Time Capsule: 1969

A 60-Something Looks Back At The 60's

by Paul Schatzkin


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Where are the dreams that we once had?

This is the time to bring them back..."

Kenny Loggins - Conviction Of The Heart (Spotify)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Woodstock. August, 1969.

The first of three crowds of half-million people I was part of.

The second was the Moratorium To End The War in Washington, DC in November, 1969.

The third was the demonstration that followed Kent State in May, 1970

These three events trace an arc

from the high point to the end of the 1960s

I was there for a lot of it. The rest I watched on television...

This is My Account of Coming of Age

At The End of a Tumultuous Decade

In 1969, as I began to harbor aspirations that I might one day ‘become a writer’ (since it was clear at an early age that I am unsuitable for any other kind of gainful employment), I began keeping a fairly consistent journal. I wrote letters – and made copies of them and kept them in notebooks, along with the letters that my correspondents (mostly distant girlfriends) wrote to me. And I kept first hand accounts of the dramatic events that I found myself caught up in. It all reads like a cross between "Forrest Gump" and "High Fidelity."


For a while now, my 'guru' (OK, my therapist) has been encouraging me to "tell my own story." With that in mind, in the spring of 2015 I felt like it was finally time to look into the boxes I'd put aside more than 40 years ago... and realized that I had sent myself a time capsule from the 1960s.


I'm working with that material now, trying to make sense of what I'd written then (some of which is indecipherable, thanks to the drugs first kicking in) and looking for the passages and observations that seem relevant today, as the "Baby Boomer" generation begins to contemplate its legacy. I expect the result will be a slightly fictional memoir (if there is such a thing... Oprah Winfrey might say otherwise) that traces an arc from my final months in high school through spring of Kent State and my various attempts to "get an education."


As I write and assemble, I will from time to time post new chapters somewhere on the web. For starters, I've posted a couple of items on the site called Medium, which has its own community of readers and a built in discussion forum.


I find it helpful to get feedback as I go along, to find out what readers think even as I'm writing. The input helps me refine my focus. I utilized this approach as I was writing my second book – Defying Gravity: The Parallel Universe of T. Townsend Brown. As I was writing, from 2005 through 2008, I posted new chapters to a website and readers were encouraged to offer comments and suggestions. That worked great up until the point in 2009 when I realized I was writing 'the biography of a man whose story cannot be told."


More importantly, writing "live" and interactively in this fashion commits me to the project. It will let me know if there is any interest in the work, and once I've found some interest I'll feel obligated to keep going.


If you are inclined to follow along, here's what I've published so far:


Preface: A 60-Something Looks Back At The 60s


Chapter 1: Suspension - In which I get sent to the principal's office – with about two dozen of my classmates


Chapter 2: AdmissionDestiny fulfilled, I get in to a college.


Unsequenced installments:


Brigadoonwherein I revisit my old stomping grounds on the Jersey Shore


Whatever Happened To The Age of Aquarius?is a three-part account of my experience at "The First Aquarian Art And Music Exposition" - aka "Woodstock"


*


Enter Jenniferin which I arrive at the George Washington University in Washington, DC and the first night I am there meet the girl who will dominate the entire semester.


Exit Marty – in which a shady character slips entirely into darkness


The October Moratorium – the third chapter in the first 'Jennifer Trilogy'


*


From Pearl Harbor to Vietnam – an unexpected find in the Time Capsule prompts some thinking about war in the 20th century


Port Huron Revisited – a look back at one of the organizing manifestos of the New Left, and its relevance to a politics today.


*


The One I Let Slip Away – is a free form prose poem account one of the things I discovered in the Time Capsule - the correspondence I exchanged with a girl I met in a fountain in Washington, DC during the demonstrations in the wake of Nixon's invasion of Cambodia and the killing of several student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio.


The Beatles / The End – A momentary distraction from the work at hand.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Wanna Know...

....when I've posted a new installment? Use the form to the right to sign up for the CohesionArts mailing list. I use it to send out a digest of new posts to my website CohesionArts.com once a week – Wednesdays at 1PM Central Time. You'll get some other stuff in the Weekly Digest as well, but it's too early to create a separate list for just this project.



* indicates required

1969: The Playlist



As I'm writing this book, I've been assembling listening to a Spotify playlist of the songs that provided my personal soundtrack to the period. I typically start with an instrumental by Quicksilver Messenger Service called "The Fool" (Spotify)– which never fails to take me back in time, and I have now listened to so many times that I hear long passages of it in my head quite often (like, right now, as I'm typing this). Each morning when I sit at y keyboard, I start with "The Fool" and then leave the list on "Shuffle Play" so that I don't know what's coming next. The list is hardly a thorough sample of music from the period, but it's the music that <I> listened to. Except the Beatles, of course – a band so obscure that their music can not available for streaming.


If you are a Spotify user, please "follow" the play list, I add tracks to it pretty frequently.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Thank you, Anne Lamott

As I slog through this material and try to pound it all into something that somebody else might find amusing, I draw daily inspiration from the notes that Ann Lamott (Bird by Bird) posted on Facebook on the occasion of her 61st birthday. This quotation appears on my own computer desktop when I open the lid every morning:


6. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart--your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it's why you were born.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



For all other inquiries, please contact:

paul@cohesionarts.com



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

FooterLogo_1000.jpg

Cohesion Arts - P.O. Box 210294 Nashville, TN 37143 | www.cohesionarts.com


Please visit me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter

______________________________________________

background