50 years and counting (Aug. 21)

by Debbie Norrell, Lifestyles Editor

After celebrating a recent birthday it’s hard to believe that a lot of my significant life experiences took place 50 years ago or more. This just hit me when I heard an announcement about the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. I remember the time when my classmates at Taylor Allderdice High School were trying to play a certain Beatles record backwards to get a message about tickets to Woodstock. Those were some crazy days. My school attire included wearing bell bottom jeans that were frayed at the hem, a vintage China Mink coat and a braided piece of suede around my head. Parts of the year I was a true hippie, the rest of the time I was model chic.

When I got an email earlier this year asking me if I was interested in a 50-year class reunion it all began to sink in. I’ve been out of high school for almost 50 years. I attended my 10, 20 and 30-year reunions but I’m not so sure I want to attend the 50th. Most of the people that I want to see or connect with I have done so on Facebook or in person. There is so much I remember about that time. Richard Nixon was president; the cost of gas was 35 cents a gallon and I could fill up my Volkswagen Beetle for $5. I bought that VW at Ted McWilliams on William Penn Highway.

Some interesting stats for 1969: the average cost of a house, $15,550; average income per year, $8,550; average monthly rent, $135; average cost of a new car, $3,270. And then there was Charles Manson—he murdered five people and called it Helter Skelter. I remember reading the book about the murders from cover to cover. It was fascinating. Now there are tours that ride by the house where the murders took place.

My favorite groups around that time were the Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, the Isley Brothers, and I was a huge James Brown fan. I still have my James Brown 45’s. In 1969 we also enjoyed music from groups including the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and the Beatles and the most famous music festival of modern times, “WOODSTOCK” took place on a New York Farm on August 15-17 with more than 400,000 avid music fans attending to see The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and others perform live. Fashions reflected the anti-war sentiment with military jackets adorned with peace signs, and other trends including long unkempt wild hair and headbands showed the feelings of anti-establishment felt by the youth. In the early seventies I used to work at Susan Ives Ups and Downs and they played the soundtrack from Woodstock everyday. That music is still in my head, 50 years sure went fast.

“I’m going up the country, don’t you want to go…”


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