We Were Half A Million Strong

Apparently life is what happens when you are planning a post on your blog. Being a grandmother for the third time is exhilarating, and something of a distraction, even if a welcome one. But back to that post…

I know how the saying goes, “If you can remember Woodstock, you weren’t there.” Well I can and I was, at least for a day. And for me the memory remains a sweet one.

I had actually bought a ticket to the event. Wonder where it is now? I know I kept it for years afterwards.

It should have been a 3 hour drive, but long miles from the entry point, the traffic jam began. We crawled for hours, as I frantically knitted. Finished the entire front of a red wool dress that proved too itchy to later wear.

After complete stasis was achieved, we realized that everyone was just pulling off to the side and abandoning their cars. So we did the same, and started walking. And walking. We knew we were still eight miles away, carrying neither food nor water, but we trudged on.

I don’t know how far we’d gotten when I realized how bad an idea it had been to wear my wooden Dr. Scholl’s sandals, with that supporting bump in the front. It was hot, my feet were sweaty, and that bump started to chafe. Some miles in I had acquired giant blisters on the ball if each foot, and had to walk barefoot the rest of the way. It wasn’t too bad, because torrential rains had already turned the dirt road into mud, which was softer on my sore feet.

But we made it! The fences were down, and the ticket takers had abandoned their posts. We wandered into the fields and woods and crowds. There was a break in the music, and we just took in the scene. It is too familiar for me to describe, but the sheer mass of young people (and not so young) was astonishing. Lines for food, drink and toilets were overwhelming, and the sites overwhelmed.

We found a spot on the hill as the next act warmed up. A long-haired young guy uncorked a bottle of water, took a swig, and passed it on. I was so grateful! All that Peace and Love that was promised in the ads for the Festival washed over me.

We heard a few of the acts (was it Santana, then Mountain? Did we actually leave BEFORE the Grateful Dead?), but then the rains started again. Not too reluctantly, we started the trek back down the road, along with dozens of others. As the cars pulled out, drivers invited the hikers to hop on the hood, roofs and fenders as they crept down the hill. We hopped onto the back fender of a VW Beetle and clung to the roof until we reached our car.

Then we returned to my mother’s to pick up almost three-year old David #stillbitter, who is now making up for our abandonment by hitting the West Coast festival circuit. But sorry Dave, there will never be another Woodstock-even at Woodstock.