Friday, August 17, 2007

This Day in History

I really enjoy the New York Times feature on "this day in history." Today's marked the end of the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, something, as Len says, "from the childhood of my youth." Woodstock actually took place in Bethel, New York because they lost the original location for some reason. But say "Woodstock" and everyone over a certain age knows exactly what you're talking about.

The poster here is not the original for the event, but it is the one which always comes to mind. I remember one hung in the New College student lounge at Hofstra when I started there in September that year. I think Len had an artist do a parody of it for a Marvel comic he wrote around the time of the 25th anniversary of the festival.

I lived in a different part of the Catskill mountains from where this phenomena occurred, but there was no way in hell my parents would have permitted me to attend. Truth be known, half a million people in the mud with limited toilets would not have been my idea of a good time, even then. A number of people near and dear to me were there, however, and it was an iconic event to my generation.

My husband has his pristine tickets in a drawer in his office. Nobody collected tickets when there were that many gate-crashers. He and his good friend Peter went. They had a car to sleep in, but Len claims they were still covered in mud. My friend Karen was there as well. I think she may have been a volunteer in the medical services tent, or maybe that was another friend of mine.

Even in my small town, news of the upcoming event had been heard and some people I with whom I had just graduated from high school planned to go as a fling before we went off to college in September. I don't know if they got there or not. The road conditions rivaled present-day L.A. in a rain-storm. Traffic was stopped dead for many miles on the major thoroughfares. People who had tickets couldn't get within 25 miles of the place. People abandoned their cars and got out to walk.

I remember well that it was a very wet summer and that some Native Americans attributed the rain to the gods' anger that man had walked on the moon in July. I don't think the film A Walk on the Moon accurately reflects the wet weather of that summer, but you do get to see a pre-Aragorn Viggo Mortensen as the sexy "blouse man" who whisks Diane Lane off to the Festival. Maybe I'll slip that into the DVD player tonight for fun.

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