It was May 17, 1969 and my friends and I had hitchhiked from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, to Athens, Ohio, to the O.U. Convocation Center to see Led Zeppelin, a relatively new rock and roll band from England, who were opening for Jose Feliciano.
We got to someone’s house, friends of friends, because you know, that when you are a hippie, everyone is a friend. There were bodies all over the living room, sandals and shoes, jackets everywhere. Drugs were available, mostly marijuana, and so we chilled there, crashed for a while before the concert. Only one thing, in the melee of bodies and clothing and drugs, I could not find my sandals. I left barefoot. I was 19 and going to a public event, hoping that no one would notice or deny me entrance to the concert.
I am not a stranger to being barefoot. Ever since I was young, I loved to walk, or run, around barefoot—my choice. Not just around the house but also out in the yard and down the street when playing with my friends. My mother called me “Zingara!” which means Gypsy. And even though she said it derogatorily, I always smiled and like it when she did that. Little did I know that as an adult, if you can call a 19 year old an adult, I would be out in public, at a concert with thousands of people, barefoot! The concert was amazing, of course, and I consider myself lucky to have seen them early in their career. This is a link to a review of the concert:
My memory is a bit sketchy about certain events in my past, including this concert, especially in the late 1960s to the early 1970s for reasons that…well, suffice it to say, I was a hippie! By the way, the next day, thank goodness, I did find my sandals before we hitchhiked back to Bowling Green.
I still like to walk around barefoot and even now when I am teaching my Yoga or Pilates class and we are doing a straddle stretch in front of the mirror, the bottoms of my feet are brown. But now, and with no embarrassment I will tell the class, “Well, once again, I haven’t washed my feet,” and laugh it off remembering the day I went to a Led Zeppelin concert barefoot.