On July 15, 1969, six days before I celebrated my 18th birthday, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. One month to the day after that eventful birth, the biggest historic phenomenon of my life – other than giving birth and attending a 1965 Beatles concert, was scheduled to occur – the first ever Woodstock Music & Art Fair! I really wanted to go, but my (then) husband didn’t and, to be honest, I was too self-conscious to nurse my baby in front of a bunch of strangers.
I wouldn’t have minded the drive, though. All I needed was a map (no GPS in those days) and I was good to go. So I found a map, located Woodstock, and decided I would make the trip alone with my baby. But – on second thought – I’d never been a fan of heat and humidity, so the thought of spending three nights in a tent in the August heat didn’t appeal to me – at all. Plus, I’d have to rent a tent (and where would I find the money for that? – I had just spent every penny I had on the doctor and hospital bill, because husbo had no money, and though I packed him a lunch every day for work, I later discovered he was taking that prepared lunch to the beach every day, because he didn’t actually have a job).
Anyway, though I considered myself to be a hippie, I failed miserably when it came to living what I perceived to be the hippie lifestyle – you know, living off the land, camping – things like that. So I missed one of the biggest events of my life. And every year when the anniversary of Woodstock rolls by, I think about that festival and how, if only I hadn’t been so self-conscious, I could have been part of history.
As we tend to do when we age, though, and as we reminisce about things we did and didn’t do, I have to admit that, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t go to Woodstock. Although I would have applauded myself for being the first to arrive on the scene, my baby and I would have been the only ones sitting on an empty farm field in Woodstock, Illinois, wondering if the festival had been cancelled.