How Can I Be Missing History – Again?

I’ve been to the World Series. I shared a “Kumbaya” moment with 54,999 other people at Yankee Stadium. I witnessed this.

I have no business sulking and yet that’s exactly what I’m doing. Why? Because millions of people are in Washington for the inauguration and I’m not. Sure, it’s cold there. Sure, it’s a logistical nightmare. Sure, it’s easier to watch the proceedings from the comfort of my living room. But how many times in life do you get to be a part of this?
They’re coming from all walks of life – from ordinary citizens to the other “O.”
Even Dave Winfield will be there.
And let’s not forget Cheney,
despite pulling a muscle lifting boxes.
All the former presidents will be on hand….
George H.W. Bush-4.JPG
I should just accept that I’m sitting this one out, be content to observe history from afar. So why am I feeling as if someone denied me access? Why am I taking this personally?
In a word? Woodstock.
My parents wouldn’t let me go, and I’ve never gotten over it.
“The crowds! The drugs! The sex! You’re too young to be exposed to all of that!” they said in the summer of ’69.
“But Jimmy Lowell is going,” I whined, launching into a list of all my friends whose parents weren’t saying no to them. “It’s about the music.”
My parents were unmoved. They made me stay home. I worked at my summer job as a camp counselor that weekend instead of being in upstate New York doing this.
How cool would it have been to get all muddy with other, similarly blissed out teenagers, and hear live performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Crosby, Stills and Nash?
Yeah, I have the DVD of the movie. The soundtrack too. It’s not the same. 
After the inauguration I’ll hear the stories from the people who were in D.C., and it’ll be Woodstock all over again.
The good news is it’s not just about the music this time. It’s about the chance to change our world. Time to grow up.


  1. rockymountainway

    Ah Jane, I’m sure that hurt not going to Woodstock. My pop has a funny story about how he slept in and got going late to Woodstock and he got stuck in the backed up line of traffic leading to the farm so everybody just got out and partied right there on the side of the road. As for big moments, I hear you on that. I’ve tried to go to so many in my life and some I didn’t probably because I wasn’t meant to. I got to go to the DNC this year, eventhough I’m an Independent. I went to “be” a witness and I’ll never forget the experience. It’s actually what got me back into writing. I’ve been to amazing sports events like the ’07 play in game and saw the Rockies first pennant being raised. I have a tradition of being in spots all over for new year’s and I was home for the millenium drop in NY and I’ve counted the clock down on Bourbon and in the Space Needle. I pondered going to the inauguration but after the security at the DNC I was content to sit that one out. Instead I’ll be watching on a 12 inch tv getting ready to move to embark on a journey to not only change myself but better the world I come in contact with. My kids may ask why wasn’t I there, but maybe I’ll be a book author like you before long, and I can hand them a copy and say, “I was getting ready for this.” Speaking of Woodstock, I got to see Richie Havens in a small 100 person auditorium with just a guitar a stool and a spotlight and that will always be a moment I’ll never forget so even though I wasn’t alive for Woodstock, I got to see the spirit of it many years later and meet a man my parents had seen in coffee shops in the village. Funny how it all works out.

  2. Jane Heller

    I can’t believe you went to the DNC, Tom. That must have been incredible. There’s something to be said for being at the scene of major events. As for Richie Havens, I first saw him in a coffee house like your folks did. Then I saw him again years later and he hadn’t changed much at all. Very cool guy.


    I’m a Yankees blogger as well ( and I regularly read your posts. This one especially hit home because I grew up in Woodstock, NY. Yes. Literally.

    Funny thing is? My mom grew up in Westchester County and at the “ripe old age” of 19, went to Woodstock in 1969. My dad was only 12, so my grandparents said no.

    I had a chance to go to Woodstock ’94, the 25th anniversary with my Dad and siblings. It was just as awesome as it was in 1969, even with the rain and mud.

    And…the cliche? I’m living in Maryland, only 23 miles away from D.C. and I’m not going to the Inauguration. I have to work 😦

  4. juliasrants

    Jane, today will be an exciting day for our Country. At all the schools in my Town work will stop at 11:30 and all the students will spend the next hour or so watching President Obama being sworn in and listening to his inaugural address. Yes, it won’t be the same as being there, but I will be just as proud. And if I want to feel like I’m there I can just open the window because it’s as cold here as it is in Washington D.C.! What a great day to be an American.




    You’re goofing on me, right? I mean, I remember you at Woodstock. We took those green pills together, during the Wavy Gravy tapestry dance. That was me, Bongo!

    el duque

  6. Jane Heller

    Thanks for leaving a comment, ckaftan. I’ll be sure to check out your blog. I bet I knew your mom in Westchester (tell her I’m jealous that she got to go to Woodstock). So funny that you ended up living there and going to the ’94 concert. Sorry you’re not at the inauguration today but you’re close!

