By Judy Salz
They drifted into the park by ones and twos- a few in wheelchairs, some with walkers but most walking straight and tall. The cats sported long sideburns, beards and moustaches. Chicks had their long grey hair in braids and pony tails tied with flower garlands. Tie-dye shirts, bell bottom jeans and Birkenstock sandals completed the outfits for both sexes.
Some brought beanbag chairs and others toted blankets. Getting down onto the blankets was one thing for the oldsters. Getting up again would be something else. It hadn’t been a problem back then. They’d been young and giddy with their new found freedom and loosening of social mores. Nothing seemed impossible.
More and more dudes and their ladies made the scene, and the lawn disappeared under the sea of aging hippies. Arthritic fingers struggled to roll joints. Somehow they managed, and soon the field was enveloped in an acrid haze. Words unspoken for decades were heard again– far out, groovy, cool, roach clip.
At one end of the large grassy lawn, mikes, spotlights and amplifiers were in place on the stage. The stage lights switched on along with the hum of live microphones. Fist in the air, one old man in the crowd hollered out, “Right on!” and laughter erupted along with calls of Peace, Power to the People and Make Love Not War. One by one, the members of the first band straggled onto the stage and took their places. Bandannas tied across their foreheads held back their shoulder length grey hair. The drummer rolled his wheelchair behind his set of drums and the first chord rang out from the lead’s electric guitar. The sound was instantly familiar and the crowd went wild. Love beads bounced on the chests of the forever-young aged couples as they danced and sang like they were eighteen again. Outtasight! Go for it! The din drowned out the music until calls to chill out erupted. Hard enough to hear when you’re not wearing hearing aids.
Remembered names of singers and bands floated out into the thick cloud of smoke. Janis. Jimi. Arlo. Joan. Cocker. Santana. Sly. The Who. Jefferson Airplane. Blood Sweat and Tears. The Grateful Dead.
Clean for decades and now stoned for the first time in years, minds were blown. The litter left from raving munchies was strewn around the field. Candy bar wrappers, empty soda cans and potato chip bags flew by as the wind picked up later in the afternoon. And no one noticed. A few dudes flipped out. Some really tripped out and came down hard. The fuzz brought those to first aid stations.
When the last chord played by the final band faded away, the crowd didn’t move. After all, it takes a while to get your head back together after a love-in like that. Especially when you’re in your eighties. As expected, some needed help getting to their feet after lying on their blankets for hours. It wasn’t pretty, but everyone managed to get themselves back together, pack up their stuff and split for their cars.
The 60th reunion of Woodstock, held in August 2029, was a great success.