Afterthought: Fond recollections of Vancouver’s hippie era

Jerry Kruz says he has a good market for his memorabilia from Vancouver’s hippie era 50 years later

Back in the early ’60s Jerry Kruz was an entrepreneurial teenager who almost singlehandedly developed the alternative music scene that blossomed during Vancouver’s “summer of love.”

It was a heady time (pun intended) but Kruz has many fond memories of those days. Some of these recollections are lovingly collected in his 2014 memoirs, “The Afterthought: West Coast Rock Posters and Recollections” (published by Rocky Mountain Books).

He’s also a gifted raconteur, ready at any time to regale listeners with stories about Vancouver’s first dancehall, which he called The Afterthought, a name suggested by his girlfriend Julie who had read a poem with that title in high school.

Julie was his biggest supporter and fan throughout every stage of his life, and remains by his side to this day as his wife, mother to their children, and today the couple are happily retired grandparents of eight youngsters.

The couple recently moved to Aldergrove after many years living in the Victoria area. They are still unpacking and settling in here but have been enjoying their time here.

“We’re becoming involved with the community, enjoying what the Fraser Valley has to offer,” Jerry told The Star.

This included having a booth at the Aldergrove Fair Days, July 14-16, where they sold copies of the book as well as copies of the ’60s “psychedelic” posters he had artists Bob Masse and Frank Lewis create for his events.

Kruz is also selling first printings of about 30 of these posters at the Big Valley Auction in Aldergrove on July 26.

“Tony (the auctioneer) said I should try it, they also have on-line auction bidders, so I’m testing the waters,” said Jerry, who usually gets $50 to $200 for the original posters, and $10 to $20 for reproductions.

These original posters include one of San Francisco’s Grateful Dead, which Kruz presented at both the Afterthought and at a free concert at First Beach Park on August 3, 1966.

“If I don’t get at least $50 each for them I’ll cry — but, hey, I can’t take them with me when I go.”