My short bio: I was born in Brooklyn NY and shortly after high school became a secretary in NYC. Wall St, not Madison Avenue, but still very similar to the world of Mad Men.

I started going to Vietnam War protests on my lunch breaks, and the climate quickly changed. I became a member of the counter-culture and attended Woodstock in 1969.

My son mentioned me on a comment thread recently and there was interest in an AMA, so he will be helping me field questions today at 3:00 PM EST.

My Proof

EDIT: I have to go out to aerobics, but I 'll be back at around 5:30 EST - will answer more questions then. Thanks!

EDIT: 8:30 EST - Thank you so much reddit! I'm headed out to shoot pool with my son, so that's that. I'm usually not one to reflect back... I try to keep my head where my feet are, but this was a lot of fun. Peace and love!

Comments: 58 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

QuiteTheLurker8 karma

First of all, you're rad as hell.

When watching Mad Men it frustrated me how the women just accepted how the men spoke to them and treated them, obviously it's how times were in the 60s. Being a forward-thinking young woman at the time, did you ever have an opportunity to speak up?

MadMenWoodstockMomma24 karma

I was working at City Service (citgo) and we were not permitted to wear pants. I had recently purchased a sewing machine and was making some of my own clothes. Pant suits were in vogue, so I whipped up a pant suit and showed my boss. He thought that would be acceptable, so I started a petition in the office.

All the secretaries signed it. Then the CEO signed it and we were all permitted to wear pantsuits, but the pants and tops had to match.

This was a major victory. Also, before this women were still wearing girdles, so once pantyhose was introduced it changed everything (laughs).

wolfman31276 karma

Was there as much womanizing and drinking as depicted in Mad Men?

MadMenWoodstockMomma11 karma

Absolutely, without a doubt, especially when you're 20 years old. Even at that age I didn't mix business and my personal life. There was a lot of flirting going on but I ignored it.

The drinking went on from 11 AM until they left the office. The bosses would usually go out for drinks afterwards too.

Working downtown was always dark, and the streets were narrow. I always found that to be more of a party atmosphere than when I later worked uptown. So I'd say it was even wilder than Mad Men.

wolfman31274 karma

Interesting! Looking back on the choices you made, the direction you took with regads to becoming a hippie. Do you regret that? Do you wish you had stuck it out in a corporate structure?

MadMenWoodstockMomma9 karma

oh hell no! Those guys were a bunch of jerks!

Maybe they lived in Greenwich CT, but they were just plain assholes.

They didn't understand a lot of us office workers because they knew we were demonstrating against the war on our lunch break. I think they were very disturbed by that.

Another thing I did on my lunch break was see Santana in the cemetery of Trinity Church. He was just starting out, and he blew everybody away. Then later on he did the same thing at Woodstock.

Onesharpman6 karma

How easy was it to get a job back then? Did you basically walk into the building, have an interview, and then get to it? :P No schooling, no experience, nothing like that?

MadMenWoodstockMomma6 karma

Easy as pie. You had to take a test though. Kinda like an intelligence test, and a typing/steno test for a secretary.

Onesharpman4 karma

And how hard was that? Was it basically as long as you weren't a complete imbecile, you would get it?

MadMenWoodstockMomma4 karma


donnowheretogo6 karma

Have you ever watched the series Mad Men? What did you think of it?

Also, did you have any "Peggy's" in your office? i.e. females who were considered your boss?

MadMenWoodstockMomma7 karma

Have you ever watched the series Mad Men? What did you think of it?

I thought it was a really accurate depiction of that period. They really took a lot of time with all the details from the wallpaper to the coffee pots.

Also, did you have any "Peggy's" in your office? i.e. females who were considered your boss?

Yes. I was an accounts receivable clerk at Lever Bros, and my boss' name was Gail. Very fair and professional. My other boss way gay. It was talked about in the office that he was gay. I was in the village one night on Christopher St and he was with his friends, but I was never the gossipy type so I didn't say anything.

DrDrangleBrungis4 karma

How long did you stay at woodstock? What was the experience like, and do you think we will ever have another one like it?

MadMenWoodstockMomma9 karma

How long did you stay at woodstock?

We left on saturday morning and my aunt had a country house in Cochecton NY. We were going to sleep over but I had to abandon my VW Bug since the thruway was closed. Then we walked about six miles to the site. Along the way we bumped into some friends and they told us to turn back because it was a mess, but we kept going. So we stayed through sunday night.

