How Are You Different Now Than You Were in 1969?
Posted August 11, 2009, 11:29 am
Growing Bolder asks leaders, thinkers, writers, life coaches, entertainers and role models to weigh in on issues affecting our lives.
How are you different now than you were in 1969?
I do remember it well. I was a fairly new immigrant and lived in Massachusetts. That summer was so wonderful and hot. A bunch of my friends were going to Woodstock and it was a rather short drive up to NY. Alas I could not go because my job as a Nanny to 3 children required working weekends so it was out of the question. My friends however went and such a good time they will remember it forever. One of them, he was an electrician for the rock bands and he spent 3 days up a tree perched on top of a pole.
About Iris Davis
It goes without saying that in 69 I was gorgeous, slim, long blond hair, lived on the beach in Gloucester for the summer. But I had no self confidence whatsoever. I let friends walk all over me, I let men abuse me, I was so scared to speak up for myself. I had no backbone and therefore there are a lot of things I regret about that summer. Its totally debilitating to not be able to speak up for yourself. No matter how gorgeous you are on the outside, it really is the inside that counts. If you feel you are worth nothing, then you are nothing in your own eyes and I thought my circle of friends thought the same about me.
What a difference 40 years make. I am still slim, still blond, still have the same figure, only now I have self confidence to go along with all this. No more walking into a club or bar and feeling like I dont belong. Now when I walk into a bar, my confidence shows and I walk in with pride in myself and my abilities and know that I am a phenomenal person who anyone would be proud to call their friend. I have more energy now than in my 20's, I know I am full of wisdom and I share my wisdom with younger friends who I surround myself with. I still have a lot to offer this world and intend to work till the day I drop.
So I would like to say to all those young people who hate the thought of growing old, dont be afraid, go into your years and gain all the wisdom and confidence and you truly will shine. Age is really just a number, I still think I am 25, its only when I look in the mirror I know I am not, however, no one can take that feeling away from me.
I can still dance like a 25 year old especially when I hear all those Woodstock tunes playing on the radio stations today.
Iris Davis isn't exactly typical of a woman in her 60s. At 5 feet, 1 inch and weighing 100 pounds she's a champion bodybuilder. And when she saw an armed robber running from the cops, she sprung into action. But that isn't the toughest battle she ever faced. At age 45, she was diagnosed with a virus that attacks the brain, and it left her paralyzed for five months. She is a classic example of Growing Bolder.
For me, nothing has changed, everything has changed.
I’m driving a tie dyed beetle (same attitude, new car). A few years back, I sent a holiday greeting on youtube.com to my friends, fans, and family (the same but quite a different medium). I said “Peace on Earth, Dude” (the same) but the beetle had heat (different.) See it for yourself, man. Cool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHvMSg3utgE
My husband and I are going to New York to see Hair on Broadway (the same) and we will be staying in a beautiful hotel with a concierge, room service, and reliable air conditioning (different.)
My husband is out of work again, but we now say retired instead of unemployed. I’m still walking the hallowed halls of a college campus, although now I’m a professor instead of a student. I am still marching in the streets arm and arm with like minded women, although it’s now for Breast Cancer Awareness instead of equal rights. Getting Lucky means that I snatched the last pair of discounted reading glasses in the sale bin at the local Target store. I’m now wearing a bra so my boobs don’t get caught in my zipper, although I’m still wearing jeans. An All Nighter is now the long drive from Wisconsin to Florida to get out of the winters. Free love is related more to the panting and licking from the rescued and grateful dogs at the Humane Society. Pot is what you sit on. Frequently. Weed is what you pull out of the garden. When I say I can’t remember it’s a senior moment not because of the foggy haze, man. Long hair and love beads have been replaced by no hair and life alert. Getting a little action has more to do with Metamucil than sex. We are still trying to find ourselves, but mostly it’s because we’re not sure where we are. A Joint is something that needs repair, replacement, or physical therapy. And of course being Hippie has new meaning as our jeans expand around our bell shaped bottoms!
All in all it’s still groovy to be alive. And I still think we should Give Peace a Chance.
