Friday, August 28, 2009

Where Were You?


Kathleen is going to the movies this weekend!

I turned in a book last week--COOL HAND HANK (Feb/2010). Line edits came yesterday, and they're pretty light, so I owe this to myself. I'm going to see Taking Woodstock, which opens today.

Sing with me, now (apologies to Sgt Pepper) ... It was forty years ago today ... All the Boomers and the bands came to play ...

Okay, I missed it by a few days. August 15-17, 1969. And don't tell me you were just a twinkle in your daddy's eye. Maybe you were, but don't tell me. If it was too loud, you were too old. If you were tuning in, turning on, and turning it up, you're probably a little hard of hearing about now. But you proved one thing: Rock 'n Roll is here to stay.

Did anyone see the History Channel documentary this month--"Woodstock: Now and Then"? Oh, the nostalgia. Well worth watching. Really interesting stuff about the making of Woodstock. And lots of great music.

I admit to having purchased a few articles of "Gap 1969" clothing lately for my grandchildren.
You know you're getting...er, reaching your prime when the site of one of the seminal events of your youth is identified with a historical marker. My kids were disappointed when they began asking
what it was like in the olden days and found out I didn't attend Woodstock. "But you were right there!" (All those little states in the Northeast melted into one another in their imagination.) No, I wasn't, dear children. I was meeting your father.

The summer of '69 was a summer of great adventure for so many of my friends. We were practicing up to save the world when we graduated from college. I went to South Dakota on a volunteer project, met my Indian cowboy, bid him adieu for now in September and dragged my toes all the way back to Massachusetts for my senior year. And, indeed, the planets were aligned in the summer of '69, for lo and behold we were all bursting at the seams with amazing stories!

Woodstock was one of them. I had friends who went, and who said it was worth getting down and dirty for such an amazing experience. In the documentary someone describes that summer as a bright, shining time, full of hope and idealism for a generation of dreamers. It was an eye in the storm with the assassinations in '68 and Kent State and the bombing of Cambodia to follow in early '70. But we really believed in the Age of Aquarius. Still do, many of us. The truth is, children, that not
many of us were big-time druggies--I've never even tried the stuff--or serious hippies or full-time protesters or drop-outs.
But we were all for peace and love, and most of us at one time or another piled into a rattletrap bus, likely covered with the colors of our dreams, and
headed for some place, some program, some event where we thought we could say our piece and spread that peace and love and groove to the music.
(Added this morning) Searched the Eagle archives for vintage 1969 photos. These were taken right around August, so this was my Woodstock. That's Clyde with the guitar. Ironically I was introduced to country music that summer. And, yes, that's me, wearing the requisite flower in my hair. There was no alcohol in the picture that summer--the drinking water had to be hauled in (See the tank? Tap water at the boarding school/ranch/site of the project wasn't drinkable, but most home on the reservation had no plumbing at that time, so we were lucky to have it. But I was probably drinking the ubiquitous Kool-ade.

So, where were you in the summer of '69? How about '79, or '89? What was your time, the year of your great
adventure, your group's coming-of-age moment?

26 comments:

Candace said...

Oh, goodness. So many memories! 1969 was my senior year of high school. I was a bit too young and too far away to make it to Woodstock.

Instead, my friends and I would don our tie-dye and love beads, and pile into a pale blue VW bus with brightly colored peace symbols painted on the doors and drive over to Berkley and San Francisco on the weekends to join in the anti-war and civil rights protests. The protests were usually sit-ins or peaceful marches (I was only arrested once) that ended in some park or square where there were speeches and music -- protests in the 60s almost always had live music. There were usually drugs, too, but (as Kathy said) most of us weren't into that. Instead, we were high on passion and righteousness, convinced we were to going to save the world.

And, then, on Monday it was back to school, sans tie-dye (it violated the dress code)studying so we could graduate and get out there in the world and really DO something.

Playground Monitor said...

I saw that History channel special and loved it! I graduated from high school in 1969 and started college that fall. I had the frayed jeans and tie-dye t-shirts but I was a hippie in dress only. I was too scared of being arrested to march or do anything else though I did participate in a candlelight vigil after the Kent State shootings.

