2020 Annual Report

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

With the COVID shutdown since March, not much happening, so looking back at my past while anticipating a year closer to 80…

Photos from the ‘60s

From a letter to my friend, Barbara, I wrote from Cape Cod, fall of 1969.

Moratorium Day March, Washington, DC

“It was an experience to experience our government afraid and aloof and militarized. The White House stood unseen behind blinding spot lights while police and MPs stood guard (yet cheerfully/politely asking people to “move” and “don’t let a crowd gather”). Eerie kind of spotlights that say “I’ll get you if you make a wrong move!” The next day for the march it was the tops of buildings that gave the spooky feeling. Atop cornices and behind embellishments were soldiers – with rifles and binoculars. (They were also sandbagged in at the Capitol building.) There were people spread from the Capitol to the Washington Monument and past, besides the curb-to-curb, end-to-beginning people who marched. I would guess that less than half of the crowd actually marched on Pennsylvania Avenue – the parade permit ran out before they could get them on the street. There were many more than the modest estimate of 250,000.

“We also followed the excitement of the Yippies, Mad Dogs, and Crazies as they carried their Viet Cong flags and Agnew effigies through the rally crowd and down the field and street to the Justice Department. The minute they began their march the atmosphere changed from peaceful companionship and cold feet to electrically charged excitement. It made me want to jump and scream, laugh and run. Expectation chills. So we followed. And got close enough to see flying objects and get a face full of tear gas. (Neato stuff!)

“The police were good, but it really was quite frightening to see the numbers of them, the sight of the helmets, shields, gas masks, belly clubs, mace, shot guns in America.”

*Photo is of me on my then boyfriend Roland’s shoulders. The guy facing Roland is Jerry L. Thompson who has become a well-known photographer. The three of us were living with Roland’s mother and sisters at her Cape Cod home. Roland and I remained friends until his death in 2011.

“On Sunday, Roland’s aunt who works for the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations took us on a fun insider’s tour of the capital and offices and treated me to a middleclass tourist souvenir treat – including a photograph* of me in Fulbright’s chair in the Senate committee room with gavels in hand. We also got to read some of Fulbright’s mail (over 2-1 against/some for Nixon) What fun!”

*photographs by Roland’s mother, Dinanda“Didi” Nooney


Now to the present…

New bathroom floor, rug, and toilet


New French Alpine milk goat, “Fiji”.  Spent the summer making “chevre” and “Cinder Ella” cheeses.



New Arabian mare, “Antoinette” aka “Toni”(Derby, a friend’s POA gelding who lived here for a year, went to live with a grandfather who wanted to teach his grandchildren to ride.) Also taking riding lessons again! What fun!




New hens: two “Buffy” Orpingtons, one “Heidi” Hybrid & three “Little (Rhode Island) Red Hens.” Plus New (Buff Orpington) rooster, “Neil,” who has already fathered two Buffy young ones. Lovely brown eggs.

Decided to draw again – pen & ink coyote skull sketches to accompany our book club’s Zoom meeting discussing Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan Flores.  Also bought water color brushes when I couldn’t find my old ones.  First “commission”: a Scottish Highlander cow

Hope you all are safe and well.  And here’s to a safe and healthy New Year!

What were you doing in 1969?  What are your hopes and dreams for the New Year?


69 thoughts on “2020 Annual Report”

  1. What a wonderful post, Cynthia, an instant TB classic!

    My life was much like yours in 1969: marching against the war and engaging in leftish politics. I was a grad student, working as the director of a program to promote the academic success of black, Latino and Indian students at the U. Nixon was president, becoming one of three political monster in my lifetime (preceded by Joe McCarthy, followed by Trump). I and other folks with similar politics in 1969 regarded cops as enemies defending a fraudulent government that was waging an indefensible war.

    That was my first year of married life, and it was tumultuous. I was teaching my young bride to fish and hunt. We lived that summer in a home overlooking three ponds, one a trout pond, on the banks of the Saint Croix river in Stillwater. Our wedding present to each other was a canoe. Late in the year we learned that our lives had been haunted by an invisible demon: an early form of The Pill that had toxic levels of hormones. They caused my wife’s good nature to explode frequently in scenes that are still painful to recall.

