[sixties-l] local author celebrated 31st wed annivers. to girl he "met" at woodstock (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 16:43:54 EDT

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    Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2001 09:49:41 EDT
    From: XYZAUTO@cs.com
    To: sixties@jefferson.village.virginia.edu
    Subject: local author celebrated 31st wed annivers. to girl he "met" at

    I was twenty years old in 1969.
    I was a seminary student for the priesthood and on summer vacation in the
    summer of 1969.
    I was a loner, a peripheral man on the fringes of both the counterculture and
    society at large.
    It was a turbulent time in America with wars raging on both the foreign and
    domestic fronts. With assassinations of our liberal leaders, civil unrest,
    discrimination and the questioning of all authority, The institutions of this
    country were being rocked to their foundations. In this environment the
    counterculture took on added appeal.
    My favorite group was The Doors. I had a record player that played single
    33rpms. The only record I owned was ^^Riders on The Storm^^ (The first choice
    for my book title) which I played over and over. I also liked the later
    Beatles, Temptations, Dillon, Lovin Spoonful, Rascals, Kinks etc.
    Aside from the Temps and Four Tops, which were, feel good groups; the other
    music acknowledged underlying feelings of alienation and angst.
    The Hippie movement was more than bell bottom pants and long hair. It was a
    state of mind. A world view. A philosophy and lifestyle. It was so pervasive
    that it crept into and finally overran the mainstream culture. We were all
    part of it to some degree. We shared common values such as basic human rights
    for all people, the sanctity of life, the search for truth and a better
    world, the power of change, a distrust of those in power.
    Civil unrest was the first wave of change to sweep the country.
    Demonstrations quickly turned violent Hatred and division ran rampant. Then
    women rights and the counterrevolution. The ^^hard hats^^(Middle America) and
    government were terrified and struck back. Black people were beaten and hosed
    in the streets. The student protesters were savagely beaten by Mayor Daly^^s
    police at the 68 Democratic Convention. Our fellow young men were being
    brought home in body bags by the thousands. Daily bombings of Vietnam and
    Cambodia. Assassinations of Presidents and Civil Rights leaders, all of the
    above brought to us in living color each night on the 6 o^^clock news.
    The Vietnam War was evil. Perpetrated on a foreign people by industrialists
    and government determined to advance their capitalistic and political agendas
    with total disregard for human life.
    The drug scene was a way out (not a real good one) of the day to day oblivion
    and despair many of us felt. I began riding motorcycles, studying philosophy,
    visiting a friend in the town of Woodstock regularly, riding the subways of
    Manhattan alone late at night and spending time in Greenwich Village.
    I attended the Woodstock Festival in 1969. I was involved with student sit
    ins at Lehman College during the Cambodia bombings:

