PHOTO BY: Courtesy of Mary Sheehan
I was 18. My mother had died the previous January after a short illness, leaving me rudderless. I was at a crossroads — not part of the establishment, not yet a hippie. My cousins were visiting from Colorado, and we went to the local record shop and bought our three-day tickets for $18.
My memories are scattered, except for the music. For me, Santana; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and Janis Joplin were the highlights. But there was the mud, the rain, the heat, the chill at night. And 12 years of Catholic school had not prepared me for the totally nonchalant naked couple next to us. We flew standby on Eastern Airlines back to Boston. I remember washing the mud off in the airport bathroom, unfazed by disgusted stares.... It wasn't life-changing. It was more of a portal into a life that could be more significant than what I had been imagining. I have no secrets to impart on how to “get ourselves back to the garden.” But if every generation has a responsibility to offer lessons for the future, it's ours to teach peace, love and — as Richie Havens sang at Woodstock — “Freedom"!
Mary Sheehan, Sparkill, New York