Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Musical Memories” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the A to Z Blog. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading! ♥
The time: early August 1969
The place: Bochum, Germany
We had been living in Germany since 1965 (more details HERE) when my father (Canadian Army) received orders for a new posting back to Canada. After giving up our apartment, we moved in with my German mother’s parents until it was time to leave on August 15th (the weekend of the Woodstock Music Festival).
I had first heard “Born to be Wild” the previous fall, while away at school in Switzerland (Sept. ’68 – Jun. ’69). The sense of freedom it conveyed, combined with John Kay’s (Steppenwolf frontman) fabulous rock growl left a huge impression on me. My musical tastes were evolving from “teenybopper” pop music to harder edged stuff. Influences included The Rolling Stones, the “Summer of Love” (1967: ♫”If you’re going to San Francisco, wear some flowers in your hair.” ♫, The Monterey Music Festival, featuring Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, etc.) and now, Steppenwolf. During a spring school trip, my friends and I met an international group of bikers. That heady experience has stayed with me all these years.
Excerpt from “Confessions of a Boarding School Inmate.”
[a memoir stuck in re-write limbo]
Switzerland is a beautiful country and we had some pleasurable outings that spring. One of them included meeting a motorcycle gang. This was so exciting to a bunch of teenagers! Fortunately, not “Hell’s Angels” types, although they certainly looked the part, in denim and leather. We had just finished lunch and they were outside the café. One of them asked Fraulein Karin (our chaperone) where we were from and that got the conversation rolling. These were young to middle-aged men, from all over Europe, not just Switzerland. I remember flirting with a good-looking Brit named Will, who also spoke Italian and German. He even offered me a ride on his bike! That got vetoed, much to my disappointment. To this day, I’ve never been on a motorcycle. The desire to try it has passed, but I’m still in love with the idea of the open road.
The movie “Easy Rider” had debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May and went on to become the third-highest-grossing film that year. According to Wikipedia, it was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1998, having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” I was eager to see it, but the release date for Germany was still months away. As luck would have it, my aunt knew someone who was arranging a private showing downtown and managed to snag a couple of tickets. This movie had everything; humour, whimsey, pathos and best of all, a killer soundtrack!
“Heavy Metal Thunder”
The German-dubbed dialogue was a bit unnatural and even funny in places (I’m bilingual). Happily, I was able to see the movie again in English after we moved. Years later, I purchased the DVD and watch it occasionally, transporting myself back to the summer of ’69. (That’s a whole other song, though.)
More boarding school adventures on April 1st, 10th, 19th, 24th and 27th
Click HERE for sequential time line.
Where were you in 1969?
Have you seen “Easy Rider”? Did you like it?
Looking forward to your comments!
The Doglady’s Den #AtoZChallenge 2017 Youtube playlist: