…..I remember standing there in front of the horse-trough; the slow boiling water; the heat it gave off adding to summer heat. I remember the many livestock buckets of thick, black rubber and regular buckeks of dented metal. Buckets that had the hard boiled eggs cooling in them. Where the long, long line would never go away. The people in line would fan out when they approached our selling-area. Bill, his wife ,the twins and I all had cooling buckets in front of us along with an empty bucket for the money. When a bucket would get somewhat full; Bill’s wife would carry it into the house. Though my bucket; I guess because of my long hair, at the times; got more than money dropped in it. For some reason I also got paid in joints along with nickel and dime bags of weed. When my bucket was somewhat full of money and pot. Bill’s wife took that into the barn and not the house…..So, as the hours clocked by. Now remember, we had actually started selling hard boiled eggs near pre-dawn on Sunday morning…..I lost Bill’s wife after many hours into Sunday. For she and her twins were exhausted. Tired they retreated into their home with Mike the St. Bernard at their heels…..I started to sway on my feet come Sunday evening; swaying, standing there ,my heavy eyes glued on a fiery red sunset as people dropped money in the buckek or whatever….. I hadn’t slept since Friday night. I was surely tired of eating hard boiled eggs and drinking water from a hose…..Please try and understand. That damn line never let up, never. So, not being able to go on. I spoke to Bill as I still slowly manage to work. I told him I had enough…..I made arrangements for Mike to stay with the family. What good would it be dragging the poor dog away from those lovely twins. Having to Lead him along with an old piece rope down that same crowded road. For I really had no way of getting home; no keys to the van in my pocket…..With the good family’s information stuffed somewhere on me in case I ran into Mike the human.So he could retrieve his dog ,if,I ever found him. I left,Mike, the beautiful young St. Bernard in dog paradise…..In the barn before leaving I jammed as much paper money I could on my person; pockets , shocks ,t-shirt and underwear; along with as much weed as I could carry…..So, with the very ending of dusk…..I somewhat staggered away from that farm down that crowded blacktop road…..Finally,when I got back to the lake area. The van had a whole group of hippies in and around it. I saw the fat guy still sitting in the old, blue Volkswagen. Sunday night and all was much the same, an immense happy crowd in around the lake…..”Hey, here’s some weed to sell”, and I started pulling out joints and all sorts of small bags of weed of which made the Volkswagen’s's fat boy very happy. Then, I just reached in and took a blanket of the back seat and rolled up in it next to his car. Lying there My eyes stared at a campfire near by, my eyelids ever closing fast…..I felt myself being shoved. I woke, still in the night. Fat boy began handing me money; he sold all of the weed. I jammed that money on my person the best I could too…..As I sat there quiet and kind of numb. A fella my own age, with a sleeping bag came up and began talking to me about this and that. I heard him but really nothing was sinking in. Then, he just got up and headed across the blacktop road and settled down near the woods to sleep I guess…..Still,in a daze sitting there…..I saw a yellow ,rental truck come up the road loaded with people and swerving around parked vehicles…..I saw the truck’s back wheels bounce over something…..joined by a loud scream !! And I knew the truck ran across the spot where the guy who was talking to me was in his sleeping bag…..I raced there as the truck kept going with it’s occupants laughing and yelling away; they really did not know what happened….. When I got to the guy. He was alive but in lots of pain. The truck going over his legs but not crushing them. I guess the deep, soft grass where he laid saved his legs…..I yelled for help !!; it came and we carried him to the lake area….. His leg’s badly bruised. We sat him at the edge of the lake so his legs could be soothed by the cool water. People started giving him joints, pills and wine. In no time at all he was feeling no pain, had a huge grin on his face and was kissing a girl with freckles and pigtails…..Still exhausted, I saw a four-door car empty, with it’s doors open; the back seat calling me. I just went to it and stretched out on the back seat…..Quickly fell asleep…..