About Elaine Beaubien
Elaine Beaubien is an award-winning professor, an international speaker, entrepreneur, corporate trainer and a popular columnist. But after turning 50, she knew she wanted to try her hand at something else -- writing romance novels. So, she started writing under the pen name E.K. Barber but the secret is now out. Her latest is, "Flight into Fate and Flight into Destiny."
Ahh...the summer of '69, I remember it well. I was very pregnant with my second child (due in early October), and chafing at the bit, so to speak, to be part of the antiwar demonstrations taking part in Boston that summer.
My husband, who was in art school at the time, was very involved but didn't want me in large groups where I might get roughed up. So I sat out all that happened that summer. I did manage to stuff envelopes and send lots of letters to legislators and others in positions of power though, which made me feel a bit better.
I don't think I've really changed all that much despite it being 40 years later. In this last election I wrote lots of letters, (newspapers even printed them) and got involved in the grassroots work of the Obama presidential campaign. I was happy to be able to do it and to be able to get my viewpoint out there. I've never been one to sit by and let others do it - not in 1969, nor in 2009!
About Nancy Nordstrom
Nancy Nordstrom didn't publish her first book, or even write it until she turned 61 and she hasn't slowed down since. "Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret for Making the Most of Your After 50 Years," focuses on lifelong learning. She's had to take new chances since her husband died of a heart attack in 1993. Since then, she's been learning how to continue to grow bolder and she's eager and willing to pass along what she's learned.
I missed the free-for-all style of the 60's as a youngster, and that included Woodstock. By the time Woodstock was held, I had been married and had three children. We were definitely not the "Flower Children" of the 60's, but we often wondered if we had missed out on an unforgettable part of our history. Not only was it a time for a free lifestyle, but it was a time of recognizing and exercising our right to free speech. Not all went smoothly at some of the demonstrations, but the turmoil that resulted paved the way for making future free speech much easier.
Back to Woodstock. Did I miss an important happening in my life by missing Woodstock? After seeing some of the recent flash back videos, I think not. I have never supported the use of drugs, and it seemed to me that the majority of those attending Woodstock were using every unlawful drug ever manufactured. The whole Woodstock hype during and after the event, has always focused on free flowing drug use. If that is kind of lifestyle that I would have faced if I had been born 10 years later, I'm glad that I was born in the 30's and not the 40's or 50's.
I think Woodstock should be used as a poster campaign against drug use, and not held up as a good and memorable historical event. I can think of many more things that happened in 1969 that have not been resurrected like Woodstock. How about remembering some of these:
Jan 14th - 25 members of US aircraft carrier Enterprise die during maneuvers
Feb 7th - "This Is Tom Jones," debuts on ABC TV
Feb 17th - Golda Meir sworn in as Israel's 1st female prime minister
Feb 25th - Mariner 6 launched for fly-by of Mars
Apr 7th - The Internet's symbolic birth date: publication of RFC 1
Apr 22nd - 1st human eye transplant performed
May 10th - Apollo 10 transmit 1st color pictures of Earth from space
May 27th - Walt Disney World construction begins
Jul 21st - Neil Armstrong steps on Moon at 2:56:15 AM (GMT)
Aug 17th - -18] Hurricane Camille, kills 256 in Miss & Louisiana (during Woodstock)
And the list goes on.
About Lou Whitney
Now in his 70s, Lou does things not many people at any age can do. Whitney is not only a pioneer in Veterans Motocross racing -- he's a competitor. He's part of the fastest growing division of the sport, the senior division. And he's responsible for staging the Veterans Motocross Championships. He also does another type of riding -- adventure riding. He goes on an annual trek to places like Mexico, the West Coast and Canada.
Something unusual happened on August 15th, 1969. Something that has become legend in American pop culture. Wrapped in the fantasies of four decades of baby boomer memories and shrouded by the mists of an entire generation of flower children, a simple music festival became a major part of American pop culture history.
Originally billed as "An Aquarian Exposition" and slated for the dates August 15th through the 17th, it turned into four days (ending on the 18th) of free music and free love that became the Music Camelot to peaceniks and hippies the world over. Thirty two bands and singers ended up performing on that stage in Max Yasgur's farm in Sullivan County, New York in what would become the greatest music event ever. We were stardust, we were golden, we were at Woodstock.