    Julia, just finished watching. What an amazing ceremony.

    Duque, that was YOU? Oh, Bongo, I’ve been trying to find you all these years. Groovy.

    Happy Inauguration Day to you too, Steve. Some speech Obama gave. Wow.

  7. jeffmm

    Don’t feel bad… it’s not a good as you think.

    I’ve lived in the DC area my whole life… and… I’m writing this from *Sanibel, FL*. Those of us who’ve been through inaugural events know to get out of Dodge before the masses hit. We loaned the house to relatives and are busy watching the festivities on and HDTV on a warm lanai with a cold beer in hand.


    Our friends/rels are calling telling us of impending hypothermia/frostbite/trampling downtown. Ahhhhh…. to not be home!

  8. Jane Heller

    There’s something to be said for the opportunity to watch at home and not be stuck at work, Bern. Glad you were able to do that.

    I’ve heard from several friends who got out of Dodge, jeffmm. They’ve been through this and, like you, fled the masses. I’ve never been to Sanibel, but I used to go to Captiva right next door and loved it. Is there still a little restaurant called the Mucky Duck????

  9. ricter

    I am going to exercise my first amendment right and I am going to say I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS ONE BIT.

    Say what you want about me for not liking this man, his VP, or his entire cabinet….his policies and his political philosophy.

    I will get slammed for saying this just as everyone else did for criticizing him. But I do not care anymore.

    Oh, and notice I said nothing about his race in the above statements….of course, everyone will think it’s about that.

    NO. I will repeat the sentiment from many of us who volunteered to NOT get him elected: We really don’t care about his race or the color of his skin. It’s his policy and his associations we are REALLY concerned about.

    Apart from all of that, I think spending around $1Billion dollars on a campaign is ludicrous…in this economic time, there is NO EXCUSE for that. I’m sorry, but that is wrong on all levels. I don’t care if people donated on line…about $400million of that money is STILL undocumented.

    Say what you want. Does this sound like “change”? Does this sound like anything different than what we have dealt with in the past 40 years? NO. Scandal after scandal and this guy wasn’t even inaugerated yet….

    Dems…repubs…they all suck and really could care less about anything but their own accension to power. It bdoiesn’t matter which side of the room the sit on-the left or the right-they all want to secure their own power at YOURS and MY expense. (BTW-I didn’t like BUSH either)

    Power corrupts…and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    THERE. That’s my First Amendment right. Let’s hope he doesn’t touch that amendment, since he is planning to mess with the second and the 22nd….Right to bear arms and term limits on the presidency.

    Ok. Lambaste me for being a “rotten spoil sport” or a “hater”.

    Just to be clear, I hate EVERYTHING equally, espcecially polititians!

  10. Jane Heller

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, mm, as well as your First Amendment right. My only suggestion would be to try and have a good day. Hating everything equally isn’t good for your health.

  11. Jane Heller

    LOL, Sheena.

    I am very lucky to have been to a WS, Jeff. Actually, I’ve been to two – in 1999 and 2000. It never gets old. And it makes me want MORE.

  12. mlbmark

    I thought that was you being lifted by the crowd. Kind of hard to tell with all the mud.

    Thanks for the book, just got it. Will get it into the hands of our reviewer. I just got my first sneak-peek at it and let me just say wow. Everyone: Get Jane’s book. I was hooked on the first sentence (A-Rod’s eyes are the color of pistachio).



    I was there today at the Inauguration and it was a madhouse. Very unorganized and chaotic.

    I was all the way back near the Washington Monument, roughly half mile away from Capital.

    The only images of the speech I saw were on a jumbotron and I’m sure there were thousands (probably a million+) who were met with my fate.

    But yeah, it was cool to watch TV with thousands of other people…quite a time.

  14. Jane Heller

    Glad you were hooked by the first sentence, Mark. That’s what I learned from writing novels: Get ’em into the story right from the start. The book begins and ends with A-Rod, because …..Well, it just does. I won’t spoil it for anyone who might read it.

    I can’t imagine that it was anything other than chaotic, Josh. “Controlled chaos,” is how they put it on CNN. But now you can tell your kids and grandkids that you witnessed history – something I couldn’t do with Woodstock!

  15. AJRoxMyWhiteSox

    As the proud owner of a bachelor’s degree in political science, as a proud citizen of Chicago, and as a proud and die-hard White Sox fan, it absolutely killed me that I couldn’t be there to see this amazing event in person. If we’re lucky, Jane, maybe we can be there when the first woman is sworn in as president. That will come sooner rather than later, I think.

  16. Jane Heller

    I thought the same thing as I watched today, Jen. I’ve always liked Diane Feinstein and wonder why she never threw her hat in the ring. But someone will come along, no doubt about it.

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