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Those Sweet Summertime Memories We’re Reliving Today
When I sat down to write this month’s newsletter I thought to myself, “What can I possibly write about for August? It is the only month where there isn’t some kind of special holiday we look forward to celebrating.” With summer quickly coming to an end in a few short weeks, for the first time in a long time I was stumped. I looked back to those fond childhood summer memories where we waterskied, sailed, golfed, fished and road our bikes all over the island we lived on. We camped out with our friends recounting stories of the adventures each one of us had taken. One particular recollection of us sitting around the campfire was of our friends just returning from seeing the Beatles performing live at Shea Stadium in New York. We stayed up most of the night wanting to hear more about a group that went on to impact all of us more than just with their music.
I remember watching a couple of friends of mine learning how to fly in their small Cessna planes. I couldn’t imagine what it was like soaring to such spectacular heights, but wasn’t going to find out as one of my friends who did get his license loved to take people up and perform one of his stall maneuvers that usually left his passengers glad they were back on “terra firma!”
And who can forget owning a Volkswagen Beetle, which at that time was supposed to be the most fuel efficient car on the road? I can still recall their unique sound as if there were crickets in the exhaust pipe. One memory I’ll never forget were the puzzled looks on the faces of the gas station mechanics asking my mom how she could have possibly stranded herself by running out of gas!
We rode to the beach on the tailgate of our parent’s station wagon, (something Child Protective Services would have our parents thrown in jail for doing today), made miniature wooden boats out of Good Humor ice creamsticks we found in the sand and tied our kites to the end of our fishing poles to see how high we could fly them. Of course those were usually one way trips as rarely could we ever fish them out of the trees.
Our parent’s peers were like extended family members to us and so were some of the dinners they collectively made together. In fact to this day we still enjoy making recipes from an Italian cookbook one of those special friends created.
As I look back on those times I realize everything goes full circle and the things we enjoyed then many of us are recreating today. This summer alone we have friends who have been following the Rolling Stones who have been touring the country. That in itself amazes me to think a group we heard as kids are still performing today. Some have gone to France and ridden their bicycles on parts of the same course as the Tour de France. Others have gone to Italy to take cooking classes, making many of the same recipes found in our friend’s cookbook. And remember that story of our friend who would scare people to death in his plane? How about jumping out of one and skydiving your way to a marriage proposal?
However, it wasn’t until recently when a dear friend of ours said she would love to buy a Volkswagen bus and tour the country that brought me back to those days of “Peace, Love and Rock n’ Roll,” that could be summed up in one word…..“Woodstock.”
It’s hard to believe this summer marks the 50th year celebration of an event that was much more than an outdoor music lovefest. While it had its political overtones with many of the bands addressing the unpopular war in Vietnam, racism and violence, similar to what we experience today, it was the first event of its kind that left a lasting impression and influence not only on our generation, but generations to come.
In an article earlier this month by John Barry for the Poughkeepsie Journal (New York), he wrote, “Woodstock that the 1969 festival created was this hope for a better life-a better world, a more compassionate world; and it came at a time when things were very dark.”He continued by writing, “Woodstock still stops people in their tracks, turns heads and evokes a we’re-all-in-this-together spirit for divided times.”Sound familiar?
This weekend our community and those around the country will be celebrating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary with great music tributes in a variety of venues. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing those attending these events reliving part of their history, dressing up as they did back then, singing to the music we still love to this day and celebrating the things we share in common. While we may be older, have a little less hair (or none at all), a little more weight and a few more wrinkles, it’s not too late for us to put on our tied dyed shirts, hop into our “Volkswagen buses” and with that same “free spirit,” sense of adventure, enjoy our last few weeks of summer.