    We sweltered in junglelike weather in summer, weather that made ordinary household odors too disgusting to bear. We tolerated them with the help of mint juleps. Winter, when it came, was agonizing with bone crack cold temps and frequent blizzards. That was its own special kind of hell for young folks obliged to park a car on the street.

    Least memorable accomplishment of 1969: I got a meaningless MA degree. Most memorable: watching astronauts sporting about on the moon.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Exactly, Jacque. The early versions of the pill put the pill taker on an emotional roller coaster, and the ride was far from fun! She began taking that pill just as she began living with me. As a therapist, you will appreciate the way that led to false notions of causation.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was 12 and 13 in 1969. This was the time in my life where I was really feeling like life was happening before I could grow up. The Apollo program was huge in 1969 and that was big for my father and I. I remember watching from our den when Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on TV. I also remember a lot of the demonstrations going on for the Vietnam war at that time and I was violently opposed as well. My junior high was right next-door to Webster College and I remember my folks giving me permission to skip school so that I could join the college kids who were demonstrating for two days and walking out on classes. I also remember 1969 because it was that spring that I got sent home from school for an outfit I wore. I had sewn a skirt for myself made out of a round red and white tablecloth with white fringe. It came down to about midcalf and this was the era of the mini skirt so my skirt’s unusual length was the reason that the principal used to send me home from school. I remember my mother being livid but I never was able to wear the skirt again to school so I guess she didn’t win any battles she had with the principal about it.

    Nice piece today, Cynthia!.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. In 1969 I was in Grade 6. I had just decided that I was going to be a psychologist when I grew up. My hopes for the new year are for a good garden year, our son and dil buying their first home, and friends being safe and happy.

    I love the photo of you at the desk, Cynthia.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I was 13 in 1969 so I pretty much went to school, played baseball in summer, hung out with friends, and pined over my first serious girlfriend–who broke up with me at the end of that summer. I vividly remember watching the moon-landing and moonwalks. Didn’t quite understand all the protesting and riots that had been going on for the past several years, but I sensed there was a seachange coming in America (although I didn’t express it like that–just knew that life might be a bit different going forward.

    I guess it was.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I was a junior in college, and yes we did have a protest walk from downtown to ISU campus (Ames, IA). Then I did my first summer working in San Francisco, living with three friends by the Golden Gate Bridge, and feeling like I was REALLY in the midst of something bit. I remember going to see Dick Gregory at a rally in G. G. Park., and going to parties where I tried impersonating a hippie… not so easy when you don’t particularly like weed.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Cynthia – love all these photos.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I remember a rare Friday evening in that apartment when no one else was home, listening – for the first time undistracted – to the Beatles’ White Album and a couple of other albums. The realization came on me that I was this unique individual with my own tastes, skills, foibles… it was one of those defining life moments.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. This is really nice Cynthia! I really appreciate hearing about your experiences in the Capital. I was 5 in 1969; I think I remember going to someones house and watching the moon landings. (But wasn’t it around 7:30 PM our time? Which would have been milking time and there’s no way we should have been out anywhere) so I’m not sure.
    Grandma noted the moon landing and all the Apollo missions in her diary so it must have been big news even for her.
    (Currently reading 1972)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I was at a family gathering in Pipestone at my Uncle Harvey’s house during the moon landing. He farmed, but raised hogs and cattle, so no milking chores for his family.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. In 1969, I was living upstairs of Savran’s bookstore near Seven Corners with some guys destined to become life-long friends and going to school at the University of Minnesota. I worked part time at Art Materials in Dinkytown. I remember seeing the moon landing (probably not the live footage, but who knows?) on a black and white tv in the window of a store on 4th Street. The U. S. had begun the bombings of Cambodia that accelerated the protests and resulted in the student strikes and the Kent State shootings of 1970.