What was the experience like, and do you think we will ever have another one like it?

The experience was very muddy (laughs), but exciting! I recently looked up the time frame of when Janis Joplin came on. Everybody was sleeping very early in the morning. That was the most dynamic part of the event for me because she woke everyone up and was just electric.

When we hunkered down as it started raining I remember putting my hands over my head in a fetal position, just waiting for the rain to pass. For the longest time I saved my muddy Woodstock jeans.

Will there be anything like it again? Never.

ramona2484 karma

This Is absolutely amazing! I'm so glad you're doing an AMA. I always say if I had a time machine that I'd definitely use it to go to Woodstock. What other converts/big musical festivals have you attended since then!? Who were/are your favorite artists/bands at the time/now?

MadMenWoodstockMomma4 karma

The best concerts I ever went to were at the Fillmore East. These artists:

  • Janis Joplin
  • Grateful Dead
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Vanilla Fudge
  • Lovin' Spoonful
  • Canned Heat
  • Joe Cocker
  • Jethro Tull
  • Lee Michaels
  • Santana

The best part of the Fillmore was the Joshua Light Show. A ticket to a show was about 2 bucks!

There were also tons of concerts in Central Park. The sponsor was Schaefer Beer. They were $1.50/ticket.

  • Ray Charles
  • The Supremes
  • The Four Seasons
  • Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66

Well I'm taking my son to James Taylor next week! I really think Bruno Mars is a mega-talented man. I don't like Taylor Swift, can't stand her! MEghan Trainor, Jane Monheit... Lately I've been listening to a lot of jazz.

pinstrap4 karma

Did you see jimi hendrix? If so, please give me any details you can. I'm a huge fan

MadMenWoodstockMomma5 karma

Hendrix played very late at the festival and we had already left by then.

BigHatsAndLittleHats4 karma

Was Woodstock as magical as it sounds?

MadMenWoodstockMomma8 karma

(laughs) It was magical and muddy.

... because down deep inside we knew this was the last big party and now it was time to grow up. That's how I felt when I left - now I have to go back to the real world and earn a living.

Anybody who went to Woodstock would truthfully say that they were just going to a really cool concert. How would we know that this was going to make history? That wasn't the intention... just that there would be all these bands.

When we got back and it was all over the media, we heard about how many people were there and that there were no problems in terms of violence. That's what made it unique. It truly was about peace and love, and that's no cliche.

diegojones44 karma

How long were you a hippie and did you go back to corporate?

MadMenWoodstockMomma13 karma

In my heart I'm still a hippie.

I was married in 1971 (a hippie wedding) and we were still living in Brooklyn. A lot of our friends were transitioning into doing cocaine and we didn't want any part of that. So we bought a small house on long island and we had an organic garden, continuing to live with a back-to-the-earth philosophy.

I don't know how to answer this because we still had natural childbirth with our children (look up "birth without violence"), had that garden for many years, joined a food co-op, drove many many different volkswagens, and lived the good life.

I didn't go back to corporate. I became a special education teacher. So again, there was that philosophy of helping your fellow man.

crescin4 karma

How big a deal was the cold war?Were you/your peers ever afraid nuclear war might actually break out?

Also were guys in the office massive jackasses like in mad men?

MadMenWoodstockMomma10 karma

How big a deal was the cold war?Were you/your peers ever afraid nuclear war might actually break out?

As a young child many of us were in a constant state of anxiety because there were a lot of drills and we had to go under our desks. That was pretty scary for kids. I don't know what was scarier, the nuns at Catholic school or nuclear war.

Also were guys in the office massive jackasses like in mad men?

Yes, most of them were. I remember a boss asking me out for lunch... it was my birthday, and I said ok. They always had liquid lunches and I never did, but I did that day. I had two martinis at Franz Tavern in the financial district. I was as drunk as a skunk and we walked back to the office. He walked right into his office and continued to work. I said to the other secretary "Where am I?" It was amazing that they could function while drinking so much liquor.

window53 karma

With all the talk of how bad white people are nowadays what was it like to grow up and live in a super majority white country?

MadMenWoodstockMomma8 karma

I could tell you an experience that I had... There were two young black men who worked in the mail room at Lever Bros, and I was having a party at my house and invited them.

I said we're going to move the furniture and have dancing, it would be great. They always hesitated because they were afraid to come to my white neighborhood, but I assured them everything would be ok.

I was standing on my stoop, watching them approach my house, and they were looking to one side and the other side. When they arrived they had big smiles on their faces and they knew everything was ok.