(To be continued)
…..My decision made. I turned west upon that only road…..And Mike, the year-old St. Bernard and I began the long walk under sunny skies. From where we started and I do not know the exact distance, but I shall guess as I write this, saying about four to five miles…..The very first leg of the walk. I saw a local police officer standing in the middle of the road. Remember, there was no vehicle traffic only human. This officer was surrounded by hippies and all the hippies were blowing pot smoke at his face…..I stopped and watched…..Watched the stern look upon the officer’s face. He just took it with his hands on his hips. For what could he have done; one within thousands…..As Mike and I continued along. The nearer we got to the actual concert area; the music coming at us all the time. Mike was getting more and more upset. Upset, due to the fact of the road getting more and more crowded. Mike kept stopping and barking. After all this was the second day for the poor young dog embedded within the masses…..That’s when I saw the family, farmers. A husband and wife along with twin girls about nine or ten. What got my attention was that the family had three water hoses going, with lines of people in front of each hose. So, I got in one line to give Mike and I a drink. The line I got in was the hose the twins were manning. I do not have to tell you the joy that erupted from those lovely blonde twins when Mike stepped up for his drink….. Before I knew what happened. I was holding the hose for the line and the twins were romping with Mike back away’s on their property. You see, the family of farmers kept the hoses at their property’s edge. So, Mike quickly understood, that, with the twins he was finally away from the masses…..So, I got to talking with the husband and wife and decided to leave Mike with them, of which they were more than happy to have him…..I said my goodbye’s to Mike of which he just turned his head at me and took off hearing the laugher from the twins. All three racing towards the barn…..Mike found a home….. So, I continued up the road always headed to the sound of the music. As I moved along the road got more congested……Finally, come late afternoon I was within the masses at the concert ground. Of which was a huge hill and at the bottom was the large stage. We were elbow to elbow upon that hill. They even had a large medical, emergency tent set up nearby along with a space so helicopters could go in and out. They even had a spot behind the stage where helicopter’s brought the bands to and from the stage area…..I saw all types of medical procedures going on, some bloody even a baby being born…..The first band I heard was Jefferson Airplane, the voice of Grace Slick, then, Sly and the Family Stone. The last ‘great’ I heard before I left, was Janis Joplin performing. Oh, by the way most of that hill was covered in mud. There was some light rain earlier that day. Rain that did not stop anything. It just was that so many people were dancing upon the damp ground churning it into mud. Those girls in their summer dresses; free style dancing with mud lacing their lovely, tan summer legs…..So, I headed back to Mike. It was late at night when I got back to that farm. Mike was asleep in the house with the twins. So, I got to talking to the husband, I think his name was Bill ; geez it was so long along , so many years ,to remember every little thing is difficult…..What type of farm Bill had, was, eggs. Yes, a chicken farm and with the road blocked Bill could not get any of the fresh eggs to market. Also, he had no refrigeration to equip the large amount of eggs he had stored. Bill said there was nothing he could do but lose a large amount of money of which he could not afford…..So, that’s when it hit me!…..”Hey Bill, we’ll sell the eggs right here! Hell, there’s thousands out there with no food, hungry as hell “! “…..how?” “Leave that to me”. So, what I did with Bill’s help. Was ,first, dig a pit near the road to his property. Then began burning his stored up winter, firewood of which the farm had a huge pile beside the barn; chicken pens in the rear of the property. Once pit and hot wood coals were going…..Bill helped me haul a large, metal horse trough; placing it over the coals. I then filled the metal trough with water…..At a boil; began loading it up with eggs; making hundreds hard boiled eggs. I then scooped them out into buckets of cool water. I even found large salt blocks ,the kind horses and cows love to lick. Then smashed them up with a sledgehammer; after all, what is a hard boiled egg with no salt…..Well Bill, his wife and I began ….. began selling hard boiled eggs two for a quarter. We had a constant line a hundred yards long; hours upon long, summer hours…..Buckets upon buckets of coin and paper money…..
(To be continued)
By George Martorano
…..So, now that Mike was settled down. His St. Bernard eyes jumping from the pretty girl to the Spanish kitchen worker…..
