From Philip Bader

phil@donlleasing.com


Since Debra contacted me about this event in June, I have allowed myself the self indulgent luxury of letting my mind wander back to memories of people, places and times that strangely do not seem to have happened that long ago. Of course, the 39 years of life experiences both good and bad, have molded us into the adults (some of us) that we have become, yet, the foundations that we have built our lives upon were cast during our early years. Our P.S. 173 years.

 

I thank Debra. Her creativity has given me the opportunity to (very) privately allow the emotions that memories of 39 years can stir. I will not burden you with things like the passing of parents and other relatives, or disappointments, both professionally and personally, but rather the "big picture".

 

Perhaps it is a coincidence that we are among the youngest of the "Baby Boomers". We were able to experience three full decades of a world in flux. We were born into our parent’s world. A world that they sometimes had difficulty grasping. A world that our parents had to fight to save. Some of our parents were victims, some heroes, mostly just regular people doing their best to survive and protect their world for the children that they MIGHT have some day. Talk about optimism!

 

Our parent’s generation had a primal need to survive. Their need to protect their future set this country on a course of progress of unprecedented growth. Huge leaps in medicine, communications technologies, transportation, and of course the dawn of the "information" age. On a down side, the incredible surge forward also brought with it incredibly deadly weapons. Weapons that ultimately saved their world and subsequently became the greatest threat to ours.

 

I have read the guestbook entries. Apparently, we as a "group" have embraced the challenges that we were presented with. Some of us have become very accomplished. We are our parent’s children. Who, we have become reflects their drive and their dreams and prayers for our success. We are their legacy. Their contribution to the world that they struggled to save.

 

We have had our "moments of doubt and pain" as well (sorry Mick). These are the moments that as "adults" we now have the capacity to consider. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War in General. Were the motives and actions of our government the right ones? As children, we felt the stress. The fears, The uncertainty. But we certainly had little if any understanding of just how close to Armageddon we really were. We were raised to respect and trust our leaders. Although, Viet Nam had been a war zone since the fifties, our major involvement began the year we graduated…’66. We received training in our "rights" as Americans in the "field". Our post-173 years were always overshadowed by the specter of the divisiveness of VietNam. The body counts, the protests and the end of "unconditional" agreement with the government. We had become the generation of "doubt". We created the conspiracy theorists. We did that. We made it ok to question. They had to answer us.

 

On another less somber note. I remember Sol and Jean’s and Manny’s and Associated and Carvel. But, other than a passing phase of collecting comic books, hmmm. Remember those rings with the siren that you blew? I think we were lucky that our parents loved us too much to kills us. I’m really glad that my two kids never found anything that annoying. Soon these "candy stores" wuld be my source of magazines filled with pictures of young guys but older than me playing guitars. The journey begins.

 

Sorry, back to the musings. I remember a particular Sunday….I was in the fourth grade. Miss Fenicell’s (spelling is a really bad guess) class. My uncle and I used to go to the Village to watch the folkies play in Washington Square park. I realize now that some of the musicians were people like Phil Ochs, and even Bob Dylan, but I definitely remember John Sebastion and Jese Colin Young being there, singing protest songs wearing beat up jeans and well worn boots…I remember being enthralled by the sounds of the acoustic guitars, long-necked banjos and mandolins. And the sound of their combined voices. I was hooked. I remember it was really cold out. I recall their breath being visible on this cold gray NYC afternoon. That and the smell of cigarettes. They all smoked then.

 

On the way home, F train IND line to 179th in Jamaica Estates, my uncle and I kept passing news stands. All the magazines had these four guys with funny hair and funny suits on the covers…and guitars. They were electric guitars, but they were guitars and that wasn’t bad!!! Was it?

 

The day was Sunday February 9th 1964 and that night I sat on the floor at 8:00 PM . CBS. Black and white. I remember it like it was yesterday, "Right Here on Our Stage. From Liverpool England, THE BEATLES". That night and Feb16th "From Miami..pronounced MYAMA by ED, and again on September 23rd…represents the beginning for me.

 

Every week Ed…he was my friend by then, would introduce me to more and more guys playing guitars. Most were British, but soon they were coming from our country too. They started out singing songs of young love and lust, but as our world became more and more dangerous…or maybe WE began to understand more, the music became the voice of the moment…the soundtrack of our lives. By late in 6th grade….Mrs. McDowell’s class I had another guitar guy to share this new world…this new religion. Elliot Bershader. The two of us were going to become soldiers fighting for a noble cause. Instead of guns, our weapons had six strings. A little dramatic right? We just liked guitars and Rock n Roll!!!!

 

Gee..no wonder my parents were so upset. Dad spent four years in the Army and Mom did without so I could become a guitar playing BeatNik? Sorry folks. Actually, the impact of having a social movement so intertwined with the music of the times, made the musician so much more important. Thirty years later? It’s all about "Bling Bling"…..There’s always the next 39 years.

 

Let’s end this here.