliest memories...in a lean-to at my nursery school in Connecticut where hippie-like relaxed people resided those days. I understand this is not identical but does in give the idea? If not how would you paraphrase it?
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    No, not quite. I guess what I am trying to say is that the people in Connecticut (of course, in this context, not all people there!) are really not relaxed because Dad (or Mom or both) has to travel far and work hard to make enough money for his family to live in a big house in a nice neighbourhood. The parents are stressed out and they compensate by sending the kids to a school with a relaxed, back-to-nature attitude.

    I think Connecticut-hippie is a very effective phrase. The feel is similar to "the royal Volkswagen". There is the feeling of pretending to be less upper-class than they really are.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    The book is about food, I think, so focus on that.

    The fact that the school was in Connecticut is not relevant. Boiling sap is already pretty hippie, so you could just paraphrase by saying it was an "affluent" nursery school.
     

    sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    you could just paraphrase by saying it was an "affluent" nursery school.
    I disagree -- hippie and affluent are not the same thing at all.

    I think of a "hippie" school as being one where hippie ideals prevail. In this example, the kids are learning to boil sap, an old-fashioned activity that might be associated with hippies because of the "do-it-yourself" or "back-to-nature" attitude. Other characteristics might include an emphasis on "talking about your feelings" and conflict resolution, absence of physical discipline, maybe lots of music and art projects, etc. None of these things particularly depend on wealth.

    Without knowing more about the context, I don't think we can judge whether "Connecticut-hippie" means "hippie, located in Connecticut" (neutral), or whether it is making some sort of judgement about what kinds of hippies live in Connecticut (fake or affluent ones, as other posters have suggested).

    I'm also confused by comments about the American South... of all places in the US, this is where hippie culture was (and is) least prevalent!
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    I'm not so sure about the identification of Connecticut hippies with affluence. Not everybody from Connecticut is rich, and not all hippies were rich people affording a lifestyle.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Connecticut currently (2007) has the lowest statewide percentage of people officially identified by the U.S. government as living "below the poverty line." It is 7.9 percent, which would be about 275,00 people officially defined as "poor" residents of Connecticut.

    "Hippies" might have inherited wealth and be financially capable of a more conventional life style, or they might not have much money because they deliberately do not work very much in conventional jobs that would provide an income.

    Neither living in Connecticut nor being a "hippie" is conclusive as to a person's wealth or income.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    A "real" hippie might be someone who lives on a communal farm, grows their own food, makes their own clothes, maybe sleeps in a tent, makes a living selling home-made crafts, wears beads and colorful clothes and is generally unconventional. Such a person might very well boil sap. A "hippie" school might well teach children these kind of skills because they fit in with the lifestyle. However in Connecticut,most people don't really live like hippies at all (they live in regular single-family houses, have office jobs, drive to work, buy their food in the store etc) so a "Connecticut-hippie" school to me would just mean a school that taught these kind of survival skills even though they weren't really that useful and the teachers weren't "real" hippies. There's no reason why hppies can't be trusted to work in nursery schools though!
     
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