I, first, checked if the poor girl was alive. Thank God yes; for she moaned. I quickly looked around; jumped for the nearby lake. I took off my t-shirt, soaked it; hurried back. I gently began to wet, cool her face and neck. In a short time her eye’s fluttered, then popped open wide. All she did was jump up, look crazy at me kneeling there, Mike sitting there lapping his tongue and the Spanish kitchen worker snoring away…..She took off…..”Wait, wait!” I yelled. But she was already passed her knees in the lake, two more leaping steps then she dove and began swimming away. All I remember is seeing the light, color bottoms of her sneakers kicking water…..I stood at the bank to see where she headed. She swam some distance for a group of people already enjoying themselves in the lake. So, I shrugged and headed back to those high roots at the base of the tree where her bed with blanket was and settled in…..With my back to the tree, with Mike’s head on my lap…..I just stared out at the lake…..There, before me was the reflection of a beautiful moon down upon dark water. A moon large and just slightly moving upon tiny ripples. And as I stared, hearing noises in the distance, my eyes grew heavy, so heavy…..I woke to Saturday. The sun already had taken command. I turned my head for the Spanish kitchen worker; he was gone. I sat a bit watching many in the lake enjoying themselves. For the whole weekend at different shores of that lake, people were in it…..But, I was hungry and had a large dog to feed…..Mike on the lease. So, him and I walked back to the area where our van was parked. There was a couple asleep under it with little clothes on; inside, finally, empty. So I shut the sliding side door along with the rear doors. As I turned, I noticed a young fat guy sitting in a not so new, blue Volkswagen. Just sitting behind the wheel and looking forward…..”Hey, heard of any place I can buy food; I mean I gotta feed my dog?” He turned slowly…..Looked at me through thick glasses. “I think you might find something that way.” He pointed and I looked in the direction of back towards the highway. “Say, how long you been here?” I asked. “Oh, I came in late Thursday night” was all he added. Yet, I couldn’t help get the feeling he had not left this area or in fact gotten out of the small car either. I guess he surmised I was adding things up. “No, I just been here selling weed. You gotta stay put so’s word gets around where you can buy it”. He explained. “Oh, I see”. “Yeah, but I’m sold out, just gonna stay here, hoping somebody wants to do business. Cause I got the spot.” “…..Business?” “Yeah, bring me some good weed to sell cause I’m already established, see”. “Oh, I get it”. And I just stared at him thinking this fat lazy ass ain’t roaming around for nobody. “Well, I’ll see ya” And Mike and I headed off…..About half a mile up the road we entered a small village of shops but no food only lots of people about. One shop had a line on the side of the building, with a hose running free water. I got in line waiting my turn…..As Mike began lapping for all he could. Several trucks just then pulled into that little village. Pepsi Cola trucks. You remember the kind with sliding panels that slid upward. Each truck was driven by two National Guards. The soldiers just came to a halt; got out and slid up the panels, displaying all sorts of packaged food. Those in the area quickly rushed for the trucks. But the soldiers shouted orders and then everybody just formed lines….. I got some good eats along with packs of beef jerky for Mike. I stuffed my t-shit best I could and my pockets. I guess that was one way out of several that the authorities brought in emergency food. One truck even had large bottles of water the kind offices used…..Back in the shade of that quaint shop. I got you talking to some people who were already at the concert grounds. Was told about all the great groups that had played and were still scheduled for today, tonight and all day Sunday. So, I got to thinking; came here for the music and decided to begin the long trek. Yet, for some reason before I began. I strolled into that quaint shop with Mike on the cloth lines leash. As there shop’s owner, a woman was making a big fuss over Mike…..I browsed. I came across a lovely turtle purse made out of crafted silver, carved perfectly beautiful…..I bought it. The purse now belongs to my lovely daughter, Francesca after all these years. My one and only Woodstock prize….. So, that very day. Mike and I began the Saturday part of our Woodstock adventure…..Going for the music.