It worked out ok, but it was a legitimate fear for them.

prettynicky3 karma

You left the industry to become a "hippie", but certainly there were some benefits to being a secretary in the Mad Men era. Can you think of any?

MadMenWoodstockMomma9 karma

Health benefits for sure!

Also, jobs were plentiful, so when I decided to get a job uptown (Park Ave) there was no problem at all. I just liked having flexibility. You would apply to a job and just get it right away.

In fact, my first job out of high school was at DeCoppett and Doremus and when it came to Christmas time we received $500 bonuses and then I quit for another job that had a better salary.

neon7063 karma

Did you go all three days?

What performer or group do you remember the most?

Did you swim naked?

Did you partake in any substances at Woodstock and if so what we're your experiences like? Thanks in advanced! I'm only 27 but damn I love classic rock

MadMenWoodstockMomma6 karma

What performer or group do you remember the most?

Sly and the Family Stone. They were just unbelievable. When they played "Dance to the Music" that's exactly what we did.

Did you swim naked?

No because I wasn't near the lake. I was on the other side. I didn't see any of that until I saw the movie.

Did you partake in any substances at Woodstock and if so what we're your experiences like? Thanks in advanced! I'm only 27 but damn I love classic rock

Other than smoking a joint I remember a lot of us were into drinking wine in a Chianti bottle. So I was drinking more wine than smoking pot.

Just like in the movie, announcements were made about not taking certain types of acid. I remember those announcements very well. I also remember an announcement that a baby was born!

becomesaflame3 karma

What do you think of the evolution of the hippie movement? Did it die in the early seventies? Or did it just change?

MadMenWoodstockMomma9 karma

For some folks I think it never died...

We had already made a conscious decision to break away from some of the old friends we had, so at that point we put our noses to the grindstone, went back to school, and changed our focus. A lot of people did similar things.

I ended up meeting some people recently at the Bethel Woodstock museum... They were doctors, social workers, etc, but they went to Woodstock too. So it's a similar story to mine...

crescin3 karma

How much acid did you do? :)

MadMenWoodstockMomma9 karma

I only did it once. The squiggly cord to my boyfriend's amplifier turned into snakes so it was not good. I never did it again!

Leevaldo3 karma

How and why did you become an hippie during that time?

MadMenWoodstockMomma3 karma

Who wasn't a hippie? (I guess she means being a young person in New York)

My brother dressed in a preppy way and I kept saying "When are you gonna come to the other side?" He finally did and there was a picture of him in the Daily News at a rally and he blew it up to poster size and put it in his room.

People like him switched over because there was a draft. Folks really knew that Vietnam was an unjust war, so it became a time of protest.

ProfessorsaurasRex3 karma

How was the acid? Aha i've recently been reading about LSD and its social history. The CIA were doing pretty fucked up experiments with it at the time, including drugging large amounts of unknowing citizens.

Ok who did you see at woodstock? How far were you in the crowd? Was your hippy phase just a fad? Most teens at the time just followed the fashion.

MadMenWoodstockMomma10 karma

How far were you in the crowd?

We were closer to the porta-a-potties, so pretty far back. But we could still see and hear stuff.

It was scary to see so many people at the same time. What was crazy about the whole scene was that there were so many people. When we realized our ticket was of absolutely no value, we just saw hundreds and hundreds arriving without tickets.

When you were sitting in the rain, there was no place to go to the bathroom. We were literally sitting shoulder to shoulder and the guy next to me had to take a piss. He just whipped out his schlong and pissed right there, letting it stream down the hill. We were such a mess that it just didn't matter at that point.

Was your hippy phase just a fad? Most teens at the time just followed the fashion.

I think there's a misconception about what a hippie was. I continue to this day to embrace the hippie philosophy, which is all about love and caring for your fellow man. I wish I had the ability to have other people embrace that philosophy.

wil_dogg2 karma

Woodstock: do you remember THE WHO ?

MadMenWoodstockMomma2 karma

No I must have missed them. They may have been Friday.

wil_dogg1 karma

Just looked it up they played late late late on Sunday morning. I knew they finished their set at dawn didn't realize it was near the end of festivities. Hendrix would have been later that Sunday morning

MadMenWoodstockMomma2 karma

Interesting... I was probably in the cornfield where my friend was trying to pee. She had a feeling someone was there so she asked "is someone there?" and someone said "yeeeessss."

But Hendrix played monday morning because everything was so delayed.