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August 21, 2019

Couple Find and Recreate Their Woodstock Photo 50 Years After the Iconic Music Festival

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Woodstock music festival that in so many ways became synonymous with the 1960s “counterculture” in the United States. For a Southern California couple, though, it was an occasion to remember the first time they had met each other.

Judy and her friends were on their way to the iconic music festival when their car broke down. They were still 90 miles from the festival grounds, so they decided to hitchhike.

“I was just thinking, ‘Damn, now we can’t go,’ and we were dying to,” Judy told People. “Then Jerry and his friends pulled up. I stuck my head in and I saw that there was a woman in the car. I’d never hitchhiked before, but I figured, ‘Well, since there was a woman, it was fairly safe, and I probably should just get in the car.’”

In that moment Jerry, who was caravanning to the festival with a group of friends in two VW Beetles, thought his luck had definitely changed for the better.

“I thought, ‘Okay, this is definitely unusual,’” Jerry recalled. “‘We just picked up this really cute girl. And I’m going to Woodstock and I’ve got a tent and she doesn’t.’”

That first ride together in the back seat of Jerry’s pal’s 1967 VW Beetle eventually grew into 50 years of love and marriage, including two sons and five grandchildren.

For decades, Judy and Jerry have told people their love story, but there was one downside: They never had any photos of their time at Woodstock together. They both brought cameras with them, but neither of them took pictures. For 50 years, they tried to find evidence of their time at the festival together, but they never found anything.

“We both had cameras, but neither of us took any pictures,” said Jerry. “For 50 years we’ve been looking for a picture of ourselves, and out of the blue one shows up. We’d known each other less than 48 hours when that was taken.”

Judy and Jerry Griffin at Woodstock in 1969. (Screenshot from American Experience|PBS, footage courtesy of Warner Brothers Entertainment)

They couldn’t believe their eyes when a friend sent them a screen grab of a PBS documentary ‘Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation.’ It was a photo of the Griffins, rain-drenched and huddled under a blanket, at Woodstock 69.

“For a second you looked at it and thought maybe it’s a staged picture, someone playing a joke on us,” Judy said. “And then all of the sudden I realized that’s me!”

Judy and Jerry Griffin at their home in Manhattan Beach in 2019. (Photo: Ben Trivett/People)

The native New Yorkers quickly discovered they had a lot in common, like a shared desire to leave the state and start fresh in California. Five months after the festival they packed up a VW bus and drove cross-country to Los Angeles, where Jerry was starting law school. The Griffins eventually settled in Manhattan Beach, where they’ve lived for 40 years, and were married in December 1975, although they never celebrate that anniversary.

“We always celebrate Aug. 15th — which is also my birthday and the day we met as our anniversary,” said Judy.

Jerry and Judy Griffin recently celebrated their 50th anniversary with family and friends last week with family and friends, who surprised them with a very special celebratory confection.

“Our kids surprised us with this wonderful cake,” Judy, told and shared a photo of the cake with People. The writing on the cake reads, “Happy 50th Anniversary!,” alongside an edible re-printing of the long lost photo of Jerry and Judy at Woodstock that they had been searching for for the last five decades.

(Photo: Courtesy Chloe Kooper/People)

1 comment:

  1. A very lovely and encouraging story! Much enjoyed! Thank you for your engrossing retrospective!




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