    : 1. I was barely twenty years old. 3. I followed a girl I had met the week
    before in Tarrytown N.Y. She was in a camaro with her girlfriend and two
    guys. One looked like Jimi Hendricks, the other like Lynyrd Skynyrd. I
    followed on my motorcycle, with ape hanger handlebars and a sissybar to which
    was tied a very large duffel bag. 2. I stayed the three days. 4. Pretty much.
    5. I was a loner but followed a car with four people in it. One was a girl
    that intrigued me. 6. I wasn't a protester but I was a seminarian questioning
    my vocation. I was on vacation and went spur of the moment. Noone knew what
    was in store for us up there. 7. I didn't get injured but the person I ended
    up with did. 8. I lived in Sleepy Hollow i.e. Tarrytown NY. 9. I was single
    and in the seminary as I stated. 10. I went to Woodstock 79, 99, and 30. 11.
    At Woodstock 69 I did a few things I shouldn't have. At Woodstock 79 no one
    was there. At Woodstock 99 I went around telling the young people to be
    careful. 12. Yes. Heres the best Woodstock story ever told: I was barely
    twenty as I said. I had my motorcycle against the curb on Beekman Avenue in
    Tarrytown when a pretty girl pulled up in a new Mustang. She noticed me
    admiring her car and asked me if I wanted a ride. I said yes if I could keep
    my helmet on because I didn't rust female drivers. We drove around Tarrytown
    for two hours and became friendly. She invited me to follow her and her
    girlfriend up to Woodstock the following week. I met her and her girlfriend
    and the two guys I mentioned above at the foot of the Tappan Zee Bridge that
    Friday and we headed up the New York Thruway. When we got within 15 miles the
    traffic began to back up. The girl jumped out of the car wearing only jeans,
    a top, and no shoes. She made me throw my gear in the trunk of the car and we
    rode along the edge of the highway into the festival site and waited for the
    car to catch up. It never did. All the cars came to a stop and we realized we
    would not connect with our friends. I turned to her and asked if she had any
    money? She had $60 which was a fortune in 1969. I told her that the rules of
    he road dictated I watch out for her the entire weekend but she would have to
    split the dough. She agreed and jumped back on the bike and we got a bottle
    of wine and rode into the Festival. She was barely seventeen. So there I
    stood on the edge of the grassy oval with this pretty girl with hair down to
    her waist (she looked like the girl on the Mod Squad TV show) a bottle of
    wine and my bike surrounded by 400000 soul mates. It doesn't get any better!
    Then we watched as a tractor drove along a cleared portion of earth (all the
    grass was trampled and the mud and 500 years of cow manure were coming to the
    surface) I watched as the tractor ran over what appeared to be a mound of
    earth as a human hand flung out. It became evident that a person had been in
    a mummy sleeping bag and had been run over. I ran to the trailers and banged
    on a door until the doctor came out. I told him he had to come and help
    because someone had been run over. "What do you want me to DO!" he said
    explaining that thousands of people were overdosing, having babies etc. "Are
    you kidding?" I said "I'll knock you out damn it!" " I'm sorry,^^ he said" but
    I will call a medivac unit. The helicopter flew in and removed the young man
    already dead. It was like a replay of the 6 o^^clock news with all my fellow
    young Americans coming back in body bags from Nam. Then the rain came. We
    were cold and wet and found refuge in other people^^s tents was we slept
    briefly an hour at a time. We sloshed around together the entire weekend,
    listening to the music and taking in the scene. My friend stepped on glass
    and cut her foot. She got help in on of the medical tents. In between the
    music played and everyone got along- no assaults or murders. People loving
    each other. Saturday night Sly and The Family Stone came on stage and sung
    "Gotta get Highyer" and 500000 young people shouted the lyrics at the top of
    their lungs. By Sunday I was sick and thought I had pneumonia. So I decide
    not to wait for Hendricks and took my friend home. Riding down the Thruway in
    torrential rain I had a premonition of a crash. Just then the memory of my
    roommate from the seminary entered my mind to remind me he worked in a camp
    in the Catskills. I turned off the road and stopped at a store and asked if
    they heard of St. Vincent^^s camp. It was just down the road! I pulled in to
    the camp with a full beard and leather jacket, a big knife strapped to my
    waist on my black bike. The young girl on the back was literally in tatters.
    The old Irish Catholic nun at the gate was mortified when I told her I was
    seminarian. My roommate identified me and was let in. I slept under ten
    covers in a big log bed while news reports about the disaster area we had
    just come from played on the TV. The next day it was sunny and clear as I
    dropped my new friend of on a corner in Tarrytown, Tears welled up in her
    eyes as I explained I was headed back to the seminary. Once back at school in
    my vestments whenever I opened my prayer book the picture of that sweet girl
    with tears in her eyes would appear. I put up with it for three months before
    I cranked up the bike and rode back over the Throggs Neck Bridge to tell her
    I might be able to see her once in a while. Ps. thirty two years later we are
    still married! A very true story. June 28 we celebrated our 31st wedding
    Christopher Cole www.xlibris.com/thecloserssong.html

    There was no police harassment at Woodstock that I observed. Just the
    opposite. They left everyone alone and were friendly.
     I felt a camaraderie with the downtrodden and oppressed. I was poor, strong
    willed, and a fiercely independent thinker. I was a philosopher and an
    existentialist. When I ultimately decided to leave the seminary (I had
    studied since age 13) I underwent a religious and moral crisis. It was a time
    of deep emotion and psychological soul searching.
    Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be selling luxury
    automobiles thirty years later!
    I think a lot of us became disillusioned back then just after Woodstock, Alta
    Mont and Kent State. We all went on with our lives and buried our ideals. We
    became jaded and cynical. We ultimately matured (how horrible!). But there is
    a reawakening, a resurgence beginning to sweep the country, I feel. A lot of
    us including myself are beginning to look back to those times and question
    the paths we have taken. (That^^s part of the reason I wrote my book) We are
    trying to recapture the magic and the light we left behind.
    The experiences of the past were both liberating and dehabilitating. Many of
    us who experimented with mindaltering substances for instance, may have
    actually changed who we were, the very makeup of our own brains and
    personalities. There is something sad in that I think. Maybe that explains
    the comical situation I put myself in at the twenty fifth reunion at
    Woodstock in Bethel were I walked around at night telling young people
    smoking pot that ^^you really shouldn^^t be doing that^^. Being a parent now
    myself (a grandparent actually) I wished I had taken it a little
    easier on my own parents. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if
    I went all the way and became ordained. How many people would I have helped?
    To borrow a phrase ^^It was the best of times and the worst of times^^. I have
    enjoyed the fruits of my labors to some extent in my adult life although I
    bought my first house at age 25, and drove fancy cars most of my life, I
    never became a slave to money. But did become a slave to the retail business.
    A workaholic, putting in 12 hour days for thirty years. I took few vacations,
    and smelled few too many flowers. Yet for what, I now as others ask myself.

    Thank you for your excellent questions. I hope I answered them
    satisfactorily. Due to time constraints I couldn^^t elaborate further.

    Chris Cole

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