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Growing up, I thought it was cool that I was born in the summer of ‘69. Shit, they wrote songs about it. They did not write songs about the summer of ‘78 or the winter of ‘43. Hell no.
They named a sexual position after the year I was born, and a fairly enjoyable one, at that. It’s not like I was born in the year of the missionary position or the year of the doggie style. That would have sucked butt. Almost literally.
And, as this year carries on, I am reminded of all the cool and historically noteworthy stuff that happened in 1969. I like to claim that much of it was done in honor of my arrival, like the landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20th. I mean, they may have had that scheduled already, but I doubt it. I think they held out until they knew I was safely on the planet and propped up in front of the TV.
Another debut of awesomeness in the summer of ‘69 was that little concert they held in upstate New York. They were going to call it Joe’s Folk Fest, but I convinced them that simply naming it after the town, Woodstock, would make it easier for people to remember after they’d smoked the mondo doobage. Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me attend. They claimed I was too young to be hanging out with all those hippies. So fucking judgmental. It’s not like my hair was long. I didn’t even have hair.
The next most awesome thing about 1969 was The Street with its big yellow bird, his imaginary friend, and an angry dude in a can. Sesame Street debuted in 1969. By the time I could speak, I could tell you how to get there and which one of these things was not like the other. Sesame Street was my early childhood Xanax. And a bowl of oatmeal plus Sesame Street bought my mom another hour of sleep, making her an instant fan.
The summer of '69 also had it’s share of freaky history being made. I didn’t find out about it until I was older and we were no longer living in Los Angeles, which is a good thing given my tendency toward law-defying insomnia. I came home from school sometime in late elementary/early middle school and caught a little after-school special called Helter Skelter. It’s chilling tale about a scrot bag by the name of Charles Manson. My ass was staple-gunned to that TV.
It didn’t take me long to do the math, and the geography, and realize we had been living and breathing in the midst of this nutjob's insanity during my infancy. When my mom got home, I had some FUCKING QUESTIONS. She had this nonchalant answer, “I didn’t really know any of that was going on.”
HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST ON A FLOATILLA. She didn’t know it was going on? Didn’t know? Didn’t get the memo? Was living under a rock? Missed the evening news?
No. Not exactly. She was busy taking care of me. Her firstborn child. The kid who didn’t sleep. Ever. Night. Day. Ever. Not an unhappy baby. Just not sleeping. Also, sick. Me. With the mystery illness, at that point. And her, with no Twitter. No Facebook. No 24-Hour news channels. No cable TV. No VCR. Not even a remote control for the BLACK & WHITE TV.
My God how did she survive?
She survived by not knowing that CHARLES FUCKING MANSON WAS ON THE LOOSE. Because, quite frankly, do you realize how much Xanax would be required in L.A. if everyone had really been in the know? Judy Garland Trail Mix would have been flying off the shelves. Flying. And, I don’t think Judy wanted to share.
Summer of ‘69.
I was there.
Fillin’ up my diapers.
My mom was changing 'em.
But. I. Was. There.
Awesome year. Some cool shit went down. And some weird shit. Might explain a few things about me. One or two.