What Would Wavy Do?

The manuscript is now in the hands of the publisher, and it is anticipated that Dear Hippie … We Met At Woodstock will be launched in both print and digital formats later this year.  Putting this book together has really been a labor of love, for writing about some of the things that happened at Woodstock, 1969, has brought back a number of warm memories.  Though it took place almost fifty years ago, the mere mention of this iconic event often stirs up images of crowds, traffic jams, mud and assorted anti-social behaviors.  True enough, but there were also many remarkable displays of kindness, generosity and cooperation over those three days, and I was able to capture a number of them in the book.

One person who stood out from the diverse cast of characters at Woodstock was Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney).  His personality, style and good humor were, I believe, among the key elements that helped keep things relatively calm in the midst of all that went on during the festival.  For example, organizers had arranged for several hundred off-duty New York City Police officers to provide security, but the police commissioner – at the last minute – withdrew his authorization for them to do so.  Into the breach stepped Wavy Gravy who announced that he would handle things with a “Please Force” rather than a police force.  He said festival attendees would be asked to “please behave” and, if they did not, he and his associates would be armed with “cream pies and seltzer bottles!”

Wavy Gravy has been a fixture on the “Hippie” scene ever since Woodstock, and is still active in a number of programs he founded over the years.  He also uses his unique and humorous style to talk about a range of issues including politics.  At the Yippie convention in 1976, for example, he nominated “Nobody For President,” and crafted the campaign slogans “Nobody is Perfect” and “Nobody Should Have Too Much Power.”  He even arranged for a campaign ticker tape parade in Sacramento, California, with motorcycle officers escorting a convertible occupied by … wait for it … nobody.

I am not sure what Wavy Gravy’s opinion on the current Presidential campaign might be, but I have a feeling that, if asked, he would use his razor wit to make us think carefully about the choices we face … he might even cause us to reflect back upon the points he was making in 1976.


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