We Missed Woodstock!


Woodstock happened only one week after our first date in 1969. The August 15, 16, and 17 music festival (well, it actually lasted longer–until Jimi Hendrix’s legendary set on Monday morning) became history and an icon of the counterculture movement of the sixties.

After our first date on August 9, Joan had made up her mind that we were going to spend our life together. Greg was not yet aware of this.

On the Monday morning after our Vanilla Fudge concert, we were back to working on our geriatrics ward. We started at 7 am and were responsible for about 20 plus men. Most of them were elderly, but one man named Frank was only in his 40’s. He had cerebral palsy, was very bright, but needed constant care like the other men in the ward. The ward was one large room with a bed and a geriatric chair for each patient. First thing each morning we got the men out of their beds, helped them into their chairs, and fed them breakfast. Whenever possible, we worked as a team. We found we worked better together than with any of the other employees at the hospital. Back then, for example, we didn’t have any mechanical lifting equipment, but together we managed to work out the mechanics of lifting the patients safely into their chairs. Once in their geriatric chairs, that is where the men pretty much remained every day until bedtime. It was a heartbreaking job to be sure.

Once everyone was finished with breakfast, we had to make the beds. We liked working as a team then, too, because we were fast and efficient together. We make hospital corners on our beds to this day! We then split to do some assigned tasks before feeding our patients lunch. Joan remembers that it was the female aide’s job to clean the kitchen, not the male orderly’s! That rule never held up in our household after we were married.

Getting back to that Monday morning…as we were making those hospital beds together, Greg mentioned that he heard that there was going to be really cool music festival up in New York that weekend.  “Maybe we could go?”

To this day, our kids have said, “You should have gone!”, but it was really not an option for Joan. She was home from college, living with her parents. She had been raised in a pretty strict Lutheran home, and spending a weekend with a guy in New York was unthinkable. If Woodstock had only been a couple of hours from Pittsburgh, we would have been there –but yes, we missed it!


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