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Blogger's Search For Woodstock Baby Instead Highlights John Sebastian's Drug Use

One of the most indelible moments in Woodstock is when John Sebastian announced from the stage that a baby had been born at the festival. The child would have been a touchstone for the three days of love and music, and his or her life would have served as an interesting commentary on the lasting effects of the Sixties. As blogger Joel Makower recently found out after an exhaustive search, however, there is one slight problem: no child was born at Woodstock. Though various stories have been floating around for years, none have ever been substantiated and no person has ever come forward claiming to have been born at Woodstock. And what of Sebastian's famous proclamation? Apparently he was "tripping" on illegal drugs, espousing the kind of behavior Nancy Reagan warned us about on those episodes of Diff'rent Strokes.[Joel Makower]

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To say that it was an exciting time to be alive almost sounds redundant. Less than four weeks earlier, two human beings had walked on the surface of the moon, a technological feat that will probably out shine every other event of the twentieth century in the history books that will be written a thousand years from now. As future decades unwind, it is a certainty that the photographic image of half a million kids, partying and dancing in the mud, will not continue to sustain the cultural significance that it does for us today. The years will pass by, the people who were lucky enough to be there will one day be no more, and the Woodstock Festival will be erased from living memory; a mere footnote to a very crowded century. But what a freaking party, baby!

"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

Emma Goldman 1869-1940

Dance with me, Emma!

The last time I looked at my videocassette of Woodstock (which was well over a decade ago) I wondered about the fates of the half-a-million gathered on the fields of Max Yasgur's farm in Sullivan County on that distant weekend. The passage of four decades decrees that a third or more of them have passed on. The average age of the attendees was about twenty-two. Today would find them approaching their mid-sixties; the age many of their grandparents were in 1969!

Where I come from, Woodstock has a special meaning to people because it happened here - or close enough to count. From where I now sit, Bethel is a mere forty-two miles northwest. According to this morning's local paper, seventy-five media outlets from all over the world will be covering the events commemorating the anniversary this weekend. That's enough of a reason for me to stay the hell away. I'm not as crowd-friendly as I once was. Besides, I would have preferred to attend the real thing forty years ago. That would have been too cool for words!

Nostalgia is a permanent human condition. Each generation is nostalgic for the last. It absolutely boggles the mind to think that the year 2049 will find those of us who survive looking back on these hideous times with tender longing. Given our silly human quirks, that will probably be the case. Still, it's hard not to reflect on the hope that was prevalent in the summer of Woodstock. We want to believe that there is a magical future where, as John Lennon once imagined, there are no countries; nothing to kill or die for. Maybe we will one day arrive at that wondrous place.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Tom Degan

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