Nearly half a million people attended and I accidentally became one of them. The summer of 1969 had already been a historic year for me, I graduated from high school and then I watched as Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I did not consider myself a hippie, I was simply an eighteen year old girl living in "interesting times" and trying to grow up. I was having some difficulties with that and some issues with my parent's vision of my future when a couple of friends invited me to "drop out of all that establishment stress and go to this groovy concert we heard about in New York". With nothing better to do before starting college the next month - and never having been to the Big Apple - I said, "Why not?", packed my duffel bag and hopped into their "Magic Bus" on August 11th, 1969.
It took us four and a half days to get there and we were late. By the time we arrived the "impromptu" concert was already packed with what looked like half the hippies in the country and they were stoned, dancing, painted up and decked out in feathers, beads, flowers and fringe or just plain naked as a jay bird! The visual experience itself was almost psychedelic and the smoky haze of thousands of joints brought another level of "alternate reality" to the impact. It had also rained and we were standing in mud that promised to suck the shoes off our feet, which is probably why most people were barefoot! Instead of seeing the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty I had landed smack dab in the middle of the biggest, muddiest, most rockin' party of modern history. And I was scared to death and excited at the same time.
Wax nostalgic all you want about it, the fact of the matter was Woodstock was an outdoor concert, held on a rain soaked weekend, on a cow field that turned to mud, with no bathrooms, no food stands and no emergency facilities that was filled with half a million stoned, cavorting teenagers whose only beliefs were sex, drugs and rock and roll. It also had the best line up of music legends ever assembled in one place at one time. It was a once in a lifetime event and it was phenomenal.
I'm not going to tell you Woodstock changed my life because it didn't. I'm not going to give you a blow by blow of my three and a half days in a hot and cold, muddy, upstate New York cow pasture. As I look back forty years later I am glad I went. I was a part of history and part of something magical - even though I couldn't see it at the time. I may not have enjoyed the marijuana hazed air, the mud, the lack of decent facilities or the lack of food and I might not have been able to hear half the now famous acts (though I did shove my way up for Janis, Jimi, CCR and a few others!) but I can say I was there when it happened.
No, Woodstock did not change my life per se, but it took a good chunk of the "midwestern" out of me! I was never a "merry prankster" or a hippy/flowerchild and attending Woodstock did not turn me into one. But I will tell you this, when I get to heaven and Jimi Hendrix asks me, "are you experienced?" I can answer "Yes."
Some Interesting Woodstock facts and trivia:
* Rolling Stone magazine listed it in their 50 moments that changed Rock and Roll History
* Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York - not Woodstock.
* Woodstock was not an "impromptu" event - it was planned and the men behind the magic were Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, and Artie Kornfeld.
* Woodstock was planned as a money making event and only became a "free concert" after the crowd grew too large for the originally anticipated and hoped for crowd of 200,000.
* Some people actually paid for this "free concert" - nearly 186,000 tickets were pre sold for $18. The price at the gate was supposed to be $24.
* The UAWMF purposely cut the fence and turned it into a free concert. You might want to google that acronym to find out exactly what UAWMF is - anyone else remember them?
* The massive numbers showing up ended up closing down the New York State Thruway.
* There were two recorded deaths (one from a purported heroin overdose and another from an occupied sleeping bag accidentally being run over by a tractor in a nearby hayfield) and two births at the event.
* The concert was originally planned to take place in Mills Industrial Park. Can you imagine Crosby Stills and Nash singing a song entitled: Mills Industrial Park?
* The original location was chosen partly in hopes of lulling Bob Dylan (who lived nearby in the actual town of Woodstock!) out of seclusion - it didn't work.
About Terri Dennis
The Pop Art Diva is an artist unlike any other. She's a baby boomer and proud of it! So proud, that even though she grew up during the Golden Age of TV, Rock 'N Roll and other classics of American Pop Culture she has embraced modern technology to advance her art. She's found the computer to be a great tool to feed her passion in art inspired by pop culture. She's also fascinated in how American history relates to pop culture mythology and understanding the influence it's had on our society.
As a nineteen year old, about to start my second year of college, the prospect of going to Woodstock was very exciting. " The times were definitely changing." Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll were prevalent and Woodstock promised to be the biggest party of all time.
