As the calendar turns to August, I am feeling the inexorable pull to return to a place that holds genuine meaning for me … Woodstock. Yes, a family reunion in upstate New York is the purported main reason for our visit this year but, truth be told, the prospect of a visit to the Museum at Bethel Woods and the historic site that used to be Max Yasgur’s farm … well, that is really tugging at my sleeve.
The fiftieth anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Festival is a scant two years off and, though I hope to return for a sure-to-be momentous reunion, one can never predict what the future might hold. That being so, I plan to make the most of my time in this very special place this summer. Maybe a stroll down Hurd Lane … a photo, perhaps, next to the “Tomb of the Unknown Hippie” overlooking the original concert site … even an unobstructed drive along Route 17b which, in August of 1969, was jammed for miles with abandoned cars. Ah, memories!
Though named the “Woodstock Music and Arts Fair,” the event was actually held in the small community of Bethel, New York. The Museum at Bethel Woods is an excellent venue for a visit as it contains a trove of mementos and memorabilia from that iconic gathering. I am pleased that my book Dear Hippie … We Met at Woodstock is available for purchase in the museum shop so we will, of course, be stopping there as well.
Though we have lived in the state of Texas for the past thirty years, I am looking forward to our visit to New York for another important reason … it was there (in the City of Poughkeepsie) that I began my law enforcement career just over fifty years ago. While I discuss a number of my law enforcement experiences in my book, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do a Woodstock presentation and book signing at the Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie on August 16.
The fact that I was assigned to work at Woodstock as a police officer was pure serendipity, but it was an experience that I cherish. As I look forward to visiting a place laden with rich memories, I am reminded of the 1966 song by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders: “Something Keeps Calling Me Back.” Indeed, something does.