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Monday, April 5, 2021

Marking The Third Decade

"Got my first good six-string, bought it at the five-and-dime. Played it till my fingers bled, it was the summer of 69." 

That lyric from the Bryan Adams anthem called Summer of 69 is a fitting intro for the third iteration of this newest - limited run - series, matching the year to how many posts I've now published. Because, the year Adams chose to immortalize was also the year I too "..got my first new six string...and played it till my fingers bled". Makes me wish I'd written that great lyric every time I hear it. 

What sticks out for you about 1969, the year I was a sophomore and junior in college? Given the wild overlap of my life with that terrific Adams tune, using music markers for the start of my third decade and post #1969 felt inescapable.

* Though I started playing guitar in 1969, at the time, my main instrument was still drums. That would remain so until I graduated from college and realized the drums were not an ideal instrument for an aspiring composer. Also, accompanying my singing on the drums presented challenges.  

* I was playing those drums with my college band called SKY that summer of 69. One of our gigs was at the Windsor Hotel in East Fallsburg NY, located less than fifteen miles away from a place you might have heard of - Woodstock. I couldn't hear the music but the traffic was backed up on the road that passed right by the Windsor. Can't make up this stuff. 

And you?


  1. 1969 was quite a year! I graduated from Colby College Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude and with honors in the major (Biology). I normally don't brag but I did this despite having a baby in October of 1967! Needless to say Woodstock was not on my radar. I love watching all of the documentaries about that event.

    1. Ines; I'm enjoying hearing new parts to your story each time I publish a post in this series. And, brag on, girlfriend. You have a right to do so considering everything you juggled during that pivotal year of your life.

  2. Good morning, Pat. So .. 1969. A bit more memories than I had for the previous decade you posted about. Of course I remember the moon landing and can still picture being in my friends house down the block from where I lived - - same type of house that I lived in - upstairs bedroom, small screen, B&W, TV - with a few of us there intently watching as pretty much everyone else was at the time. I remember hearing about Woodstock, and seeing the news, etc, but other than that, and as Ines (above) also noted, it really wasn't on my radar as a 12 year old boy. I was in Junior High School. Not sure why it was changed to being called middle school. Junior High made it sound like we were much older. But, I have to admit, that as much as I do remember about 1969, there is much more that I don't. I'm sure being 12 years old had a lot to do with that. But I did watch the documentary '1969' that aired a few years ago. I found it interesting to see all of the things that happened that year.
    I'm looking forward to your post for 1979 where my memories are clearer and I should have more to offer.
    These are fun, Pat. Thanks ...

    1. RRGRMG; You're welcome; thanks for commenting. I'll look forward to hearing more of your story when I publish the fourth iteration in this series.

  3. Thanks Pat, the another opportunity to describe a year in the decade.
    One night in the summer of 1969, I was pulling duty as the battalion overnight charge of quarters. The job rotated amongst all the dozens of Drill Sergeants in each of the four basic training companies that comprised the battalion. I used trainees from my own platoon as my runners in one hour shifts throughout the night. My job and theirs was to be the eyes and ears of the our area until daybreak. Very late, or very early this day, one of my runners and I sat talking trying to stave off sleepiness, trying to have a relaxed conversation despite the differences in rank. Truth be told, my runner and I were actually the same age, 19 years old. Through a series of fortunate events I avoided an almost certain trip to Vietnam as a draftee and an infantry soldier and ended up a a DI in training company. It was a golden ticket. I could and probably should write that story someday but I'm not crazy about exhuming the corpse. Anyway, my runner casually mentioned that just before he was inducted into active duty, he rode his motorcycle to a big music concert called Woodstock in upstate New York. He said he was so glad he had traveled by motorcycle because he was able to avoid the miles of auto traffic backed up on the highway. He said he had a pretty good time. That was, I'm sure, a huge understatement!
    And of course, the Apollo 11 moon landing. We only had one crappy TV with rabbit ear antennas in the company dayroom. The picture was mostly just black and white snow but the audio was clear enough. Throughout my teen years I was a sci-fi junkie, devouring several paperback novels every week. Strangely, the moon landing ended my fascination with outer space stories. Space exploration was now "real" and a lot of the mystery went away. Or maybe I just outgrew the genre?

    1. Steve; Thanks for the comprehensive comment re 1969. Great story re you & the other soldier on all night duty with his sidebar tale re Woodstock. He was indeed fortunate to have taken his motorcycle vs. an automobile! I figured at least one commenter would eventually mention the moon landing that year. Several people who commented offline on this particular post did speak of that momentous event from 1969. Quite a summer, huh?