Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett

I bet you’re saying, “I remember Woodstock!”

Of course you remember Woodstock! Because even if you weren’t one of the estimated 300,00 to 500,000 devotes who descended on it during the three days of peace, love and music, you heard about it from the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, America’s most trusted newsman.

This year, AARP’s Summer Music issue helps us wax nostalgic about “The Greatest Rock Festival” and how it affected so many people. Google Woodstock and see what happens. YouTube has Mr. Cronkite’s report on the original event as well as some ads that will make you smile.

And once you start thinking back, you can’t help but think about what you were experiencing 50 years ago. Wait a minute. A half-century? How’d that happen?

Personally, I was 33. I was in Hollywood. I was hosting Rona Barrett’s Hollywood on ABC and managing my magazines – so I was plenty busy!

I’m sure you were plenty busy too with work, relationships, and family. And maybe the years’ events are no longer chronological in your mind. They certainly aren’t in mine. So let’s go trippin’ back to 1969, “the year that changed everything,” shall we?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit, Midnight Cowboy, The Wild Bunch, Support Your Local Sheriff, Easy Rider, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Undefeated, and Paint Your Wagon were the top 10 movies.

Top TV programs were Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Mayberry RFD. I’m sure you had your own favorites, but can you remember them?

Here are the top hits that weren’t heard at Woodstock: Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women, Archies’ Sugar, Sugar, Temptations I Can’t Get Next To You; and Suspicious Minds by Elvis.

It was this year we lost Boris Karloff, Judy Garland, and even the Beatles, because they broke up.

“The Godfather” by Mario Puzo was published. Senator Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge. The Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle landed on the moon. The Manson Family went on their murderous rampage. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion finally opened six years after its original target date. The first ATM machine in the US debuted in New York and getting money 24 hours a day became commonplace. The first message was sent over ARPANET, on which the Internet was built.

Lest you think there was the only one music festival in 1969, there was Altamont Free Concert, Isle of Wight Festival, Northern California Folk-Rock Festival, Sanremo Music Festival, The Stones in the Park, and many more.

And if we wanted to be hip and in with the in-crowd, we had to slip into our vernacular: Out of sight! Groovy! Far out! Bummer! Foxy! What’s your bag? You bet your sweet bippy! I’d say it’s probably a good thing we no longer need to be so hip, right?

Want to know the prices of our main purchases then? A new house: $15,525. Average income: $8,547 a year. A new car: $3,278. Wow!

Ah, the good ole days, the good ole days. I’ve enjoyed this little trip in the way-back machine. I hope you did too.

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

Senior activist and local resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village (GIV), the area’s first affordable senior living facility. GIV strives to bring services to seniors so they may age in place. Reach her at Visit for more information.


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