Adolescence Begins

Nineteen sixty nine was a landmark year. It was the year of the summer of love, Woodstock, and the year that Crosby, Stills, and Nash formed. It was the year that I turned fourteen. It was the year that I started high school. These were all important pivot points in my development.

The summer of love was the height of the hippie movement. I have always considered myself a hippie. Through four years in the Army, and thirty six years working as part of the industrial/military complex, as we so colorfully called it, I still considered myself a hippie.

Woodstock was the cultural event of the decade. Henry the Fifth’s St. Crispen’s day speech in Shakespeare’s Henry V captures the essence of how those of us that weren’t at Woodstock felt about missing it, i.e. “we counted our manhood cheap”. It launched the careers of so many bands, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Sly and the family Stone, and others too numerous to mention.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash and sometimes Young are still affecting my musical vocabulary to this day. I study their music in an attempt to fathom the art of the rock ballad. So many of the things that happened to me later in life had echoes of Crosby, Stills, and Nash entwined with it. When Skip and I did our duo act, their songs comprised a significant portion of our repertoire, when I was in the Army in Germany their music was on all the stereos all the time, and when I got out of the Army and started working in the Computer industry, their music was still a major part of our daily soundtrack.

I started high school at Lone Oak High School in Lone Oak, Kentucky that year. My mother taught English there and my aunt taught Art there. I had my first introduction to choral music in A Capella Choir. I took music theory there. I learned to play the trombone there. I learned to debate there.

And then, after my sophomore year, we moved to Murphysboro, Illinois. But that was the beginning of another chapter in my life. One that would be influenced by that golden year of nineteen sixty nine but that would change my story again, bending it in yet another direction.

This blog post isn’t a portrait, it’s an impressionistic painting. It is an attempt to capture the flavor and emotions associated with this time in my life, not to chronicle the details of what happened. I don’t know if I could remember them well enough to adequately report what actually happened.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.