MADELEINE BRAND, host:
"Mad Men" takes place in the earlier 1960s. Let's flash forward to 1969. That was 40 years ago.
Commentator Marcus Rosenbaum went to Woodstock then. It was cold. It was wet. There was no food. He only stayed one night.
MARCUS ROSENBAUM: There were three carloads of us driving up from Washington. And if we got separated, well, we had a good plan: We'd hold up a stick with three bandannas, two red and one blue. About eight miles out, it became clear we were going no further, so we grabbed some blankets and started hoofing it down the road.
We walked and walked and walked, and three hours later, we arrived at what clearly was the venue. We headed toward the music and huddled under a couple of blankets as the skies opened up and dumped relentless quantities of water on us.
I think we were there only a couple of sets before the official stage shut down for the night. I dozed off with two others under a single blanket to endless announcements about lost people, lost things and bad drugs. We had no idea how many other souls were suffering a similar fate until sunrise.
As the music started, we peeked out from under our blanket, and oh, my God. Body after body, side by side, hundreds of yards in front of us up to the stage, and then up the sides of the hills all around. The musician David Crosby is quoted as saying it was like an encampment of the Macedonian army on the Greek hills.
Somebody said, was that one red bandanna and two blue bandannas, or one blue and two red? We laughed so hard it almost warmed us up. Almost.
Then someone said, let's go home. We started our long hike out, found the car, drove back to Washington, and all took long, hot showers. Only then did we start to think that maybe we should have stayed.
Like so many things from the '60s, Woodstock was a blend of the miserable and the euphoric, the remarkable and the mundane, the sophisticated and the callow. And like so many things in the past, it's hard to separate the true from the false memories.
But here's one more fact: After a good night's sleep, I broke up with the girl who'd slept on my left shoulder and started going out with the girl who'd slept on my right.
The girl who'd been on my right shoulder sent me a note the other day to remind me that we had watched the moon landing together in my basement apartment. I wondered why, since I knew we didn't start going out until after Woodstock. She said, I don't know. It was the '60s. The time-space continuum was distorted then.
Yep, but the music was great.
BRAND: Marcus Rosenbaum lives in Washington, D.C.
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