photo by Jim Arnold

Up in the loft
By the summer of 1975 I had been living in a plastic A-frame near Billy and Maria's cabin on the far edge of "Goat Hollow" for many months -- through most of the winter. After my great friend Larry Goldberg had been visiting me for some time it was clear that the "Baggie" needed to expand. We spent most of the summer gathering scrap wood down the hill and dragging it to our site. As Michael Emry noted elsewhere, when it's time to really get something done, declare a party! With a new platform in place, many cases of beer, great cook'n food coming off the Coleman stove, and Billy's generator -- we largely built this cabin in one day! Over 40 people helped out.
Bob Woodstock

With Shari
(photo by Patsy)

Bob Going to the Dogs

photo by Michael Emrys

"art" Starr and Connie posted in the barn

(saved all these years by Bob)

A "Short" Introduction

It's very hard, after all this time, to really provide a sense of growing up in New England in the 50s and 60s. Born in Rhode Island I moved to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and back to Connecticut by the time I was 18. Our family was fairly tight, our neighborhood(s) largely insulated from the outside world (at least that which might reach me)and we all seemed to make new friends after each move. The only common theme in each location was to find, and then join, the local golf club. I was told I was given my first club when I was three. My dad and I won our first "father-son" tournament when I was 6. Though not a star on my high school golf team, I made the "state tourny" in Pennsylvania and played at a 4 or 5 handicap.

Starting in about 1959 (as I think back) another "hobby" took hold. Music. I couldn't wait to hear the new top ten that Cousin Brucy would introduce every Sunday night on WABC radio out of New York. Much of my junior and high school existance was framed more by album releases than by dances, girl friends, movies or sports. I knew there was a war on cause an aquaintence in high school dropped out and came home in a body bag six months later. But not much really filtered though to my rather "normal" daily routine of existence. Perhaps it was because we lived in the middle of Amish country where a significant percentage of the county population lived in the 18th century. Though my grades "started to slip" by my senior year in high school I was offered a spot at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. Actually my grades did more than slip. Soon after the formal offer had been made, family monies paid, and all contacts signed, I was placed on academic probation before I had even graduated from high school. I didn't like some of my senior classes in Math and Science. I was to stay on that list for four more years of college.

If living in a cultural myth that was the 50s and 60s of New England suburbia was managable -- it only took me about four weeks of college to go off the cliff. Big city near-by, major political and anti-war tension on campus, racism a function of day to day life off campus [early on I met the first African-America student ever admitted to Emory in 1965 -- blew my mind that the school was all white just four years before I got there] a northern boy in a very southern community, no limits on anything and a group of kids who has started a band and played free in the city's park or often on Emory's campus. They called themselves the Allman Brothers.

So there are many stories that serve as pre-Land indicators during those four years but I'll hit on a couple that showed me the way west. Within weeks I was marching in the streets against the war; a general strike was called on campus and the governor put out a shoot to kill order if the students left the campus; great great music was making its way south thanks to the Allman Brother's "invitation to other bands" to make the Atlanta scene. [Seeing 1971's Pink Floyd in Altanta's brand new symphony hall -- and the near total resignation of the symphony's senior staff afterwards was one fine moment in time.]

In the spring of my freshman year, at one of the almost weekly actions I was somehow left with about 15 other women laying in the middle of a very busy four way street off campus. We had in fact shut down a miles long stretch of busy surburban commuter highway. This was, of course, going to stop the war! After a couple of hours many local police appeared -- driving over people's lawns -- oh my were those people pissed -- to arrest us. Somehow all the women were sent back to campus (and they went!) and I was the only one arrested. After a relatively serious roughing up behind an abandoned building I was placed in a police car and charged with some petty crimes and the felony of impersonating an Army officer -- we all wore used military jackets then right? The women then returned with about 500 people who surrounded the police car. The traffic scene was now toast -- even the lawns were not open to an "exit strategy". After an hour or two I noticed a guy across the hall from me in my dorm looking in my police car window -- my buddy Larry asked if I was scared -- damn right -- and told me I looked like shit -- damn right again -- he then asked if I wanted company -- before I could answer he pulled the lock and jumped into the back seat with me and locked the doors. I think mayhem ensued but I was in shock -- well, as more people were streaming out of the campus to confront the police -- the University president got involved and later that day I was released -- and Larry too --with the promise that we would not break any laws "ever again". Thus -- other than occuplying and shutting down the ROTC building on campus, occupying the administration building and shutting down the campus numerous times --- always as a follower -- never as a leader -- I did not break any laws off campus as agreed. Though I was placed on administrative probation for all four years of college too. That meant two letters "for my permanent file". Larry Goldberg cemented our friendship and became my best friend in school.

