It's come to my attention that not everyone reading my page knows what I'm talking about when I say that I'm "an aging hippy, living Ward Cleaver's life". The hippies, it seems, have not yet been forgotten, but poor ole Ward isn't as universally known. Folks from overseas, and the post-X-generation types had no exposure to him.

For those of you so deprived, Ward Cleaver was the father of Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver, the title character of the TV show "Leave it to Beaver". The show aired originally from 1957-1963, and survived in reruns for a good number of years after that. More recently, it was rebroadcast by the Nickelodeon cable network as part of their revival of classic TV shows. Thus the Baby Boomers, our parents, our younger X-generation siblings and our children (Nick is a decade-old kid's network) have all been exposed to it, but there's a gap between the X'ers--who saw it in rerun--and today's kids--who saw it on Nick--who may easily have missed the Cleavers. Naturally, those oversees, who never saw most of US TV, also don't know them.

The Cleavers were one of the archetypical American families of the golden age of the suburban nuclear family. I probably could have claimed to be living the life of "Jim Anderson" (Robert Young's title character from "Father Knows Best") or "Steve Douglas" (Fred MacMurray's character, the father of "My Three Sons".) except that almost no one knows the names of their characters. Ward's name, for one reason or another, is more clearly remembered.

In any event, very few of us hippies ever expected to grow up to be much like Ward. Yet here I am, out in the 'burbs with two cars, three kids, a wife. In this day of Yuppies, I'm in the suburbs. In the era of DINKs (dual income, no kids) I'm the bread-winner of a family of five. Amid sky-rocketting divorce rates and ascendency of the "Signifigant Other" and alternate lifestyles, I have been happily married to the girl I fell for in college for more than half my life. Somehow, without being co-opted, while still being the same long-haired hippy who hitchhiked to Woodstock and the mountains of Colorado, my life has come to parallel Ward's a lot more closely than I ever expected it to.

For another perspective on the Cleaver family, and other American pop-clture icons, you may want to check out William Swislow's Interesting Ideas page.