Magazine | October 5, 2009, Issue

Social Studies Project

Michelle Stevens, 8th Grade

Glenn Beck Middle School

September 16, 2019

For my Social Studies project, I decided to interview my mom and my grandmom to talk about their experiences and other stuff when they were both getting all political and everything.

My grandmom was alive during the 1960s, when there were a lot of people listening to music outside and dancing and getting naked. She went to a big outdoor concert where there weren’t any restrooms in New York State, called Woodstock. There were a lot of people there her age (20) and a lot of them were doing drugs and things which she says she did too but that I shouldn’t, and also they were upset about a war going on in Vietnam that was started by Richard M. Nixon, who was one of our presidents. She says that she didn’t get totally naked there, but she also says she can’t remember everything that happened back then. I have some pictures that she gave me of the event but I won’t put them in this report because they’re gross. When she was at this concert she met my grandfather and they hooked up a couple of times and then got married and then had my mom in a peanut-butter colored minivan of some kind which was when my grandfather decided to go to law school.

When I was three years old, my mom got really mad about something that Barack Obama, one of our presidents, was doing. If you don’t know who Barack Obama was he’s on the million dollar bill. I was going to staple one to this report, but I need it for the bus home. The machine only takes crisp million dollar bills. So, anyway, my mom was really upset at Barack Obama and so she and a lot of people her age then (30) went to Washington, D.C., for a big protest on the huge grass park right between the Starbucks Monument and the Democratic Party Headquarters building with the round top and the big steps. It was a big event and my mom says that over 2 million people attended, which is amazing. She says they all had a great time and protested some huge government spending laws which she says we’re lucky didn’t get passed because if they did the bus would cost 2 million dollars to ride rather than only 1 million dollars but I’m not sure there’s much difference between the two but anyway. Here’s my interview:

Q. What did you guys eat at your outdoor events?

MY GRANDMOTHER: Just whatever. We didn’t even think about it. People just brought stuff and we shared and we danced and we just concentrated on music and peace and brotherhood.

MY MOM: I brought tuna sandwiches for your father and myself. And some kind of noodle salad. I forget what kind. And water.

Q. What was the weirdest thing you saw?

MY GRANDMOTHER: Three nude people, covered in mud, making out.

MY MOM: We didn’t see anything weird. Heavens, Michelle, what kind of question is that?

Q. Did you take any drugs?

MY GRANDMOTHER: You know, in the context of the time, considering who we were and where American society was, and the terrible war we were protesting, I have to be honest and say that, yes, there was some drug taking. But it was a more innocent time, a more idealistic time. And back then, drugs were a way to show our independence, to stake a claim for our generation. To announce to the world that we were going to change things, that there was a revolution coming.

MY MOM: Your father brought Claritin.

Q. What did you wear?

MY GRANDMOTHER: A purple flowing Indian-style dress with a garland of flowers in my hair, bare feet, and a wide and loving smile.

MY MOM: Jeans and a sweatshirt. And sneakers. And a hat for the sun. And sunblock. SPF 40, I think, though your father didn’t wear any sunblock and suffered the next day, let me tell you.

Q. Do you think it was successful?

MY GRANDMOTHER: Oh, yes! Yes, definitely. I mean, we didn’t end the war or anything. And eventually of course we all grew up and moved on with our lives. And of course Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972, and then Reagan came along in 1980, so I mean, I guess as far as revolutions go, this one wasn’t so big, but it was a great time and I met a lot of people (including your grandfather!) and what’s fun is that a lot of the people I met back then went on to write for the New York Times! And they always write about it, pretty much every month, so it’s fun and easy to keep up! 

MY MOM: Well, we kept them from taking all of our money, which I guess counts as success. But they’re still taking most of it. And those Diet Cokes you love so much didn’t used to cost 5 million dollars apiece.

Q. Anything else you’d like to say?

MY GRANDMOTHER: Just that although your mother and I disagree on a lot of things, I think it’s important for each generation to be engaged and passionate about life and society and justice. And to be free! To hear the music of your generation and dance with abandon!

MY MOM: No. Finish your homework.

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