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  • Jane Leder

"Undiagnosed Middle-Age-Onset Discomfort Summer Tour"


Cartoon by David Ostow, The New Yorker, June 24, 2019

A few days ago, my husband left this cartoon on my desk. I thought it was hysterical. While many are reliving Woodstock 50 years hence, there are a lot of us older women (men, too) who have fallen down the rabbit hole of aches and pains. I didn't make it to Woodstock. The closest I got was eating marijuana brownies and watching the film in a local theater.


But I did fall through a door (hence, a compression fracture in L4) and have been hobbling around on a pair of very unhappy knees. A few days in the garden, and my body has gone into full revolt mode.


I swore that I would never be a senior complainer. I'd heard enough from my parents and their friends. But here we are. I blogged about the 60 Second Rule on July 18, 2019. Check it out, if you haven't read it. The gist? We have 60 seconds to talk about what ails us, and that's it. No cheating. (I suggest using the second hand on your watch or a stopwatch on your cell or computer.)


Let me get back to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Did you see the coverage on "CBS Sunday Morning" last week? The segment featured a married couple whose iconic photo of a couple wrapped in a blanket graced the cover of the Woodstock album. Here we are 50 years later, and the couple is still together--still in love and each other's best friend. (Lucky ducks, they are. My Woodstock marriage of sorts ended in divorce.)


Bobbi and Nick Ercoline: Then and Now


I found their story touching and encouraging and also nostalgic. All of the Boomers and older attendees were young and vital and at the beginning of their life's journey. There was no violence at Woodstock. No fighting, no attacks, no killing. (There was, if I recall, some bad acid.) It was a celebration of peace and love with music the likes of which I would suggest has never been replicated.


It's easy to forget that, in 1969, the Vietnam War was raging, though it had peaked the year before. Young people ("hippies" and they/we were called) rejected adult authority, and many were part of the drug culture. It was a time of upheaval but also of hope and the promise of holding the power to change society--if not the world. For me, it was a heady and also devastating time with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy having taken place the year before. Despite the horror of war and death, I feel blessed to have grown up in the sixties and have never felt the same empowerment since.


Our neighbors are having a 50th Woodstock anniversary party next weekend. They had one ten years ago, too.


Woodstock Getup 10 Years Ago

As you can see, I went all out for that party. A wig, tie-dyed dress, sunglasses with peace signs (I couldn't see much), a fake face tattoo, jewelry galore and, while you can't see my feet in this photo, they were bare.


Alas, I threw all of that stuff away a while ago. Damn. Now I either head back to the costume shop or call it a day and wear a pair of bell bottom pants that currently hang in my closet.


To all of us seniors who were part of what was called the "Woodstock Generation," Happy 50th. We may have gray hair, some aches and pains, children who are much older than we were then, but we can still and will rock on.


Peace and love.