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The Day I Didn't Go to Woodstock

Updated on October 15, 2012

August 15th 1969

It was a day nearly like any other day, with one notable exception. Me and my friends, Doug and Dale, we getting ready to embark on a journey to Max Yazgar's Farm in Bethel, New York (Better known as Woodstock), for what was being billed by Woodstock's promoters as "Three Days of Peace and Music." We didn't have any tickets, and our plan was to crash the gate when we got there. We had heard from a lot of our friends that they weren't getting tickets either, even though our local record store was selling them. Our journey was going to begin with us riding shotgun on Doug while he drove his morning bundle delivery paper route in the newpaper company's 1969 VW Beetle. It was 5 AM when we set out, and I was sleepy, so I decided to take a nap in the back seat.

A Rude Awakening

Doug's paper route would take us through some of the most scenic areas in the Pocono Mountains, up through Rte. 940 in Lake Harmony, PA near Split Rock Lodge. The road was deserted that early in the morning, and I was sleeping pretty soundly becuase there was no disturbance caused by noise from other vehicles. So, with Doug's bundles of newpapers in the back seat with me, I rested, using them as a pillow. Then I felt something odd that woke me up, and as I sat up, everything was turning upside down. We had been run off the road by the one other car coming down the windy, hilly road, and we had hit a soft spot on the soulder. The car had flipped over and landed on it's roof about 6" from the edge of a cliff where there were no guard rails.

Doug and Dale had managed to get out of the car with barely a scratch, except that Doug's glasses had broken. However; I was pinned under the back seat with several hundred pounds of newpapers and the back seat of the car on top of me, and I had the wind knocked out of me and couldn't breathe. I was scared, I couldn't move, and I couldn't get out of the car. After what seemed like an eternity, Doug and Dale got the car door open and started pulling the newpapers and the back seat off of me. That was good, except for the fact that the battery in a '69 VW is under the back seat and now all the battery acid was dripping into my eyes, face, and all over my clohing as they pulled me out of the car. I was awake by this time, but my head hurt very badly, as I was not wearing a seat belt and perhaps had hit my head.

They slid me out of the car feet first, and after what seemed like forever, I finally was able to get my breath again, but I had a terrible pain in my back and I could barely stand up. I remember when I got out of the car, looking at it flipped over on it's roof with the windshield and back window popped out, and saying "Wow, that's pretty cool!!" Doug was scared to death, because the car belonged to the newspaper company, and he was not supposed to be carrying any passengers. He wanted us to go down to the bottom of the cliff and hide in the woods, so that when help came, they wouldn't know we were in the car. Fortunately, there was a stream at the bottom of the cliff, so I washed out my eyes and washed off my exposed skin as liberally as I could with the water I could find. The roads were still deserted though, and it was nearly an hour before someone drove past us, and went to call the police. When they finally arrived, Doug broek down and told them that we were in the woods at the bottom of the cliff, and we had to come up and give them a report. They asked us if we wanted an ambulance to go to the hospital and we said no, but we didn't realize we'd have to walk nearly 5 miles just to find a telephone (no cell phones back then) to call Dale's mom to come pick us up.

I don't remember exactly how long it took her to get to us, but by the time she arrived I was in agonizing pain from my back injury and my clothes had nearly completely fallen apart from the exposure to battery acid. We started walking in the direction which we thought Dale's mom would come from, and finally after about an hour she finally got there. She had to drive from Stroudsburg, so it took awhile. I could tell that she wasn't very happy, because Doug was actually the only one of the three of us that was over 18, and both Dale's parents and my parents had told us we were forbidden from going to Woodstock. (See what happens when you don't listen to your parents!!)

She could see that I was in excruciating pain, and she decided we should all go to the hospital and get checked out. My mother was a switchboard operator at the hospital at the time, and she freaked out when she saw me with my clothes all in tatters. Of course, Doug had to call the company he worked for and tell them that their car was totalled, and he had to tell them that we were riding with him, since it was now in the police report. Some people from the legal department at the newspaper company came to the hospital and asked us to sign a waiver that if they paid our hospital bills that we wouldn't sue them. My parents convinced me that was a good idea, because their insurancw wasn't going to cover much of the hospital bills.

After the newspaper people left, they finally wheeled me into X-Ray and made me bend into all kinds of painful posiitons while they X-Rayed my back and they told me I was OK and sent me home with a perscription for Darvon pain-killers. All I wanted to do after I took them was sleep. The next day we got a cal from the hospital and they wanted us to come back because they said they found something wrong in my X-Rays. So, we went back and they bent me into more awakward, painful positions, and then we waited until the doctor looked at the second set of X-Rays. He told me that I had compression fractures of T-9 and T-10. Now, I don't exactly know where T-9 and T-10 are located, but if you get compression fractures of them, I can tell you with some degree of certaintly that you will be in a great deal of pain.

That evening, I watched all the news about all the events at Woodstock and about how they had to close all the roads going in and out of the town, and I was very sad because I was missing the whole thing. And that my friends, is the "The Day That I Didn't Go to Woodstock."

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    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      Crazy story man! Bummer!