My friends and I planned to make the trip from New York City, but as the big event drew closer, the weather forecast was miserable. The authorities predicated that the highways would be closed and that many people would be stranded on the Thruway -- never making it to the concert.
In a rare moment of teenage clarity, I decided to bag the trip, avoid all the hassles and stayed home. It is a decision that I regret to this day. The only silver lining to my "hell no I wont go" response, was a lesson learned that I carried with me for the rest of my life.
If something is important to you, as Nike says, "Just do it." Don't worry about the cost, or analyze the pros and cons ad infinitum. Yes you can save things for your bucket list, like the fancy sports car, or the exotic vacation, but memories can't be stockpiled, and are rarely duplicated at a later date.
If I am lucky and live a full life, I don't want to scramble to complete my things to do list. I will be very satisfied if my bucket has long been empty.
About Pat Paciello
Pat Paciello is pushing 60 these days, has three grown children, and has been happily married for over 30 years. (He says the first year wasn't so hot!) He has been retired from the workforce for almost a decade. During that time span Pat has been particularly adept at enjoying leisure pursuits, and earning the highest recommendation from his peers for his "I do nothing, but I do it well attitude." His book, Has Anyone Seen My Reading Glasses? offers a unique and fresh approach to the subject of Baby Boomer retirement. First, it's written by a Baby Boomer who is actually retired. Second, the book is long on humor and personal anecdotes, and short on statistical analysis.
I hardly noticed Woodstock in '69 because I was a young adult, immersed in my new career and family.
My youngest daughter was born in January of that year, so I had two young children and a demanding job as an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Medical College of Virginia (now known as Virginia Commonwealth University).
What was happening in the realm of music, drugs and strange behavior was not part of my life--and still isn't for that matter.
About Pat Bond
Patricia Bond is a multi-sport athlete who has been involved in the Senior Games for many years and thrives on the competition. She won 8 gold medals in 2007 Games in the 65-69 age group. She is the Chair of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee of Manatee County and is an avid photographer.
At that time, I was the Executive Officer of as ocean going minesweeper homeported in Charleston, SC.
I don't even recall being aware there was any such thing as Woodstock, and if I had, attending something like that would have been the furthest thing from my mind!
We were probably at sea anyways!
About Joe Neal
Triathlons are difficult enough, but imagine competing against your spouse! Carol and Joe Neal have been married for 40 years and their relationship is as strong as their bodies. A former college athlete, Joe now relishes the opportunity get out and test himself in as many triathlons as he and his wife can enter!
The Summer of '69 I was slaving away like the 26-year-old Good Girl I had been brought up to be as an assistant director on the "comeback show" for Dave Garroway that broadcast five mornings a week from the RKO Center in Boston.
Back then, I was totally oblivious to anything out of the mainstream, and had not yet met my husband of--now--33 years, who was floating off the shores of Vietnam in the U.S. Navy that year.
The Monday following Woodstock, I came to work at my usual 4:30 am (the talk show went 'live' at 9am, so the Worker Bees came in very early each day) and by 5:30, I began to panic: most of the band members hadn't shown up. Ditto a couple of the floor cameramen, one of the make-up artists, and a couple other members of our staff.
I began to quiz those stalwarts who had shown up for work and guess what? The Dave Garroway Show no-shows had apparently gotten the Woodstock-Is-A-Happen'-Thing Memo. They all had driven across the state of Massachusetts to upstate New York to attend "some concert or other" and were literally stuck in the mud!
We somehow managed to get the show on the air that day, and the next--and the next--before our crew came stumbling back to work, a little worse for wear and with many tales to tell.
As for me?
The Woodstock I did not attend was my introduction to a new way of thinking about the world and the powers that were governing our lives and dragging us into wars on the other side of the planet.
Even though I wasn't there--I was never the same again.
About Ciji Ware
Ciji Ware is the author of 5 novels being reissued in 2010-2011, along with a brand new historical, A Race to Splendor, debuting next year, and wrote the bestselling nonfiction book on domestic downsizing: Rightsizing Your Life: Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most. She was the first female graduate of Harvard University to serve as president of the university's worldwide Alumni Association. Her numerous awards include an Emmy and a Dupont for her television work, a Silver Gavel for magazine journalism, and a Best Fictionalized Biography Award from Romantic Times magazine.
