Peace Love Rock and Roll Woodstock Dear Kid,

If you look up this day in history you will find that August 17, 1969 was the last day of Woodstock. This has nothing to do with getting ready for college, but sometimes you need a break. There are a lot assumptions about how Woodstock was groovy and lovely with a lot of amazing music, but in reality it was crowded and muddy with a  lot of amazing music. Here are a bunch of other things you may not know about that part of Rock & Roll history.

Once upon a time there was a city called Woodstock that got very famous for an event that happened someplace else. The Woodstock Music Festival (Aug 15-17, 1969) three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll took place in Bethel, NY about 40 miles away from Woodstock.

The organizers wanted to hold the festival in Woodstock but the town objected which caused all sorts of angst until a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur offered up his alfalfa field. No word on how the alfalfa crop faired in subsequent years. I also have no idea why the name of the festival didn’t get changed to Bethel Music Festival.

There were ten million yards of blue jeans and striped T-shirt material at Woodstock. Give or take a pair or two. Mostly give. No idea who did the measuring especially as that doesn’t seem like the best job of the century.

Not only is the name of the festival misleading, the icon is too. The dove perched on the guitar neck is really a catbird, which is in reality more grey than white and is known for its catlike calls. No clue why someone decided to use a catbird as the icon for a peaceful music gathering.

Half a gazillion hippies crowded into the alfalfa (or what was once an alfalfa field) to trade showers and food for the opportunity to get rained on and hear great music. I was not one of those people, not being nearly old enough to forgo a daily bath and regular meals.

There were two wooden signposts nailed to a tree with street sign like arrows. One was “Groovy Way” with arrows in opposite directions. The other had “Gentle Path” pointing to one side and “High Way” pointing to the other side. Groovy, man.

countdown to college 5 days to dorm move inThough the festival mood was anti-war, with the number of bodies and the lack of facilities and food things would probably have gotten very ugly without the U.S. Army, which airlifted in food, medical teams, and performers. (Well, what do you expect? The organizers planned for about half the people that actually showed up. Thank you to the Army Dudes for helping out.)

Not only did the Army pitch in to help keep people fed and healthy at the festival, a local Jewish Community Center heard that there was a shortage of food. They didn’t make kugel, but they sent over sandwiches which were distributed by nuns. (Fabulous, right?)

There are lots of other not-particularly-well-known facts about Woodstock. (You can look them up in your spare time.) Here is my fav. John Lennon wanted to play at Woodstock. But he was in Canada and the US government refused to give him a visa to get into the country. Can you believe it? The US government kept John Lennon, the John Lennon, out of the country. Clearly, no teenagers in the government at the time.

Speaking of teenagers, the first scrimmage of the football season was a huge success. Pi kicked Varsity and went 3 for 3 on PATs (Point After Touchdown for the uninitiated). There was only one touchdown, but during a pre-season scrimmage things like scoring are only decorative. She had an amazingly good time being on the field with the Varsity team and is is still bubbling about it. She is entirely enamored with being the shortest and lightest on the football team. We pointed out that she also has the best hair and the most piercings. None of which have anything to do with being a good kicker, but a LOT to do with being Pi. Photos anon. (Anon meaning “When Dad takes some and gets around to sending them to me.” Just ask Mr. Webster.)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of getting ready for college.

Love, Mom