Friday, August 14, 2009
I remember Woodstock ...40th Anniversary
It seems like yesterday that I was up early putting on my bell bottom pants, sandals, love beads, tee shirt, vest, leather wrap band around my head, peace necklace and heading out the door for Woodstock New York with my Dad.
My Dad was hired to do some security up at the festival. One of his responsibilities was to hire people to take the tickets at entrances. Lucky me, I was able to call my friends to work for my Dad. So bright and early we all piled into my Dads car and up the NY Thruway we went. The plan was to work our shift, return home, and go back again for the next 2 days. We could hear the music and get paid. It sounded perfect. Little did we all know what was to lie ahead.
My Dad was a character and super conservative. I use to date this guy with long hair and my Dad use to yell at him to cut his Hippie hair. If you wore bell bottoms my Dad would rant on and on about the Hippies. He thought that his daughter was out of control by the way I dressed and my Hippie friends. One can only imagine how ironic it was for my Dad to be headed to Woodstock with a bunch of Hippie girls in his car. I remember my Mom going with the flow. The musical HAIR was on Broadway that summer. My Mom loved that album. Mom was singing the songs from HAIR and dancing around the breakfast table with the stereo blasting that morning. She wished she could come to Woodstock to hear all the wonderful music.
After driving a certain distance the cars began to crawl up the NY Thruway. People started to jump onto our car for a ride and my Dad was yelling for the Hippies to get off of his car. Stop and go traffic caused my Dads car and many other cars to overheat. It was obvious that we were only getting up to Woodstock by hitching a ride with a working car or walking. My Dad asked this car full of Hippie guys to take us the rest of the way to Woodstock as he stayed with his car. They said sure old man to which my Dad went berserk.
Let me back up here a moment. My Dad had a conversation with several truckers who were on their way back from Woodstock. They told my Dad that all the roads were blocked ahead. These trucks contained lighting and fencing posts needed for the concert. My Dad knew that this was going to be a major issue but at this point I am not sure he knew the magnitude of all the other problems.
So, the Hippies in the car stopped at one point and told us to get off the trunk of their car because they needed to get into the trunk. The trunk was loaded with drugs. Of all the cars my Dad picked for us to finish the journey this made me and my friends laugh. Eventually traffic stopped and people just abandoned their cars and everyone walked into Woodstock and the rest is history.
My Dad went back home and we stayed until Sunday morning. Miracle of miracle that the next day we were able to meet up with the rest of our friends. The rain and the mud made for lots of mosquito bites and sucked up my sandals. The lack of food did not help but the music made up for these minor inconveniences. I stepped on a soda can pop top and was given a # of 900 at the medical tent to come back for a tetanus shot when the helicopter made the next drug drop off. Drug drop? That was a joke as you could find drugs readily all around you. Flying in some food would have been a good idea.
Talking about food... Mom was home dancing to the music and looking for my face on TV. She could not believe my Dad left us alone up there. She had everyone saying a rosary for my safety. My Italian Aunts were running to and from church lighting candles for me. Italians like a crisis and this was indeed a crisis since I was sort of missing. The house was packed every day with family bringing food over to comfort my Mom. Your typical Italian vigil for the return of the prodigal son but in this case the Hippie daughter.
How did we get home? We walked out on Sunday morning and into the town where generous people handed us jelly sandwiches and gave us water to drink from hoses. We jumped on cars and rode down the Thruway until we found a friends car and drove home. My parents were so happy to see me. I was so filthy with all this dried mud on my body that my Mom hung two sheets over her clothes line and I stripped outside. My clothing went into the garbage. I was given a towel and ran into the house to take a long hot bath. Oh, and of course the Aunts were all there to welcome me back with meatballs and pasta!
The media then consisted of about 3 major stations on TV and the clips they were showing did not come close to the amount of people attending Woodstock. I like to tell people it was like going to a concert at a mega football stadium . No matter which direction you turned the ENTIRE crowd moved with you. Would I go again? You betcha. My Dad came to the realization that Hippies were not all drug crazed kids and my Mom and I were forever dancing to the wonderful music of Woodstock.