I never made it to Woodstock. I was too young, didn’t drive and lived in the Arizona desert. I listened to the music though, with a volume guaranteed to blow out eardrums for miles. Couldn’t get enough of the music. Dragged the needle back, over and over, to replay my favorite songs. Wore lovebeads, went braless and flashed the peace sign to total strangers. Pretended I WAS Janis Joplin in the shower with the door closed. And while my generation did sing its share of romance & heartbreak songs, the REAL message of that era was: FREEDOM.
At Woodstock, Tim Hardin sang, “A Simple Song of Freedom.” Joan Baez, AND Joe Cocker sang “I Shall Be Released.” The Who cranked out, “I’m Free.” Crosby, Stills & Nash even asked us to, “Find The Cost of Freedom.” My all time fave was Richie Havens,” singing “Freedom” with a passion and abandon that shook up my insides. But who would ever have guessed that those barefoot, pot smoking, long-haired, free love children would find themselves so unfree 40 years later?
Our generation is not only finding their own kids still at home but now are facing the prospect of Mom or Dad also moving into that spare room over the garage. Why? You might blame the economy for the 20 something’s moving back. You might shake your fist at science for making sure we live longer but the truth is we really didn’t prepare for the prospect of aging. Nursing homes have long waiting lists & the price tag is steep.
Every 70 seconds someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. No, it wasn’t the drugs. It’s our high tech, lazyboy lifestyle and it’s catching up with us. What to do? Move pops into that spare room. You’ll save a ton of ‘bread.’ The kids are ‘free’ to keep their music blasting. He might be a bit hard of hearing but music is good for the soul. Feel free to put some black light posters up in his room. Visual stimulation is healthy for the aging brain. Take him everywhere you go & listen to his stories, no matter how often he repeats them. Nothing makes an old heart happier.
Then, if you’re real lucky, YOUR kids will put up with YOU when you start telling those Woodstock stories over and over and over again. I finally found the cost of freedom the day we moved Granny in with us and it was worth every, single penny. (From “Kissing Tomatoes,” http://www.helen-hudson.com) P. S. Just read that 20% of us should EXPECT to get Alzheimer’s.