The Summer of 69

I remember the summer of 1969 very well.

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  • I graduated from high school. Graduation day was very hot in our school gymnasium. I lost my voice while singing the school’s Alma mater. I came back home to a party for me with all the relatives but it was hard as dad wasn’t there. He had died the year before but I knew he would be proud of me. His father needed him to work on the farm so dad never finished high school.

The #1 song of 1969. I remember singing this bubble gum song with the radio blaring while driving my 1960 Lark Studebaker down Woodlawn Drive.

 

  • In June the last Star Trek aired. A few years later we girls had a small black and white television in our bedroom where we loved to watch the rebroadcasts of that show. We never would have guessed what a cult hit it would become.

I didn’t buy it but it was the #2 song of the year.
 
 
  • July 20, 1969 my whole family was watching television getting ready to watch man walking on the moon. Mom was baking new small potatoes that we had just dug up on the farm. We were popping them in our mouth after rubbing them in butter. We had grown up hearing about the race to space and were so happy that America did it first. Neil Armstrong captured the moment so beautifully in “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
  • The Manson murders took place and it was hard to hear the gruesome details. It shook the world to realize what had happened.

 

The Time of the Year by The Zombies #39 for year

 

  • In mid August, on a farm in upstate New York, Woodstock happened. I watched the news and heard about the mud, the drugs, the music, the sexual promiscuity. It was a turning point in popular music. Others longed to be there but the lifestyle was not what I wanted. The Woodstock lifestyle became the mantra for many in my generation and I knew that as a Christian I had a different calling.

Sly and the Family Stone were at Woodstock. This song Hot Fun in the Summertime was #7 that year and their Everyday People was #5
 
 
  • Few could believe the Mets made it to the World Series and then they won it. I followed baseball religiously then and still do. I like other sports but American’s National Pastime is still my favorite.
  • The last week of August I started my freshman year at University of Maryland Baltimore County. It was a new world for me and couldn’t believe the courses I was stuck with that first semester: Geography 101, Introduction to Theatre, Probability and Statistics, Comparative Literature and Golf. There were all kinds of protests on campus against the Vietnam War. Many students wore black armbands in protest. There were demonstrations all the tie including sit downs. I went to classes and then to work. I lived at home and was glad to have my family as ‘times they were a-changing’.

 

The Youngbloods version of Let’s Get Together was re-released in 1969 and made it to #5. This version has footage from Woodstock.
 
 

The summer of 1969 was extraordinary – changing the world and me.

 

What summer has had the biggest impact on you?

 

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