Funny story -- about 8 years ago #1 son and his brother were jammin' on their guitars to Freebird and suddenly switched to a different song. "Bet you don't know what that is," he challenged. I went over to the record cabinet, pulled out an LP and put it on the turntable. When Inna Gadda Da Vida began to play I sighed loudly and said, "I heard that performed live."

His mouth dropped open like I'd just sprouted a second head. "Were you at Woodstock mom? And what else is in that record cabinet?"

LOL! He had a whole new respect for me. I wasn't at Woodstock but I had a cabinet full of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joni Mitchell, Iron Butterfly, Richie Havens etc. And I could do the Fish cheer too though I only did the first letter. ::grin::

And the live performance of Inna Godda Da Vida, you ask? It was a rock concert in my small college's football stadium and somehow they snagged Iron Butterfly.

Peace and Love,
Marilyn

Dara said...

I was only 7 years old in 1969, but my older sister is still in hippie mode and even lives near Woodstock now. I sometimes feel cheated by growing up steeped in disco music, wearing glittery clothes and big 80's hair!

Kylie said...

I was in Middle School but had an older brother who was at Woodstock. I remember it well, though, at least the news about it. And Cambodia, and Kent State...these things were happening at about the time that I was becoming attuned to the world around me.

I remember being in first grade (I think?) when John F Kennedy was assassinated. I recall the nun who was our principal coming in to tell us with tears running down her face. So when Bobby was killed a few years later...when Martin Luther King was assassinated...these things affected me deeply because I'd been so young when I first learned what assassination meant.

Michele Hauf said...

Shucks, I was just a twinkle—er, sorry. :-)

My time was the early 80s, the birth of MTV, neon colors were the fashion rage (back again THIS year; aggh!) Reagan ruled, and our favorite hang-out was the roller-skating rink. Kool and the Gang's Celebrate was our anthem. And gas was still under a $1 (I think).

Kathleen Eagle said...

Candace, I love you for getting arrested for the cause! I protested, but nothing exciting ever happened. I went home that summer with a black and white beaded medallion that was a peace sign, much fought over by my older 2 kids. I don't know who ended up with it, but I can't find it.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Ah, Marilyn, I have a few scratched up LPs somewhere. And the concerts back then were affordable. I saw so many of the great ones at neighboring UMass. But even my own little college had a few. Jimmi Hendrix--one of the students knew him and got him to do a show at little Mount Holyoke--Chuck Barry, who particularly relished performing for an auditorium full of of women).

Kathleen Eagle said...

All right, Twinkle. (I warned you.) I was teaching in the 80's, so the music was all around me. "Celebrate" was a favorite of mine, too. One I didn't like--"Another Brick In the Wall." Hey! Teacher!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Yeah, Dara, I always felt sorry for the kids who had to claim the Disco era. R&R really came alive in the 50's and made such a mark in the 60's and well into the 70's. My own kids prefer that music to the 80's and 90's, which was more their time.

catslady said...

I got married at the end of June in 1969 at 18 so we celebrated our 40th anniversary this year too lol. I still love the music of that time and all it stood for. We were busy with new jobs or just maybe we would have been there - I would have never gone on my own but my husband could always talk me into anything lol. Unfortunately he was sent to viet nam the following year but fortunately came back safe if not somewhat changed. That was definitely our defining moment in time.

Keri Ford said...

Hm. I feel it would better if I were to skip this question and instead say, "Have a blast at the movies and eat some popcorn for me!"

Christie Ridgway said...

Love those pictures, Kathleen!

I just wrote a novella and the heroine's parents met at Woodstock. I researched which bands played there and which songs. I really enjoyed seeing how many different acts were there. Amazing.

(And I wrote in the novella that the heroine's dad fell in love with her mom while Janis Joplin was singing "A Piece of My Heart." You can watch in on youtube!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Cats, my brother went to Vietnam right about that time. Clyde was drafted in the first lottery. Even though his number was drawn his luck changed and he was sent to Korea. Two of his brothers went to 'nam. All came home safely.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Kylie, Kent State happened just before graduation. No matter where you were, you felt threatened by it. My class voted not to walk across the stage for graduation but to devote the time it would take to our speaker, Senator Ted Kennedy.

