We were 49 years late!
Yesterday evening we arrived in Honesdale, PA to visit with our good friends Jeff and Susan and their awesome dogs Heidi, Bella, Fred, and Ellie. Jeff had today off, and he suggested a visit to the Woodstock museum at the Bethel Woods Cultural Arts Center which is at the site where the legendary event took place in the summer of 1969--the summer the three of us graduated from high school.
It was the end of a tumultuous decade, and the one in which we came of age: The Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, two Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr assassinated, the civil rights act, the Vietnam war, race riots, demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention, Armstrong set foot on the moon, and 400,000 of our contemporaries attended a legendary rock concert that could easily have been a disaster, but turned out to be a massively peaceful love-fest. As we moved through the exhibits, re-living our past, I was saddened by how little has changed.
The first act at Woodstock was Richie Havens, who opened with his song Freedom, and Jimi Hendrix closed the show with his gut- and heart-wrenching rendition of our national anthem. We continue to be plagued with racial prejudice, we get involved in wars that cannot be won and aren't ours to fight, and our country is more polarized than ever over guns, immigrants, women's rights, and how we should behave when our national anthem is played. And as we did 50 years ago, we demonstrate, protest, resist, vote, and take action to effect change.
But part of what saved Woodstock from deteriorating into chaos was that when the infrastructure and weather failed, the local residents and authorities who 'didn't want all those drugged out hippies' in their backyard, stepped up with food, water, first aid, and transportation. And their 'guests' turned out to be friendlier and less scary than anticipated. So maybe we just need to welcome more guests into our neighborhood, and get acquainted with their 'strange ways and loud music'.
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.