    I was a Studio Arts major and along with several of my fellow would-be artist friends, we had rented an empty building right on Seven Corners and set up studio spaces for ourselves as well as a gallery space. We called the gallery ”Aninathana”, which was Sanscrit for “an art place” or something like that. I wasn’t in class or at the apartment or at work, I was in my studio. In fact, many of us skipped many of the art class sessions and only showed up for the class critiques.

    In the late fall of 1969, Robin came into Art Materials to buy supplies. When she left the store, I went to the till to read her name off her check. The next time she came into the store, I greeted her with “Hi Robin!”. She had recently transferred to the University of Minnesota from Carleton and didn’t know many people. We chatted a while and I asked her if she would like to go for coffee. We went across the street to Bridgeman’s and had pie and coffee. That was November 19. We started dating and never stopped. In March of 1970, we told our parents we were getting married. We were thinking June but our parents persuaded us to wait until August. Needless to say, 1969 was a foundational year for me.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Art Materials in Dinkytown was downstairs of Perrine’s bookstore. There were used bookstores in Dinkytown as well and Melvin McCosh was over in the former West Bank fire station. I was surrounded by books.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I loved Savran’s bookstore, although I didn’t arrive in the Twin Cities until summer of 1972, so didn’t discover it until after you were no longer an upstairs tenant, but I can envision the area as it was back then.

      Love your meeting Robin story. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Roland and I were on a motorcycle trip in July that year. As I recall we were stuck in a tent in a rainy Maine when the walk on the moon occurred. Somehow we knew about it…but probably after it had happened. Of course, the image is stuck in my head….both of the walk and being in a wet tent.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 69 i was the 14 year old hippy down at the university on minnesota protests but pretty unimpressed with the gala
    bad speech’s bad leaders bad focus
    dems of today
    i was totally immersed by the thoughts of viet nam
    i quit eating meat to make my c/o status feel valid
    on moonwalk night me and justin and steve gross were out wandering around a mile from anyone’s house
    somebody said hey i think cindy suchy lives over there let’s go say hi
    we knocked she said hi the moon walk is happening and in we went to her basement where her mom fed us popcorn
    first time last time i ever stoped in there
    i remember the walk and couldn’t believe we were so lucky as to stop by out of the blue and get to watch

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    What a fun post, Cynthia. I love the pictures.

    I turned 16 in August, 1969 and was headed to my Junior year of high school. That summer my 4H friend, Ruthie, and I went to the Iowa State Fair with our space theme hair care demonstration after watching the moon walk in her living room that July. We named the demonstration “Frizzy Frantic’s Rendevouz with Hair Care.” Cleaver, huh?

    In the fall I got into Iowa All State Band for the first time, and went to the big event during Thanksgiving Weekend. I got lost in downtown DesMoines, that giant and overwhelming city, going across the street. It took me a long time to get my sense of direction back so I could return to my hotel room. As I write about these two events, I realize that during 1969, my world expanded to DesMoines, Iowa.

    That may have been the year we had an army worm invasion, as well.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Not me. I was never a hippie, pretend or otherwise. Too damn straight to be hip. Most of my friends were, though some of them regarded me with some suspicion because I never smoked weed (or anything else, for that matter). I would not have fit in very well at Woodstock, though I would have loved to have witnessed some of the music.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Roland and I dropped his sister off at Woodstock and kept going. Too many people, too much rain. Seeing photos & films of the event afterwards made us most happy to have left.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Whenever I hear the name Roland, I think of the statue of the medieval hero of the same name in the town square in Bremen, Germany. Is there a saga for this Roland?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. A Woodstock near miss for you.

        I read the link about Roland’s mother. Interesting lady. She knew George McGovern, or at least supported his stance regarding Viet Nam.

        In 1969 my friend Carol revealed to us that her uncle was a US Senator from S. Dakota. Although at that point we had been good friends for 5 years, her parents kept this quiet because ours was such a conservative area and people in Iowa did not like McGovern. I could scarcely conceive of someone I knew having someone So Important be part of their family. Carol’s mother and George were siblings.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Yes, I believe his mother did know McGovern personally as well as working for his campaign. George stayed with Roland when he had a lodge in Montana. Roland was so delighted.

