Clear 29° Good Morning
Clear 29° Good Morning

Summer of '69: Jo-Ann Oakes

Jo-Ann Oakes 60, of Bay Shore, associate director of publications at Stony Brook Medical Center. Her husband Bob ("Butch") Oakes, also 60, is a transportation consultant.

What a difference a year makes! In August, my boyfriend Butch and I were 20, and we went to Woodstock. We were lovin' it, groovin' it. I remember walking past people wearing nothing but sandals, love beads and broad smiles.

One highlight: Richie Havens singing "Freedom."

Soon after - in December 1969 - the first draft lottery was on television. We watched in the living room. When Bob's birthday came up, with the number 51, we both knew our fate was sealed. Talk about reality TV.

Our fathers were World War II veterans, and my father believed you always had to support your country. I wore peace signs, I protested the war at Suffolk Community College. In 1969, protesting was fun - but by 1970 it became real. That's when Butch shipped off for Vietnam, soon after we got married. He became an Army Ranger - he was awarded two Bronze Stars - while I marched in protest in Washington, with his blessing.

We were lucky. He came back, and we celebrate our 39th anniversary on June 14. It's Flag Day. -

More news

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.