one step on the road

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The summer of 69 was a tumultuos time in Washington, D.C.. Nixon was president and the demonstrations were a fairly regular event that attracted crowds that rivaled Woodstock. Georgetown was the place to be if you were a hippie, and the streets were clogged with them,(us!)
Earlier that Summer I camped with Kenny and Stevie at Atlantic City Pop Festival near “Ripple City”, a group as close as I can describe, what we call today, anarchists. Ripple City was organizing a march to the festival for the free people to be allowed in for free. And we were.
We heard about Woodstock and there was no doubt we were going. I took the better part of a day to get to Bethel from D.C., pretty good considering there was 3 of us hitching, but those really were the days, my friends! Traffic stopped not far out of town and we parked in a field where we set up for the night. That was Thursday and it was the first of many times that weekend it would rain.
Being a 20 year old and not being well prepared, I had a sleeping bag, but no tent. The car was parked on a hill and I decided to sleep under it. As the rain continued, I started to slide downhill until my head was jammed under the bellhousing.
The next morning we took off for the festival leaving behind my 20 pound wet sleeping bag. It seemed like 20 miles until we got to the site, but looking back, I’m sure it wasn’t. When we arrived they were rolling up the fence and it had been decided that at least this weekend, the music was free.
We met some friends who were camped in the press camp right by the gate and that became our base. I remember that food was a scarce commidity, especially as I had no money. After I met a guy whose buddy had been killed by being run over by a tractor, he gave me a bag of “hearts”, a type of diet drug used as speed which he’d gotten from his friend swearing he’d never do them again, anyway, food wasn’t that important after that… I don’t want to sound like a proponent for speed, it’s just what happened, and I’ve never done them since.
Woodstock was the beginning of a long journey that included going to the Colorado Rainbow Gathering, the first Barter Fair here in Washington, learning to live collectively and using this knowledge to live my life.
I’ll never forget sitting on a mountain of trash that Monday morning waiting for Jimi to come on and now almost 42 years later looking back at this crossroad in my life and marvelling at how many lives it changed.
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