Saturday, November 17, 2012

Of Wood-Stock

I was asked to write about this by a fellow blogging friend, so I will. It's always been one of my guilty pleasures, to shock people with my "Conceived at Woodstock" credential. In some crowds, it buys me instant coolness. In other crowds, I have to quickly back pedal and tell that other side of the story.

My parents lived in Chappaqua, NY. They were both from decently well-off families. They asked their parents if they could go to this concert they saw advertised in the back of LIFE magazine. They sent away for tickets. They were 18, just young-uns. My mom attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, my dad, Middlebury in Vermont. They had been high school prom dates and sweethearts. It was the summer of love, 1969, and they were no exception.

Unlike some of the hippies who headed up to New York for the big gig, my parents were Boy Scout prepared. They had coolers, a tent, firewood, Swiss Army knives, an axe, food for armies...basically supplies up the wazoo. They even had bathing suits so they could be the only ones depicted in bathing suits in that ever-famous nude-mud-orgy bathing hole picture that is on the cover of at least one Woodstock coffee table book. Somewhere, in that picture is a rather tall leggy fellow (6'5") and his adorable Polly Pocket girlfriend (5'3"). They kind of stand out.

A couple of years back, they gave me their original Woodstock program for a Christmas gift. Sadly, their tickets (which of course never got ripped or punched) got misplaced over the years. I do actually remember seeing them. I also think I remember seeing some sort of a parking pass, which of course also became moot. Wish we had all that memorabilia now, though.

They stories they remember are chaotic and have come to me through the years like colorful snapshots. The two I remember best were when they had cooked up their steaks on their portable grills, how the hippies gathered zombie-like at their "campsite" to try and get handouts and when an errant zombie hippie wandered into their tent while they were having a real "sumer of love" moment. Let's just say, "Get out hippie guy! There's a baby to be conceived here!" I will remain eternally grateful for that tent my parents packed and took with them that offered them (however incomplete) shelter and privacy. Without it, I might not be here.

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