Wednesday, July 22, 2009

40th anniversary

It was 40 years ago today Sgt Pepper taught the band to play............
Well not exactly, that was more like 44 years I think. But 40 years ago this summer, is when the Woodstock music festival happened, 3 days of peace love and happiness. But this year also marks another occasion for me and that was my first summer as an emancipated adult. At 16 years of age it's a bit of a stretch to say that I was an adult, but nevertheless, after quitting high school in the spring and starting my work for a living life, an adult I was, like it or not. My launch into adulthood started when I was sent to the vice- principles office because my shop teacher ( machine shop) felt that my long hair was a safety issue. So the vice-principle told me I was suspended for a week and to come back with shorter hair. I disagreed that a haircut was the solution and suggested instead that I wear a welders cap to keep the hair out of my face. He thought about it for a millisecond and replied "that will be OK, as long as it is pink!"
* a little side note here, my hair was about as long a Ringo's in the picture.........
See, the thing is, my hair wasn't actually long enough to be a safety concern, it didn't fall over my eyes and it wasn't long enough to get caught in the machinery. They were just making an example of me, trying to break my balls.
So that was the verdict from the VP....."comeback in a week with a haircut or a pink welders cap, or don't come back!"

It all kinda started a couple of years earlier, 1967, the summer of love. My big sister ( badddddd influence) had gone to Frisco for a couple of months and came back a flower child. The country was going beserk with race riots, the cities were burning, popular music was changing with stuff like "white rabbit"and "for all it's worth". People were protesting the VietNam war. And then the summer of "68", Bobby Kennedy was murdered and the Chicago convention happened. I watched the convention police riots on tv and it changed me completely. Any respect that I might have had for "authority" or straights went right out the window.

Truth be told, I really sucked at school. I did well enough in shop class to get by but I didn't get algebra at all and english class sucked as well and most likely would fail and end up in summer school again. History was the only class I liked, usually aced everthing they threw at me and to this day it's still a very interesting subject for me.
So, after getting the word from MR. VP, my last words to him were..........bye.
On the bus ride home, my school books went flying out the window and I was on my way to whatever was going to happen next. I didn't tell my parents right away, in fact I can't say for sure now if I ever did actually tell them. I continued the regular routine of getting up in the morning, leaving and coming back at night.
My first job was at a plastics factory, the foreman hated me, probably because I was a filthy hippie, but I did ok for the short time I was there which ended when I had to have a tooth surgically removed and missed a day. When I showed up the next day, the foreman growled and said..."go to the office and get your pink slip!"
The next job at a chemical factory didn't last long either. I was a schlepper, hauling bags of chemicals from boxcars onto dollies and I'm telling you, that place was hotter than Haddes, they even had salt tablet dispensers on the walls so the worker bees wouldn't pass out and stop production. The next job, working in a peanut butter factory was better and I even received a promotion after about a week! See, the line mechanic hurt his back and since I had experience as a machinest, guess what?
I stayed there until they closed down a several months later ( not my fault :-) )and it was the job I was at when Woodstock happened. About a month earlier, I had borrowed money from my Bro to go see the band 10 Years After in Hackensack and had just finished paying him back..........
The minimum wage in "69" was $1.30 per hour and since I had just finished paying Bro back and was also buying groceries and stuff as payment for living with the parents, I was flat broke when a carload of my buddies pulled up and said.........
Hey! Wanna go to Woodstock?
Not realizing that the thing was going to be the biggest happening of the century AND free, I said......No, you guys have fun and I'll see ya when you get back!
It was still a great summer, had lots of fun, saved some money and even came close to getting charged with kidnapping the county district attorneys daughter. I had spent the afternoon with Carol and when we parted, she and a friend went over to "the city" and didn't return that night and I was the last person seen with her.....................
Boy was her daddy ready to lock me up and throw away the key!

Coming next: the 40th anniversary of my 17th year.


At 7/22/2009 6:46 PM, Blogger Heather said...

this is awesome. keep writing!


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