Elaine Rosenberg Miller
Elaine Rosenberg Miller

Going on down to Yasgur’s farm

The year was 1968.

Tommy Davidoff, pre-veterinary student was required to take a summer job on a working farm and applied to work for Max Yasgur in Bethel, NY.

Max Yasgur, as many of that era will recall, became immortal as the man who leased a field to the Woodstock promoters the following year.

Far from Yasgur being chagrined at a half a million young people attending the festival (instead of the projected 50,000) Yasgur took the stage in his short-sleeved shirt and black-rimmed glasses and told the assembly:

“I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to 20 people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world — not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids — and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you are — a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I – God bless you for it!”

In 1968 Yasgur hired Tommy Davidoff.

Tommy was housed in the attic of a farm employee’s house . (“It got hot.”)

His workday was 3:00 a.m through 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 5.00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. every other day. He worked seven days a week.

He milked cows, delivered calves (“The males were separated after two weeks and sold to the slaughterhouse”), impregnated cows with bull semen. He drove a truck and delivered dairy products as far away as Pennsylvania.

Max Yasgur was not just a dairy farmer, he was a major dairy farmer. He was the largest milk producer in Sullivan County, NY.

He had a herd of prize bulls from which his employees drew semen. If a bull needed to be seen by a veterinarian, he would fly one in in a helicopter.

What was the result of Tommy’s summer on the Yasgur farm?

He switched his major to pre-dentisry.

But for a few months, he tumbled across the country roads, working hard, learning about large animal husbandry and himself, his capabilities and strengths.

And then there was a beautiful girl, the daughter of a pig farmer across the road,

About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS. Her books,, FISHING IN THE INTERCOASTAL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES, THE CHINESE JEW and THE TRUST are available on Amazon and Kindle.
Comments