Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recollections of My Time at Woodstock

What could I have been thinking about forty years ago? Why wasn't it on my radar screen? I would soon begin to grow my hair long. An Abraham Lincoln beard would make an appearance on my face the moment I got to college, which was then but a year in my future. What could have been so important that I don't even remember contemplating whether I wanted to go to Woodstock?

If I had been at Woodstock, I would have been able to speak of it casually over the past 4 decades. I could walk through life knowing that at any moment I could direct the conversation towards this topic and garner interest both in myself and in the experience. In my mind, it is like a life long pass to the 'I was once cool' club.

I was probably playing golf while the 400,000 were taking part in one of the seminal events of our generation. In all likelihood I was more concerned with my 3 putting than I was with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. In truth, I would be a latecomer, and limited participant, in the alcohol and drug culture of our time. While it would be nice to create a revisionist picture of me as dancing naked in the mud on that historic weekend, I was probably in my Lacoste tee shirt eating a cheeseburger after completing my round at the golf course.

My Lincoln beard was gone within 6 months of its first appearance. When people now see old photos of me with hair, any hair, on top of my head, they laugh. I wouldn't be able to go to Woodstock if it was reprised tomorrow without making sure I had a full supply of Aleve and a good chair to protect my fragile back. Last night I attended a classical music concert, sitting outdoors under the stars. I was able to watch the performers on the overhead screens. I ate goat cheese and lox and watched as those gathered with me sipped their wine. Woodstock it wasn't but at my age it will have to do. Cool I never was and cool I never will be.


Unknown said...

You are cool by my terms, dad. (Just don't speak in public or acknowledge that you know me in front of any of my friends.) How were you supposed to know that you wouldn't play a round of golf on that day which you would speak of for a lifetime? There was that chance.

Was mom at Woodstock? I thought she was cool back in the day?

Robert said...

Thanks for putting a positive slant on everything. Maybe something wonderful did happen to me that weekend, but with my advancing years I just can't retrieve it.

Mom wasn't at Woodstock but she was absolutely cool (at least by my definition)back in the day, and now (no, she is not standing over my shoulder as I type this).

By the way, I think that you too are cool, and very often funny in your slightly cynical way(see your comment).

Jack said...

Robert, you actually had hair?

Robert said...

I had a crew cut until I was 10 or 11, long hair from about 18 to 20 and basically no hair by my early 30's. I bet we all have some interesting pictures of our various 'do's".

mickey said...

naked?...in the mud?...I'm not so sure...

Robert said...

Ok- erase that image from your mind.

Robert said...

Bobbi –

I went to Woodstock and I’m definitely a cool cat. But you are too in your Lacoste and 7 iron

Howard M Lippman

Robert said...

We have our first Woodstock attendee comment. I also received a call from another friend reminding me that he also slogged through the mud that weekend.

I would love to get reader recollections of their time at Woodstock, so we can make it a collective memory.