Where were you August 15th,1969? It was the opening day of Woodstock and I was sitting at home in Brooklyn thinking about going. The reports were already coming in, roads closed, fences down, to many people showing up, mayhem in the Catskills. I wasn’t going to go and then something happened that changed my life. Amidst all the warnings to stay away, 20 mile traffic backed up in the area….Me and my Schnoodle “Happy” decided to go. She was pregnant at the time and I’m sure she wanted to go, she was that kinda dog!
We jumped (Happy did) into my badass midnight blue, white interior 350 Rally Sport Camaro and off we went. From my time working in the Catskills as a waiter in the famed hotels of the day, I knew how to avoid a lot of the traffic and was making pretty good time. Happy was fidgeting in the backseat, as I quickly glanced back, I was shocked to see her giving birth! Change of plan to say the least, not going never entered my mind. I was being drawn to this moment that was going to change a lot of minds forever. My dad was running the food concession at a sleep away camp in Monticello, about 10 miles from the show. He had the family station wagon there and I was going to borrow it.
I just had to trust my new plan was going to work, little did I know that process would become the framework (to this day) for the rest of my life. My inner GPS guided me, avoiding the heavy traffic and closed roads right into the cool little town and to the camp. As I drove onto the grounds, there was my pops, as if waiting for me. I explained the situation, without a second thought he was helping make a soft blanket delivery room in the back of the station wagon and in no time I was off in the direction of White Lake. I’d never never been there before and can only say “I was directed by a power greater than myself”. I just headed on these little dirt roads just outside of town towards where I thought Woodstock was happening. Twenty minutes later and to this day I’m still amazed, I drove onto the back stage service road and was able to park 50 yards from the main stage and walk right into the most incredibly epic sea and scene of people I have ever seen!
My girl Happy was doing fine, she had given birth to 2 puppies at that point and was real comfortable in the station wagon. Most of the production crew was from the Fillmore East and I new some of them from my early days putting on shows. One of those guys was Michael Kleffner a buddy from Brooklyn, he was making announcements like “don’t take the brown acid” if you do, go to the medical tents, there were a lot of reports about good and bad drugs as well the weather. I ran into him near the stage on Saturday morning and told him my dog had given birth to 6 male puppies. A while later, Michael was making an announcement. “Larry the Hat’s dog Happy is the first mother at Woodstock” I’m still blown away, the love and adventures I shared with Happy will always be a big part my life. As will Everybody and Owsley. two puppies we kept that lived with Howard the Friz and my east coast family, the third puppy we kept “Tripper” I gave to a dude named Muskratt, a manager at the Fillmore East. He must have given him away, because I met my Woodstock son 4 years later, he was living the good life in Larkspur and was a really beautiful boy. That was an unforgettable reunion and a story for another post.
I hope to see everyone who reads this post at this years Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade with your best friend, the dogs have a great time marching for freedom and so will you!