MARILYN’S FAVORITE YEAR – 1969

1969 was the year I learned to fly. The world was happening and I was part of it while everything changed.

Apollo 11

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in July 1969. I was a new mommy with a 2 months old baby boy. Home with the baby, not working or in school. I had time to see it. We watched it on CBS. Walter Cronkite wanted to be up there too. Up there, with Neil and the rest of Apollo 11. He could barely control his excitement, almost in tears, his voice breaking with emotion. The great Arthur C. Clarke was his guest for the historic broadcast.

Neil Armstrong died last year. He had a good life. Unlike so many others who fell from grace, he remained an honorable man: a real American hero. How I envied him his trip to the moon. I always tell Garry no man will ever take me from him, but if the Mother Ship drops by to offer me a trip to the stars, I’m outta here. I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, but if they could do it on Cocoon, maybe there’s hope for me, too. Maybe we can go together. To paraphrase Wendy in Peter Pan, “That would be a very great adventure.”

woodstock-1

Woodstock was just a month away and there were rumors flying about this amazing rock concert which would happen in upstate New York. Friends had tickets and were planning to go. I was busy with the baby. I wished them well.

There were hippies giving out flowers in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco. I didn’t envy anyone. I was happy that year, probably happier than I’d ever been and freer than I’d ever be again.

I was young, healthy. I believed we would change the world, end war. Make the world a better place. I was still of the opinion the world could be changed. All we had to do was love one another, join together to make it happen. Vietnam was in high gear, but we believed it would end any day. Though we soon found out how terribly wrong we were, for a little bit of time, we saw the future bright and full of hope.

I had a baby boy and I sang “Everything’s Fine Right Now.” It made my baby boy laugh. 

It was the year of the Miracle Mets. I watched as they took New York all the way to the top. A World Series win. 1969. What a year. I rocked my son to sleep and discovered Oktoberfest beer. New York went crazy for the Mets. It should have been the Dodgers, but they’d abandoned us for the west coast.

I wore patchwork bell-bottom jeans and rose-tinted spectacles. I had long fringes on my sleeves and a baby on my hip.

Music was wonderful. How young we were! We were sure we could do anything, everything. We would end war and right every wrong. For one year, the stars aligned and everything was good.

Decades passed; youth was a long time ago. The drugs we take control our blood pressure, not our state of consciousness. They aren’t any fun at all.

I worry about Social Security and Medicare and I know I’m not going to fix what’s wrong with the world. I’ve lived a lifetime. My granddaughter is barely younger than I was then. I’ve remarried, lived in another country, owned houses, moved from the city to the country, and partied with a President … but 1969 remains my year.

30 thoughts on “MARILYN’S FAVORITE YEAR – 1969”

      1. Yes, it was a memorable year — especially if you were a young man cutting his teeth with network news and covering major, history altering stories. Wow!

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        1. I keep coming back to the thought — we were so young — we believed anything was possible. It seems like, in our lifetimes, everything has happened. We were not wrong. Everything was possible, though different from what we expected.

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          1. 1969, Since I’d spent so much time working in the Catskills, I became the official guide to my friends wanting to go to the Woodstock Festival. We got close too, and could almost see the stage. We could hear the music, but never got close enough to actually see the performers.., I just knew how to get there. Later that year I got my first real job in an actual recording studio where I met, legendary rock artist, Jimi Hendrix among others. Ran into Susan, on the LIRR, a girl I’d known in college and sorta liked. We became bicycle buddies and good friends, but I was recovering from a broken heart, and she from a divorce. Neither of us, at the time, had much interest in a serious relationship. I also made a decision to give up playing music professionally and pursue a career in the recording industry. Now that I had a legitimate profession in the Bank’s eyes.., I could finally get a car loan without a co-signer. For me, a lot of shit happened in 1969.., too much to tell here.

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            1. It was a turnaround year for us all. I (obviously) didn’t go to Woodstock. Mud and rain were never my thing, but I’ve always been happy to listen to the stories of those who did go. The music was great, bell-bottoms were in style. We were old enough to do as we pleased and young enough to enjoy everything.

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  1. What an excellent tribute to 1969! You have lived through many interesting times — maybe a short ebook of the nation’s history is in order, seen through your eyes? 🙂

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    1. It’s a well-documented year. Woodstock, men walking on the moon. Haight-Ashbury and flower children. The miracle Mets. Me? I was home with the baby, drinking Oktoberfest beer and watching the Mets win the World Series. It was just a really great time to be a young adult. I think this IS my ebook 🙂

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  2. I remember sitting in a diner on Hempstead Turnpike with you — it was my first time away from my newly-born (8/5/69) son (conceived, I’m pretty sure, beneath your Steinway in the Uniondale house) — and we started talking about our babies and my milk let down, flooding my shirt. I had to go home. And the Scrabble we played, hours and hours and hours, with you winning more times than not! I was good, but you were tough! Earlier that year, you’d passed on one of your maternity dresses to me (a lurid blue polyester print stained, at the belly’s top, with droppings from any number of prior owners), and I wound up passing it on to someone else. I’ve always enjoyed thinking it’s still out there somewhere.

    You, and only you, kept me sane that whole year, living with my Mom and waiting for Frank to come home from VietNam.

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    1. I remember that trip to the diner. The diner is still there, though I fondly hope they have some new cooks. They’ve certainly spiffied the place up since the days of greasy fried egg sandwiches. We were SO pregnant and then wrapped in early motherhood. So YOUNG. I don’t even remember where I got the various pieces of maternity wardrobe. Everyone gave me whatever they had on the theory that “who wants to spend money on maternity clothing?” They were right, but these days, babies are a fashion statement. For us, it wasn’t about pregnancy. It was about The Future. What a time we had!!

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        1. If I think we can, we’ll try to arrange a stopover at your place on our way to Jackman. I don’t know how the logistics might work. It’s a long drive. It actually might work out better to stop on the way back. What do you think? If it doesn’t work for you, just say so because I understand. We aren’t spontaneous entertainers any more. Life changes. We are going up on the 5th of October, returning on the 11th. Peak foliage 🙂

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          1. The 11th sounds great. I’ve marked my calendar, but we know how things go… Give me a call (207) 938-2753 on your way back or the evening before. We’re not far from Skowhegan (should be on your route to and from Jackman). It’s only a 25 minute ride for me. If it’s more convenient for you guys, I could meet you there. So looking forward to seeing you. Have a wonderful time and get lots of great photos. 🙂 ❤

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