by Nonnie Thompson
With the resolve of teenaged angst, Nonnie turns her back on the known discomforts of her East Coast home and sets out alone for the unknown freedom of the American West. Her soul aches for the wildness of a wagon train adventure and hopes of a freer future. Fortunately, she is coming of age with a cultural revolution that encourages pioneering.
In early 1971, Nonnie finds herself hitch-hiking into the winter twilight toward a mountain resort of dubious repute. By nightfall, she has begun her new life in a ghost town turned commune. Soon, she settles into a family of her making and marries her mountain man. Within four powerful years, in her husband’s tender care, she grows from a wounded daughter of an eccentric father into a loving woman, homesteader, and mother. From the survival ethics of Rocky Mountain ghost towns, to the paradise of a High Sierra garden and sustainable British Columbia homestead comes an intriguing story, tracing the joys and sorrows of a woman who lived deeply in nature and culture.
Time It Was is a journey through the counter-culture life in the 1970s, when the identity of a generation plays out in an enchanting rebellion that sweeps the nation. Civil rights, freethinking, and a whole earth holistic open horizons, as the world of Nixon and the Vietnam War crumbles. And peace and love evolves to become today’s ideals. It is a story of life in the Wild West, of the beliefs and mystique unique to the spaces and lifestyle dominated by the land.
“Nonnie Thompson’s voice rings true. Her story is just about as genuine as they come.”
Bob Weir, founding member of the Grateful Dead
“Nonnie Thompson is such a natural writer, reading this tome will make you feel as though she is sitting beside you, describing her adventures from up close. I found myself absorbed, entertained, and also gently thrown back to that expansive era, when everything good seemed possible, and living itself seemed infinite.”
Mollie Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook
“This sweet book takes you, dear reader, far far out and off the grid, where concrete crumbles into wilderness. Here log cabins and tipis hold pioneering hippie folk to rock ‘n’ roll among the hard times and rainbows of their lives.”
Wavy Gravy, co-founder of the SEVA Foundation, counter-culture clown and peace activist
“Most of us didn’t experience the 70s as intensely as Thompson did. We didn’t take its values so much to heart. We didn’t hang on to its music lyrics so vividly. And we didn’t follow our dreams so devotedly. But we all wondered what it would have been like had we done so. Thompson has done us all a great service. She has carried us back in time—to ‘a time of innocence, a time of confidences’—where we of the baby boomer generation came of age. Time It Was is a book we will not soon forget.”
Pat Craig, writer and editor
Nonnie Thompson is a woman of many lives, all of them tied closely to the land and sea. She began her writing career on a 15,000-mile sailing voyage on a small ketch, from Maine to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and on to Seattle. Sailing, traveling, skiing, and exploring, her passion for expression grows with each adventure. As a freelance journalist and photographer, Thompson has been published more than fifty times in national magazines, won several writing awards and artistic acclaim for her photos.