By the end of my first year in school I was pretty tired of the whole scene. Tons of music helped with the "sound track" of day to day "classes" [OK Joplin and Hendrix were truely highlights along with what seemed like weekly Allman Brothers shows] but it was time for a break. I decided I wanted to be an adventurer. After reading Tom Wolf's Electric Cool Aid Acid Test six of us got in a VW bus and, leaving Atlanta in June camped our way through Canada,[Calgary and the wilderness north], Seattle to SF for the next three months. We wanted to see the Dead in SF. Though we missed the Dead I made a pledge to myself to come back and live in SF--Bay Area -- maybe after graduation. We had a lot of fun in the city and I loved Big Sur. I returned to Emory that September and, three years later, graduated in June of 1973 with a glorious average of 2.1 -- having attained that with a 3.85 my last semester of my senior year. It was time to get out of school. Out of the south. Away from my family and, finally -- out of this country.

Time For a Real Adventure: Michener's Caravans took hold


Somehow this French-Canadian Couple joined me in this photo with an elder Hazara tribesman watching over some children!

So it came to be that my friend Rocky and I (he and I were two of five in that VW bus trip of 1969) decided that, in really needing to get away from Nixon's America, we would go to Asia and try to follow Marco Polo's silk road trail so vividly described in Jame's Mitchener's book Caravans. He and I traveled together for about six weeks during which we "trained & bussed" deep into Kashmir, rented horses and rode towards the Chinese border; we crossed Pakistan by train only to get to the Afghan border the day of the very first coup of what has come to pass as a 35 year war (and still going strong...). But we were determined and got into the country the second day the airport opened. The next month brought multiple adventures in and around Kabul but we wanted to go see the great Buddas in the Valley of Bamiyan and visit the seven sacred lakes in the Valley of Band-I-Amir that Marco Polo wrote so elequently about. After some hard core travel we did finally make it to both locations. We crawled through the caves and emerged to sit on Budda's head -- 180 feet above the valley. We stayed in the Band-I-Amir Valley for almost a week and watched caravans come through several times. We rented two horses from one caravan and rode around the great valley ourselves. We saw the ancient "game" of Buskashi played out between two tribes. We were alive, stimulated beyond belief with the adventure of it all. This experience was so much more than any book could fully express. After coming out of the mountains my friend needed to return to the US and finish school. I did not. Over the next three months and after being formally expelled from Afghanistan due to a disagreement with a military officer I made my way (via India) overland to Nepal where the world traveling scene was both at it's height and somewhat distressing. People seemed to be looking more for "excess anything" in Katmandu rather than adventure in the countryside. I moved out to Pokara and took one side trip into the Tibetian portion of Nepal and then decided it was time to head home.

Obviously I have many, many more stories and hope to get them down on paper (yup real paper) some day. But relevant to this particular stream of consciousness is utter feeling of freedom I experienced in Afghanistan in general and in the Hindu Kush mountains in particular. Here was a people, a tribe with one "leg" in the 20th century and one in the 17th. We were lavishly welcomed repeatedly as guests of Azeem Sarawie in his home in Kabul as a good Muslim must practice. We were also stoned (rocks thrown with intent to main) by a dozen children and young men in Bamiyan when we went exploring the caves surrounding the standing Buddas for reasons only clear in their simplicity: stay away from our homes. It wasn't that I was looking for something in Asia -- maybe just "adventure" for the sake of it, but the realization of the adrenelin rush particular to that valley, the great Buddas with their 1,000 year history before us, a purity of the moment watching a caravan come over a 9,000 foot pass and (warily I thought) move into "our lakes" in Band-I-Amir, the cool, early evening breeze wafting through the birches in Kabul -- I knew, I knew for sure, that I would never again feel so aware of my surroundings, so attuned to the moment, so joyously alive as those final days on August 1973. I was wrong.
Budha Statues