Janga said...
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Janga said...
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Janga said...

Love the book title, Kathleen!

I wasn't at Woodstock, but I was definitely there for the 60s. My parents thought civilization was being destroyed during that period, but the time seems endearingly innocent in retrospect. We really believed we could save the world.

When I returned to graduate school in the 80s with more than a decade's teaching behind me, my claim to fame with my much younger classmates was that I had heard Jimi Hendrix and other icons live. I never thought memories of all those concerts would come in so handy. :)

Betina Krahn said...

No one would believe that I was a flower clind, so I won't try to pretend. But I loved the 60's with their optimism and energy and determination to make the world a better place. A number of my friends got into drugs and the whole mind-bending thing, but I was just too straight. I did have some hippie friends and was wild about acid rock and Jimi and the Butterfly and Eric Clapton and Janis Joplin and "Hey Jude" and Donovan. Remember him? The "Mellow Yellow" guy?

A gal named Maggie who just came to work at our clinic blushed to admit that her middle name is "May". . . and yep her folks are old hippies who named her after Rod Stewart's infamous Maggie May. She said her brother was named after some guy who wrote psychedelic music in the 60's-- his name was Donovan. I cracked up. The Mellow Yellow guy! I loved that song. Someday I want to BE that song! LOL!

Still workin' on it.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Janga, I went to grad school in the early 80's, and I remember chatting along much the same lines. Most of the others were about my age--teachers back for the next go-round. I remember bemoaning the loss of John Lennon, and other names were thrown into the mix--Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison and the like. So many of them lived fast, loved hard, and died young. But they left us some great music.

Kathleen Eagle said...

etina, I saw Donovan in concert at UMass! His entrance was something else. His father walked down the aisle chanting "Here comes Donovan" and dropping rose petals, and Donovan wore a white caftan-like thing. Somebody nearby shouted, "Are you sure it's not Jesus?"

You and me, Betina, as always. I was a flower child at heart, but straight as they come.

Debra Dixon said...

Checking in late!

Loved the pics. The flower in your hair is a scream.

I've seen a little on Woodstock lately and was particularly astonished to learn it wasn't supposed to be free. The folks stormed the gates and it got out of hand.

Kathleen O said...

I was just a bit too young to go to Woodstock.. But I do remember it. I was just 12... Oh where do the years go... But it will live on, and on... as the best summer ever for music... I think the en of the 70's and into the 80's was the best time for me.. Music, love life.. good job.. Ah so many great memories..

PJ said...

I also graduated from high school in '69. Like a few others here, I was a "wanna-be" love child but just couldn't seem to shake my small-town, midwest good-girl roots. lol It seemed like anything was possible that summer and, in retrospect, it really was an innocent time.

Kent State and the anti-war rallies of my college years are also vivid memories. I remember sit-ins and fire bombs, National Guardsmen not much older than I was (armed and in full battle gear)lining the streets, early curfews, classes suspended for the remainder of the term and my frantic mother on the phone begging me to not leave my dorm.

I love the music of the 60's and early 70's and still have many of my vinyl albums from that era - including Iron Butterfly and Donovan. :)

PJ said...

Kathy, I had that same outfit you're wearing in the photo. In fact, I have a photo wearing it, with the same hairstyle and standing in almost the exact position as you are. The only thing missing was the flower in my hair.

Btw, looking at the photo of Clyde, I totally understand why you dragged your toes all the way back East!

Kathleen Eagle said...

PJ, here's some icing for the double layer cake that our twin outfits and photos makes: I have a dog like yours! I adopted 1-yr-old Beauty a little more that 2 weeks ago. I'm going to blog about my adoption experience next time my turn to post rolls around, so come back in 2 weeks (Sept 11) and let's talk black Labs!

PJ said...

I'll be here on the 11th! I love dog adoption stories.