          Liked by 3 people

  11. today i am 48 hours past my cancer surgery that i planned and hoped for a happy ending on for the last couple years
    my business could not wait for me to get my act together so she went another way and now reinvention is my key
    i am so looking forward to it

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Thanks, Cynthia, for a very nice post and wonderful pictures of then and now. Wish there was a current photo of you, as well, but those old ones are just charming.

    I was 25 when I started my freshman year at SIU in 1968, the old lady in all of my freshman classes. I’m fascinated by the recollections of other baboons of 1969. They illustrate what an age difference of ten to twenty years can mean in terms of major events that impact your life.

    For me, 1969 was a year of trying to fit in at SIU. I had tentatively declared a major in art, simply because I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to be. Unlike Renee who in 6th grade already knew she wanted to be a psychologist, I was clueless at twenty-five. What’s more, I really was not confident that I was smart enough to make it through. I was too straight laced to be a hippie, so didn’t fit in with that more or less perpetually high crowd. I also struggled because a full course load, twenty hours of work at the Endocrinology Lab, plus being married, really didn’t leave me enough time for many extracurricular activities.

    But 1969 was an interesting time. Tension over the war in Vietnam was growing, and campus protests became unavoidable, as they sprang up, seemingly, spontaneously or unplanned. You’d bump into rallies on your way from one class to another. Remaining uninvolved and not taking sides was not an option, and for better or worse, as a liberal woman I found myself involved in various sit-ins, rallies, and the occasional march. In early June, Old Main, the oldest building on campus, was set on fire and burned to the ground. The rationale for torching Old Main still eludes me, but it was an event that signaled that demonstrations would increasingly become more violent. This in turn turned an already strained relationship between students and local residents of Carbondale, hostile. Locals in pickup trucks would deliberately try to run students on bicycles off the road, it was an extremely tense period.

    We celebrated and watched the moon landing on in an old farmhouse with a bunch of hippie friends. Wasband and I were in all likelihood the only two people there who weren’t smoking pot, fortunately there was a keg of beer. What made an even bigger impression on me than the landing and walk on the moon, memorable as it was, was Tom, the host, coming into the living room from the outside. He took off his cowboy boots, which were somehow filled with water, and emptied them out on the floor. I still can’t get that image our of my mind.

    My hopes and dreams for 2021 are modest. Make it through without getting the virus, and hopefully getting my shots within the next month or so. By summer I hope we’ll be able to gather safely outdoors with friends, and be able to hug each other again. Going out for the occasional nice dinner would be great, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I had a transistor radio in 1969. I remember a lot of the music. The Beatles hits around that time were Come Together, Something, Let It Be, and Get Back. Oh Happy Day was a sort of unexpected hit – gospel in the midst of a lot of psychedlia and hippie vibe. Donovan sang Atlantis. Bad Moon Rising and Green River. The Youngbloods’ Get Together. And Desmond Dekker.

    I was in 5th and 6th grade in 1969, so I don’t remember a lot about the politics and current events. Vague memory of the moon landing. Mostly I remember the music.

    Happy birthday, Renee!

    Liked by 6 people

  14. I remember the Kent State shootings the following year as being a sort of political awakening for me. Until that happened, politics didn’t have a lot of significance, or didn’t seem real.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Kent State shootings were a real turning point for many people. For me it certainly cemented the idea that I needed to pay attention and become involved in issues that were important to me. I had pretty much just gone with the flow prior to that, but at that point I realized that standing up for what you believed in was important.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. A reason for remembering the Kent State riots is that they happened here in Minnesota as well as in cities all over. The mayor of Minneapolis then was a piggish lout named Charlie Stenvig whose grasp of social issues was on a par with Marjorie Taylor Greene. Stenvig’s harsh style of policing led to a major riot on the U of MN campus, a riot in which cops dropped tear gas bombs on students from helicopters hovering over the campus. My wife, not a rioter, was one of those getting gassed.

        Liked by 1 person

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