John Skee

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Woodstock had just taken place two and a half years before and was still the rage on everyone’s 8-track car players. The Vietnam war was still ablaze and Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” was top ten on the radio. For me, a transplanted “gringo” from Pennsylvania, school was definitely out for that weekend. We came from Colegio San Antonio Abad, a college prep boarding school in Humacao on the west end of the island. 8 or 10 of us guys and gals pig-piled into 2 volkswagen beetles and headed off to Vega Baja. Being used to preppy school uniforms, we did our best to dress like hippies and weren’t quite sure how to do that but… we had seen pictures of real hippies at Woodstock. So we cut off some sleeves, tore some holes in our jeans and donned some headbands and bandanas.

We got to Vega Baja on the dirt road on Saturday Morning — it was as hot and dry as the Sahara. We had to park a good half mile from the stage and carry our minor gear up the dusty, one lane dirt trail freshly pounded down by the first wave of eager fans. There was no entrance gate, there were no ticket takers and no one took our tickets. Rows of Port-O-Sans then campsites dotted the dunes and the tree-lines as we hiked the long trail. Goat skin canteens filled with wine were the fashion and with every turn of the head wafted the variously pleasant aromas of stuff they used to call Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Lebanese Blond, Colombian, Mexican and the like.

We arrived to gently sloped hillside looking down onto the stage. It wasn’t so crowded yet as to not find the perfectly located patch of grassy real estate for a small pup tent, large blanket and tarp. Friendly neighbors amassed in tightly by the hour as a new or old friend continually passed you a small object with a lazy white wisp curling from its glowing tip. Huey Helicopters arrived intermittently offloading equipment .
Bands played into the night and thru the day. I dozed off late one evening and awakened abruptly to Alice Cooper doing something weird with a snake. Caught up in the experience, I don’t remember what we ate or even if we ate as we rotated one by one or two by two to manage occasional necessities. As a tractor trailer flatbed slowly hauled a soldier-like row of Port-O-Sans back down the service road, some fans hopped on board to give several stalls a last hurrah. The celebratory goat-skin passed from door to door, hand to hand, mouth to-mouth. We laughed until we cried.

It was BIG. It was WORLD CLASS. It all came to us as we lived on that little island.

John Skee
Lake George,NY & Stuart,FL (Then-Arecibo,PR)