By: George Martorano
…..Again. May I state that from the highway’s exit to the actual concert site…..Was ten miles. Ten miles of a narrow two lane blacktop road. On both sides of that road were private properties of homes and farms. Yet, of course came spots along that route. Of places of unfenced fields along with not so dense wooded areas near the road. Other locations that had just a fence around it with no structures about were of course invaded by the masses. What I’m saying is any area that the thousands of people could squat; became temporary happy campers ; each moving hour…..Friday…..Well into that day, the first day. Mike the man, not the dog ,on LSD dissolved himself into the masses…..It was just me and the dog and thousands of joyous people. At first, feeding Mike wasn’t a problem. Many women of all walks of life offered many types of food items. Now drink, was a bit more of a problem. Other than the lake or finding a stream. The only water came from those residents of Woodstock. Many properties had a hose or hoses running from their lawns. Each hose had a long line of gulping people bent over the clear thin flow of hose water. You see, there was just a few places to purchase food and drink. They were all sold out that very first day. With the road bottled up, no fresh supplies of any kind could have been trucked in…..So, first I roamed around the lake area. I made a lease for Mike out of a piece of clothesline….. Walking along in the late afternoon, actually approaching dust. I came across a small caravan of nice cars. All immobile. All with there wheels half imbedded in roadside mud. In each car were young girls, I believe from some big city’s suburb. They were afraid to leave the vehicles or each other. They were dressed as if they were going to the boardwalk. Truly, they were not prepared for the pleasant tragedy and so so in need of womanly, human things…..First, one by a car window began talking to Mike, then me. Her face forcing a smile upon tear stained cheeks…..”Are you’s o.k.?” I asked. And got hit with an array of dire needs. Even some of the girls from the cars behind began yelling for some kind of help…..I thought to myself, ‘ what help? ‘ For I was just as lost to this quick, make-shift, strange world as them. Except I was a guy with a large dog…..As they complained and cried. I looked around the area, saw a home somewhat hidden up the hill nearby…..”Be right back”. And I headed up the hill through the woods…..I heard there pleas fading as I approached the large home of logs. It had a porch in the front. I yelled but no one came. I walked around back to another small porch. There, rocking in a old wooden chair was a elderly, thin man with glasses, smoking a pipe…..”Hey, any chance you know where I can house some poor girls. I mean their stuck in their cars, can’t get home until this mess is over”. I know he heard me but he just kept on rocking and smoking the pipe. I could tell he didn’t like it a bit of what descended on his town….”Look Mister, at least give me some information so that I can get these girls someplace with a bathroom, with food” .And I waited…..”Got some cabins back a way’s, use them but I want to get paid. Ain’t got no food, there’s a well water you can pump and an outhouse”. And he kept rocking…..So, I went and checked out the small cabins only two and they were livable…..I collected those girls and helped them the best I could get settled in the cabins. When the old man saw some money ,he even let some of the girls stay in his own home. And let the girls prepare some food for themselves that he offered. I felt I did what I could to keep them safe and the old man turned out to be ok…..But, you see, those girls were only a fraction of what was about me, chaos of sweet high and low…..Going back down that hill engulfed in warm night…..I paused…..For below me and around the lake was an immense amount of small fires. A sight as if a Roman Legion camp…..When I got back to the van. I had to shake my head in amazement. For inside the van there was a couple screwing and another couple entangled, naked, under the van. The lake was also very occupied with naked hippies in laughter and in wet, love positions..I also saw those LSD laced wine bottles, all empty, here and there amongst the people in that area. No use even considering to do anything with the van; Mike the man on his disappearing walk-about had the keys…..I was dead tired. I looked to the left of the lake…..The lake’s bank wasn’t so wide that way ; not many people there. I headed that way, found a large tree with huge roots extending. There, between two high roots settled in, was, a pretty, dark haired girl with a blanket along with a small fire before her. The scene was as though from Camelot. I approached with Mike….. We talked her and I. I sat ….In time, for some reason we held each other…… kissed….. Our lips feeling all .All of the nice burning wood, its’ aroma, its’ soft glow and low crackling . Came the sounds of distant voices ,joined by music and its’ beat ,dancing across the night air…..He fell from somewhere up in the tree!! A drunken, small ,Spanish kitchen worker in soiled whites. Sleeping ,then fell from high above and right upon this lovely girl that I had in my arms; knocking her out cold. I stood on my knees calming Mike….. staring at a passed out kitchen worker , smelling of booze and the unconscious girl…… Of which, for the life of me as I write this; can not remember her name ….
