Woodstock – the original

by PAJ

It’s the summer of 1969.  I’m balancing two summer jobs, performing in community theatre, and about to woodstock-ticket-stubenter my senior year in college.  I can’t remember who saw the ad first, but my roommate Bonnie and I decided we just had to go to this 3-day music festival in New York State.  The line-up of musical groups at this Woodstock thing was simply too provocative to pass up.  So we sent away (yes, by check and snail mail) for tickets at the early-purchasers’ price of $6 per day, $18 being a big deal for both of us at the time.  This was after convincing our very protective parental units that we did indeed have a ride, a tent, sleeping bags, etc. plus some pin money to purchase food.  If anyone had any idea what this event would become, there would be NO WAY I’d be writing this story!

woodstock-programWell, I’m sure you’ve all read the tales about abandoning cars on the New York Thruway and walking the rest of the way (sans tents and sleeping bags, of course) and the total uselessness of having bought tickets – hence their perfect, untorn state.  But sitting and sleeping in the mud was an all-new experience for two middle class girls from New Jersey.  After awhile you just can’t get any dirtier so you stop caring and simply relax and enjoy the music and the experience.

A couple of fun memories.  The PA system was continually asking if anyone had some object or another.  One of the items was a spool of thread.  For some unknown reason I had one in my beaded, mirrored hippy purse.  It took quite awhile to weave my way through the masses to the info booth, my “reward” being a can of soda. We had had nothing to drink or eat besides some snacks in our purses, so this was like gold!  I wove my way back thinking how much Bonnie and I would savor sharing the cola.  But I arrived with only an empty can and apologies for giving in to every raised hand and plea to “let me have a sip, man”.

We had to leave a few hours before everything ended on Sunday because Bonnie’s precautionary Tampax got so wet they literally started to blossom.  We hitched a ride to Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City with a fellow who turned out to be a reporter for the New York Times.  We later saw some unattributed information we gave him in the follow-up article.

We managed to have enough cash to take the bus to my home area.  My mother, a white-glove housekeeper, made us both strip off our mud-encrusted clothes in the garage before entering her clean house.

A number of people have advised me to sell the stubs (I also have the brochure that was mailed with them) while we Baby Boomers are still interested in such an item…and while we still have the money.  But I think the memories they hold are worth far more than I could get on EBay.  Among other times of year, Bonnie and I would talk at length on each year’s anniversary of Woodstock.  Bonnie – one of the world’s most positive, uplifting people – passed away several years ago.

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