Taking Stock of Woodstock

How that concert forty years ago impacted society;
My Big Fat Greek Name

Taking Stock of WoodstockHow that concert forty years ago impacted society When the Beatles crossed that London road,Dear Abby, what did you supposewas happening in rural New Yorkthis week in ’69? Could you have known that music festwould make such news? Could you have guessedthat Woodstock would prove just as bigas landing on the moon? Dear Abby, it was bigger yet!As I look back and recollect,it seems those days of rock and rollwould bruise our culture’s soul. It celebrated booze and drugsand unclad couples locked in hugs.The lyrics and the atmosphererebuffed authority.  That weekend concert would portenda values shift that would not end.Since then, we are less civilized.Our stock is wood not gold. We are less cultured than beforeand (though more wealthy) we are poor.Free love has proved much costlierthan any could have guessed.

My Big Fat Greek Name
There’s more to it than meets the eye

“It must be Greek!” I hear it said
when I pronounce my name.
“It is indeed!” I say with pride.
“Like the Olympic flame!”

A fourteen letter curtain call
all lined up in a row.
Somebody bought too many vowels
from Vanna long ago.

But Wheel of Fortune jokes aside,
I love my Grecian name.
It calls to mind my loving clan
when life can leave me drained.

I say it slowly and it helps.
This awesome mantra helps me cope
with major stress (or less).

My neighbors are the Crowes and Bones,
the Beattys and the Browns.
In short I claim a treasured gift;
the longest name in town.

But did you know the following?
I used to be a Smith.
My Papou took an alias.
It’s true! That’s not a myth.

Haralambos chose Harry K.
to be his new first name.
And Smith instead of Asima…
Good grief. Had he no shame?

But gratefully that all got fixed.
In Nineteen-sixty-nine
a judge’s gavel gave us back
the name that now is mine.

* on August 13, 1969 the Edwin Smith Family of Wenatchee, Washington became the Edwin Asimakoupoulos Family. This week marks the 40th anniversary of a change of name that literally changed my life. And now you know “the rest of the story.”

 Check out http://wenatcheeworld.com/article/20090813/NEIGHBORS/708139948