(to be continued)
By: George Martorano
…..Seems, well into that summer. Many had done, was doing what all was required of summertime in the city. Sun, hot city nights and me hanging out with young girls in halter tops and tight jeans. Some, from South Philly ,it was vacationing and still is down the South Jersey seashore spots….. Remembering that certain day, more of a hot summer day. I was just sitting on a bench in center city Wildwood, New Jersey. Just another good ole seashore town along the Atlantic coast . In fact, a seashore town I was half raised in…..All was well with me. My body was more than enough from that hard work at the refinery. My pockets had more than enough money from that harsh ,unique labor…..So, as I sat there letting my mind drift on plain things. The honk came first….. Then the slow pulling up of the van. It was a plain, rental van of orange. What got my attention was the large head of a St. Bernard dog sticking out the passenger side. Behind the wheel was a pal of mine, a year or two older than me, named Mike…..”What’s up?” Hearing Mike I just shrugged my shoulders and walked up and began petting the dog. A beautiful large dog with of patches of white and light brown but young just over a year old…..”What are you doing?” Mike asked. “Oh, just hanging out, nothing really.” And I kept rubbing the dog’s ears. ” Well, there’s this outdoor concert in New York, starts today, got a bunch of great bands, all the top name bands, pose to be all weekend, want to go? I am.” I thought about it quickly, looking around the quiet area, thinking ,I really have nothing to do. “When are you going Mike?” “…..Now!” “Now?!” “Yeah, right now wanta beat the traffic, hell New York ain’t nothing but a hundred miles. You got any dough?” “Sure, been breaking my back at the refinery.” “Well, let’s go.” “What about clothes and stuff?” “Hey, you getting soft or what? Time was you was the first to go any wheres’.I said let’s go.” “Hold up, going to phone home first, we’ll be back Sunday, right?” “Yeah, yeah sure.” and Mike pulled the van over and waited as I headed to a pay phone…..The drive there was all sun and hot summer air blowing through the van’s open windows along with not too much traffic. Mike drove, as I stared out the window with the dog, listening to the van’s radio. Listening to the radio stations change when hitting different areas….. Oh, by the way, the dog’s name was Mike too….. Only thing in the van was a case of cheap wine ,the kind with swivel tops…..When I finally saw the New York skyline. I also saw it go by…..That’s when I heard from Mike for the first time…..Woodstock. Mike then explained he meant upstate New York, a town called Woodstock where the whole happening was at ….. So, we drove on and on…..It took a couple hours more…..When we finally got to the Woodstock exit ; vehicles were already backing up, lots and lots of vehicles. You see, there was only one road in and out of the small town of Woodstock. One narrow black top road and one small town…..It took more driving time just crawling along that black top road, A road so lovely with rich green hills and forest and all above the tops of people’s heads and cars…..Then, we couldn’t go any further. Everything just came to a standstill. So, we just pulled over near to a nice lake and still miles from where the outside concert was to be played. That spot near the lake is where we remained from that Friday afternoon on…..People, young people never stopped coming. Coming along the country road, from the exit and even miles down along the highway ; cars were just stopped and empty. People just left their vehicles and began walking in. Believe me when I say it was an atmosphere of total free sweet, chaos…..Oh,and that campsite near the lake. No matter if it was night or day, there were naked people swimming, shouting and making free spirited, wild love in the cool, cedar color water…..I didn’t know it but Mike had spiked those wine bottles with tabs of LSD of which I had no use for. So, within a short time and after Mike consumed what he could, I never saw him again, I mean never. It was just me and the St. Bernard and thousands of people, up to a half a million people descended upon that quaint mountain town. The very first time on American soil ,of America’s history that those masses of the so called flower-children, hippies and others became totally liberated. And with no feasible way of driving out of there. Where all and ever thought of free- will was released. Released unchained from ever, then ,known law to exist to mankind in this country…..Thus, my, Woodstock.
[to be continued]