One, Two, Three, What are we fighting for? War, What is it good for, absolutely nothing!
Forty years ago, the real thought leaders congregated at Woodstock. They fought for there rights, and protested the war.
Where are the protesters today? I don't know about you but I'm ready to march!
About Ted Skup
He believes that with obesity levels at an all-time high, fitness needs be a national priority. He says despite the fact we have an arsenal of exercise options at our disposal, the ultimate choice is, the simple push-up. Skup takes on the 35-billion-dollar fitness industry and explains why it is failing us, with its bogus claims, magic bullets, and quick fixes. Although the fitness industry may not want to hear it, push-ups are free, no equipment, no gimmicks and totally portable. He is the author of Death, Taxes & Push-ups.
I'm very different today. Much more aware of reality and the world outside.
I believe I was way more self involved-- and my emotions (and intelligence) were tainted by hormones in those young days.
It was a time of searching and discovery--and in that way I haven't changed. I'm forever curious and a risk taker (but in different areas than then).
I still draw.
I still love to observe people.
Fashion is less important to me--enduring style is my more in focus.
I'm still a hybrid of European and American culture.
Today, I have more to offer others.
About Sherrie Mathieson
Sherrie has worked in film, television and commercials, and she has clientele of all ages and all personal styles. But it’s her unique way of looking at baby boomers that sets her apart from all the rest. And now, she has done it again. She’s followed up her first book, "Forever Cool" with the must-read, "Steal This Style," which is full of ways women can borrow cues from the younger generation in a flattering way.
Right after I turned eighteen I married my high school sweetheart, Larry Lawson. And right after I married him, he got drafted. He tried to get out of it by displaying his bulbous surfer knots. After he ended up enlisting, he did a three-month stint in Chicago and then was sent over land to Lawton, Oklahoma where he candled eggs and I kept our base apartment sort of clean in between watching Paul Revere and the Raiders’ and The Match Game. We did this until he finished serving his time – three years with the United States Army.
Meanwhile, my friends were all going to college, protesting the war and having sex with one another. Their weekends were spent in San Francisco at the Fillmore smoking dope and watching Big Brother and the Holding Company sing Take a Little Piece of My Heart while I lived among lovers of such songs as Harper Valley PTA and Sugar-Sugar, which relentlessly played on my only other form of entertainment - the radio. Needless to say I missed Northern California.
When we returned we had a lot of catching up to do so we rented the tiny three-bedroom house that my cousins grew up in for $60 a month and began our version of a commune. Because it was located on Olive Street, we called it Fort Olive and I made a flag that read Fort All Love.
Seven was the most that lived there at once, but that doesn’t count the ones who crashed on the living room floor most of the time. Larry was the only person who had a real job. He worked at a dairy. Like the ads say, the Army prepares you for life. Larry brought home egg flats from work and we stapled them to the ceiling for acoustic purposes. We also had a few hens and a rooster in our back yard, though he did not candle their eggs. We were vegetarians, artists and musicians - often doing our art (and gathering eggs) in the nude.
I went back to school and joined the other protesters of the Vietnam War. It was so much more fun than being an army wife.
I had heard of a small sign you could put in your window – about the size of a “Tot Finders” sticker - that encouraged fellow “heads” to “crash” at our “pad”. Which meant any vagrant was welcome to sleep at our house – and we meant it. Larry, being the only responsible one and head of household, thought it was a bad idea, but I never listened to him. So, I placed it in the left bottom corner of our front room picture window and they started coming.
First there was Steve, the drummer for Chicago. Being a house of music enthusiasts ourselves, we thought it was far out that a famous drummer was crashing with us. He even had his sticks with him. He admired our egg flats. He stayed a couple of months, but turns out he was a drummer from Chicago, not for Chicago. Heavy.
Then there was Paolo, whom I picked up hitch hiking. Paolo was an Italian chef and a damn good one at that. However, his veal scaloppini was not a big hit among us animal lovers. After only one night (I think we insulted him) he went on his way through wine country. We had many guests come stay. One time a whole group of people came in a powder blue VW bus and camped out on our front yard for about a week.
