Memories from Blacksburg

Interview with Virginia Tech student Ally Larrick

I got an interesting call the other day from a Virginia Tech student who was writing a story on the life of Psychology Professor Joe Germana. Dr. Germana was a professor of mine from 1970-1972, and was an integral part of our little band of hippies. The amazing thing is, he is still teaching in the same department, and is soon to celebrate his 52nd year!

The interview with Ally was a real trip down memory lane for me, and an eye opener for her. Since many young adults her age do not even know what a Woodstock is, I had to ask her if she had heard about it. Of course, she said she had, but she really wanted stories that related to Professor Germana. Well, you just can’t get the essence of Joe Germana without understanding the aura of the time, so I did my best to re-create the vibes of 1960’s – 70’s Blacksburg. Of course, it is ethereal and intangible… you had to be there.

I told her about the early hippies in Blacksburg and how they were considered a strange minority. I told her about the fights we had with the rednecks and how the Blacksburg mountain hippie culture was born. Peace and love with leather and knives. I told her about our own hippie Fonzie with his long black hair flowing over his shoulders, his bare feet and studded jacket… and how he beat up rednecks at the drop of a hat.

I told her about eating LSD like it was candy, and how our growing need for more weed sparked an innovative capitalistic pot distribution empire with fingers stretching all along the East Coast. I told her about Andromeda and the hard rock heartbeat of the hip community. I did forget to tell her about the outdoor concert in the country where the whole band was tripping, and the lead singer (yours truly) was slamming the ground with a big club like the apes in 2001 A Space Odyssey. I think that’s the one where I threatened to beat Germana over the head with my club for no apparent reason.

I told her about our semi-conservative values, that even though we believed in free love, homosexuality was not a part of the equation. We still considered it strange… and traditional marriage was a given.

There were some problems, however. Even though our success at pot capitalism generated a wealthy class of dealers, our propensity for pleasure, and cocaine in particular, provided a drain for all that money to go through. Like Robin Williams said, “Cocaine is God’s way of saying, ‘you’re making too much money.'”

How does all this relate to Professor Joe Germana? Well, to be fair, he had nothing to do with the pot dealing network, the acid or the cocaine. But, since the movement began in the college community, and many of the students took his classes, he was a beloved part of something that blossomed into what would later be called the Woodstock Nation.

I don’t know how this interview affected Ally, but she did say that it opened up a whole new part of history that she knew nothing about. Sadly, as I wrote in From Woodstock To Eternity, the magic of peace and love and flower power was over in a few short years, replaced by booze and downers and acquiescence to the lower, baser elements. Such is the progression of man without the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

Ally, thank you for the opportunity to relive a special time in the lives of all of us who were there. I hope your bio of the good Doctor Germana is successful. And to all my friends in Blacksburg and elsewhere from that magical era, I say this,

“for a little while, for a sweet moment in history, we were stardust, and we were golden.”

Woodstock Chapter – From Woodstock To Eternity

 

D-Day!! The Day of Days

June 6, 1944 – The Allies Invade Europe at Normandy

I love D-Day because it gives me  such a sense of overwhelming power resulting in victory.  Every time I see videos or movies of the invasion with the thousands of ships, planes, armament and troops, it boggles my mind.D-daybigmap

The courage it took to storm the cliffs at Omaha humbles me as well.  I am so grateful to this generation of heroes who saved the world for freedom.

If our president at the time, FDR, did not have the resolve, the will and the toughness to lead the country in that war, we could not have won it.  We need that kind of leadership today.

Today, the nation salutes all those who remain of the Greatest Generation.