Woodstock the Movie


"Well," said my mother who was sitting across the kitchen table from me, "your uncle says that we should not let you see that movie."

"What movie?" I say nonchalantly and take a bite of a bologna sandwich.



"He says it's pretty raunchy."

Remember when you had that one special friend who wore glasses? The one who was super smart, and her parents were rich?

Kirsten came with thick, kinky brown hair, usually worn in long braids and sometimes she wrapped them around her head. She had intense light-blue eyes, and they were always peeking over the top of her spectacles.

She was nine and is the reason that I fear public speaking to this day.

In third grade we had to give reports.  I stood there in front of one hundred eyes and next to an easel holding a 14 x 16 diagram of an eyeball with lines and arrows identifying each part.  I told the class all about the iris, the retina and the Santa Maria. It was a complete success.  But you know how you always end your speech with, "Does anybody have any questions?"

Guess who's fucking hand shot into the air?


"Kirsten?" I say.

"What does the Santa Maria have to do with an eyeball?"

I didn't really call part of an eyeball the Santa Maria, but I can't remember what I called it due to the trauma brought on by my friend correcting me in front of the class.

The bell rang for recess and we all hit the blacktop like a stampede.

"Millie," she says with her hands in front of her face and body swaying forward and backward, feeling the rhythm in order to jump into the double ropes whipping in opposite directions, while being twirled from both ends.  She hopped on in. Her feet were moving up and down with precision timing.  "You can't tell people wrong information. Maybe you should have read a little more about the Santa Maria."

"Well," I said, standing in the front of the line, hoping she would get tripped up.  "I got sick of reading about it."

"Then it's your fault."

We remained friends inspite of her lack of compassion for my lack of studiousness.

Her parents were lawyers.  It was the sixties. Nobody's parents were both lawyers. Nobody's mother was a lawyer.  

But hers were career people. So they were gone a lot.  This made hanging out at Kirsten's house interesting. Not only did she have her own bedroom, she had her own house. The only irritant was her little sister. I didn't find her little sister irritating, but Kirsten did, because she was her little sister. We hung out in that downstairs bedroom of hers.  And that bedroom floor is where we memorized every word of Alice's Restaurant.

"Walk right in it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track..." 

We sang it better than Arlo, although we always had the album cranked up for accompaniment. It was the place we plotted most everything.  We so wanted to jump onto a passing train and leave our perfect lives behind. You see, we wished to see the world through the Santa Marias of hobos.  The tracks were not far behind her house.  About a half a mile. We wandered out there on occasion, always expecting it to be our last few moments in Wisconsin. I believe we were headed west, or actually, we were headed whichever way the train was headed. Luckily, no train ever happened by when we were in the mood to run alongside it, grab the ladder and pull ourselves up and into a box car. And luckily it was always fucking hot and buggy out there and we always got thirsty for the pitcher of lemonade back in her refrigerator.

And then it was 1970.

And then we turned thirteen.

Her bedroom became the place we smoked the cigarettes that I'd snagged from my unsuspecting parents, one at a time. I had a half a pack saved up for a certain Saturday that I would be spending the night.  It turned out that neither of us cared for cigarettes.  After hacking our innocent lungs out and after reading a steamy sex scene out of a book that did not belong to us, we decided to go upstairs to make ourselves a drink. You see, her parents were out for the evening and her sister was at a slumber party.

I was sitting on the counter reading the instructions on how to make a strawberry daiquiri and Kirsten was pouring Rum into the blender, when her mother walked into the kitchen.

"What are you girls doing?" she says, hands on her dressed up hips.

I was a deer in headlights.

Kirsten says, "Um. Hi, Mom. Um, we are doing an experiment.  We found this recipe book up in the cupboard."

"Oh," says her mother. "Well, you two just be careful. Don't have too much of that stuff or you will be sick."  And then she grabbed whatever she had come back to the house for and waved goodbye, in a fresh layer of red lipstick.

We both stared at each other.

Then Kirsten starts to laugh.

"Did that really just happen?" I said.


"What the?"

After that moment that blender was busy, busy, busy.  We made all kinds of concoctions out of that little recipe book full of fancy drinks.

We were laughing so hard that we could barely keep up with Arlo when we returned to her room.

"I want to kill, kill, kill....and they all moved away from me on  the company bench...."

Kirsten started the record over.

"Millie, concentrate," she says.

"You can get anything you want..."

A wave came over me.  And then I felt really funny. And then I got all sweaty.  And then I tried to say something. And then I made a run to the bathroom.

And then I ralphed up what could have been a Tom Collins or perhaps it was a martini.

We went outside to sleep in their brand new not-yet-used family tent and brand new not-yet-used family sleeping bags that were all set up in the back yard.

Inside the brand new not-yet-used family tent, I threw up either a gin and tonic or an old fashioned.

I crawled out of there on the moist grass.

And then I threw up a southern comfort and sour or maybe it was a grasshopper.

In the morning, I called home.  There was no way I could ride my bike. And there was no way I was going to stay at Kirsten's house. I wasn't real popular. And I didn't feel so good.

"Hello?" answers my dad.


Why in the hell did he answer the phone? In all my thirteen years I'd never seen him answer the phone. Never. What a bad streak of luck I was having.

"Um, do you think you could pick me up from Kirtsten's?"


"I don't feel good."

And then I blurted out the truth. It was my freshly dead brain cells doing the talking.

He pulled up in the station wagon and he put my bike in the back. He talked real nice all the way home.

I went straight to my room, plopped in my bed and heard my brother walk in with some friends. "Look at Millie," he says, pointing. "She got drunk last night."

"Get out of here!" I yelled. And I went to sleep.

At 4:00 that afternoon my mom came into my room and said, "Millie, you have to get up. Your dad says you are going to church. He is going to take you over to Saint Maria Goretti. They have a 4:45 mass."

"Huh?" I said sitting straight up.

And then my dad dropped me off at the door of an alien church with a bunch of alien sinners.

I remained seated for the whole hour. And that was before that was done. But I was not feeling the best.

The station wagon was waiting for me at the curb.

My dad drove us home and he never said a word about anything.

Considering the lives that Kirsten and I led together, it was no surprise to me that we got all dressed up to look like we were sixteen and skipped an afternoon of seventh grade, courtesy of the passes stolen by Mark and sold for a dollar a piece, God rest his soul.

And we hitchhiked to the movie theater.

We got in.

And we saw Woodstock, the movie.

The movie my mom just told me that I was not allowed to see.

I didn't think it was raunchy.

"Okay," I said to my mother. I didn't even throw in a, "but why not!?"

Woodstock the movie was Kirsten's and my last great adventure.

It was my fault.

You see, there was a guy who looked a little bit like Clint Eastwood. He liked me. And then he kissed me. And then decided that he liked Kirsten. And then he kissed Kirsten.  And then, I didn't like either one of them anymore.

It's too bad I was so stupid.

I still miss Kirsten.

"You can get anything  you want at Alice's Restaurant. Walk right in it's around that back, just a half a mile from the railroad track...."


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