One day I was alone in the house painting a monochromatic oil on wood of our claw foot bathtub, listening to Carol King’s Tapestry on our stereo when the doorbell rang. That was unusual. Most people didn’t even knock. Two men in a suit stood on my porch, displaying their FBI badges and asking if they could come in. I was grateful I had my clothes on. Now in those days, homeless drifters were a welcome sight, but anyone in a suit scared the hell out of us. My heart started pounding. We had weed growing near the chicken coop, forgodsakes. I didn’t know what to do but let them in. I was in deep trouble. You can’t just excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and rip up a bunch of plants and try to flush them down the toilet or eat them. Damn.
The agents sat on my couch under the egg cartons and began questioning me. I looked up to see a little mouse peeking where one flat didn’t quite meet another. We had spray painted them black. It was sort of like a real musician’s studio. I was hoping the two men had come because neighbors were complaining about the noise. No such luck. The egg cartons were effective.
“Mrs. Lawson, what is that in your window?” They know my name? “Oh, that’s so people know they always have a place to visit when they are on the road,” I answered with my best That Girl, sweet, yet kooky demeanor. I looked a little like Marlo Thomas, so I used it.
“And have you had many visitors?”
“Well, sort of. You can’t really see the sticker so well from the street. I wanted to put it up higher but my husband was pissed…I mean angry, so I had to…”
“By any chance did you get a ‘visit’ from a group of people traveling in a blue Volkswagen Bus?” the one wearing horned rimmed glasses asked impatiently.
“Why, yes - a nice group. Nice and polite.”
“When were they here?”
“A couple of weeks ago, why?” I was beginning to relax. This was not about the marijuana plants.
“Did they talk about where they were headed?”
“I think they said they were going up to Mendocino. Why?” My curiosity was piqued.
After another half hour of interrogation they closed with, “Well, consider yourself to be a very lucky young lady. You just let The Manson Family stay at your place.”
At that time Charles was already in jail awaiting trial. But the rest of his buddies were up north visiting Fort All Love.
When the two detectives stood up to leave, two more came in from the back of my house. I had been surrounded. As they all filed out the front door, one of the new ones said, “Better cultivate those plants, Missy.”
I smiled and nodded and then removed the sticker from the window.
About Marilyn Kentz
With Nancy Alspaugh, Marilyn co-authored "Not Your Mothers Midlife: A 10-Step Guide to Fearless Aging," a groundbreaking book that helps women face middle age with confidence. Marilyn is a member of the popular comedy duo, "The Mommies." Marilyn is both an author and activist.
Oh my god! Let me count the ways:
1. I was married...now I'm not.
2. I was living in LA..now in NY.
3. I was immature...now I'm way too mature.But the kid is still in there.I just know how to have some perspective on things.
4. I was pretty carefree and not that involved in the world.
Now I'm too involved! Cant escape the turmoil and am a political junkie.
5. I was listening to the music...and I still am. Love the oldies and goodies and the Public Television Doo Wop and Rock and Roll concerts.
6. Still a size 8, but things have shifted a bit downward!!
About Susan Silver
Susan was a writer for many of the greatest TV shows of all time, including "The Bob Newhart Show," "Mary Tyler Moore," and "Maude." These days, she writes a hilarious relationship column called, "The Search for Mr. Adequate." She is a frequent guest on NBC's Today Show whenever the subject turns to relationships, and a favorite of the Growing Bolder Radio Show.
I had just come back from a trip to California and then an extended surfing stay in Cocoa Beach at the Oceanus Trailer Park where I watched the moon landing.
A bunch of my fellow surfers were packing into surf shop owner Kent Barker's VW van and heading up to Woodstock. Unfortunately, I was tapped out financially, so I declined the ride and stayed home in Orlando. Of course, when they got back all I heard was the old surfing cliché, "Man you really missed it!" for weeks.
Then, when the next issue of Rolling Stone came out and I saw some of my friends in the pictorial and got to see the scope of the event, I knew one thing... I really did miss it.
About Art D'Alessandro
The world is filled with people telling you that you can't do something or you can't do it your own way. This screenwriter and producer has ignored those naysayers and in the process, bucked two Hollywood trends. He does not live in Los Angeles, and he's over 50. His most recent project is the movie, The Final Season, starring Sean Astin and Rachel Leigh Cook. It's based on a true story about a small high school baseball team.
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