The Partridge Family psychedelic bus pulls up to the college. Keith hops out and starts to unload his guitar and amp. A student volunteer comes out from the backstage door.

“Hi. My name is Trevor. I’m really happy you guys made it to the gig. I’ll get you guys loaded in and have you guys do sound check. And I’ll take you to your sleeping digs and let you rest before the gig tonight.”

Shirley says thank you and Tracy curtsies in her adorable peach and yellow sundress.

Later that night The Partridge Family clan are getting ready for the show backstage. Danny puts on a Viking outfit with a groovy helmet with horns. Shirley puts on a beautiful purple sari and a purple turban with a huge pink feather jutting out from a beautiful plastic green gem. Keith puts his buckskin Indian outfit on with face paint and a headband with an eagle feather. Chris puts on an adorable zulu costume and Tracy puts on a little Dutch girl outfit with wooden shoes. Laurie walks into the dressing room and her mouth falls open.

“What are you guys doing? You can’t dress that way and go on stage. You’ll flip everyone out. There’ll be a major head scene. And I mean really uptight.”

Shirley laughs, “Laurie, put your picket sign down. We’re here to play for six hours for a bunch of college kids who are high on LSD and who knows what else. And we’re gonna go out and play the best show we can. And we got these great costume outfits because they’re fun and it shows that everything is groovy and all is one in the gear scene. So quickly put your Geisha outfit on. I have some extra white face powder for you.”

“Mom – a Geisha? Are you nuts?!”

But finally Laurie puts it on. The gang do some warmups backstage and then they walk on stage to thunderous applause when the curtains open. And then the stage lights hit them and silence. A strange silence that lasts for just a few moments before the hysterical sobbing fills the auditorium.

Soon the entire audience is crying. Some of them are pounding their hands and feet on the gymnasium floor. Some of the long-hairs are grabbing their hair and pulling it out by the roots as they hyperventilate and collapse to the ground. In a matter of minutes the entire audience is holding up protest signs and screaming, “Get off the stage!”


Laurie turns and says to Shirley, “I told you, Mom! What were you thinking?”

Shirley looks at Laurie, laughs and says, “You were right. I’ll fix it.”

She walks up to the microphone, tells Keith to play a light little lick behind her. She tries to talk over the audience but they keep screaming. She says, “I’m sorry. But in my day and age if you didn’t agree with someone you’d invite them over and kindly have a discussion over a glass of pink lemonade.”

An ugly zit-faced student with thick black horn-rimmed glasses jumps onstage screaming, “You’re hurting me!”

Shirley turns to Danny and says, “Hurry up! Bring me the TV from the bus.”

Soon Danny has plugged the little TV in and sets it on top of a stool in the middle of the stage. He turns it on. Shirley walks up to the TV. Captain Kangaroo is crying because of something Mr. Green Jeans has said to him. She turns the channel and Nanny and the Professor are furiously smashing their living room to pieces. Shirley turns the channel again and it’s a jungle with a dirt road. Running down the dirt road is a naked girl who’s been hit by napalm. She keeps running up to the screen and then she climbs out of the screen and is standing in front of the audience.

A hush falls over the audience. The naked burnt Vietnamese girl walks to the front of the stage crying. Shirley walks to the microphone and says, “You should be ashamed of yourselves. You’re in college but you act like you’re two years old and that’s because you are. And that’s because you’re going through your terrible two’s. You should be one but instead you’re not comfortable with your two sides. And when you meet people who are comfortable with their two sides you get hung up because someone’s having a fun time. And that’s because your two sides need to be one and two at the same time and then throw number three in and then you are really having a groovy happening. But you can’t handle that and so you throw all that back on us and everyone else and make them miserable. But don’t worry. This little girl is going to give you something to cry about.”

And with that, the little Vietnamese girl jumps into the audience and teaches the college students about napalm, conflict and the law of the jungle.

Storybook fun by The Maytag Man
Illustration by Whale Song Partridge

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