By Betsy Thorpe
In August of 1969 I was unaware that the major counter culture event, known as Woodstock was taking place in upstate New York. In 1969 I was fourteen and very curious about all things “hippi” and I soon knew all about Woodstock’s three days of peace of and music.
I bought my copy of “Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More” at the “Crystal Ship” in Eugene Oregon following its release in May of 1970.
My most vivid personal memory of “Woodstock” was the look of shock on my parents face when they walked into our living room to find me, my younger brothers and an assortment of neighborhood kids shouting out the lyrics to the “Fish Cheer” with Country Joe. My parents had never censored me but the look in my dad’s eyes as we all yelled “be the first one on your block to have your son come home in a box” let me know that he did not ever want to hear that song played again in his home.
Looking back as an adult I understand now why my parents were so upset by the “Fish Cheer”. My mother had two brothers, one nephew and at least two cousins on active duty in Southeast Asia. Our neighbor Janet was engaged to a well liked young man who was serving in Vietnam and many boys from our neighborhood had registered for the draft. As a self absorbed teenager I did not see that the issues that were troubling me and my generation were also a source of pain and worry for my parents and their peers.
(I did of course continue to play my Woodstock album inside our home, but never, ever when my parents were present.)