Steve Romanoff

Steve Romanoff was at Woodstock, sort of. A founder of two Maine folk bands, Devonsquare and Schooner Fare, Romanoff was at a party in Portland when he and a friend decided they should go to the much-anticipated music festival, happening the next day. So they got in a Chevrolet Corvair and drove all night to the concert site in Bethel, New York. They arrived around 9:30 a.m. and saw people and cars everywhere. They left their car on the roadside and walked “toward the sound of the festival.” Romanoff and his friend soon realized they had little money, no food, no change of clothes and no sleeping bags. They looked at the crowds of people already wallowing in mud and rain and decided to go home.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘this is stupid.’ Ten hours after we left, we were back in Maine,” said Romanoff, 72, of Falmouth.

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Stephen King Photo by Shane Leonard

Author Stephen King was working at the University of Maine library in the summer of 1969 and remembers watching the moon landing on a small black-and-white TV atop a refrigerator in an Orono boarding house. Or at least he tried to. A fellow resident named Grover, a retired railroad worker, sat next to King and tried to divert his attention from the historic broadcast. Grover badgered King to look at his fishing scrapbook as Apollo 11 was about to touch down.

“I divided my attention between the first men landing on the moon and a series of old photographs, including one of Grover and a prize-winning salmon in the Bangor Daily News. It was (expletive) surreal,” King, 71, wrote in an email to the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

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On left, Jim Harmon at 9, when he watched the moon landing in July 1969. His love of learning about the universe grew from there. On right, Harmon, now a science teacher and astronomer projectionist at the University of Southern Maine, photographed in front of a mural of the Eagle Nebula at the USM planetarium. Left: Photo courtesy of Jim Harmon; Right: Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Jim Harmon was 9 years old and decided to watch the moon landing only after his older brother explained to him that it was a big deal. Harmon, who grew up in Windham, knew little about the mission or its significance. He had heard little about it in school. But soon after watching it, he began launching model rockets in the backyard with his brother and wondering when more people might head to the moon. A few years later, he built a walking-talking robot for a school science fair. Today, he’s a science teacher at Deering High School in Portland and works part time at the University of Southern Maine’s Southworth Planetarium.

“I have to give my brother credit for getting me to watch,” said Harmon, 59, of Scarborough. “I do believe it helped lead me to a career in science.”

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Artist Zoo Cain went to Woodstock, though he didn’t really mean to. He was 17 and living in Brunswick. Though still in school, he said, “I didn’t hardly bother with school.” A friend was taking a bus to Boston and Cain had no other plans, so he figured he’d go, hang out in Boston and hitchhike back to Brunswick. But while at the Boston Common, he met a young woman who happened to ask if he was going to Woodstock. Oh yeah, he remembered, Woodstock was happening. So he decided to hitchhike 250 miles to Bethel, New York. He slept on the ground and ate oranges that were handed out. The Sunday performances were the most memorable for Cain, including rockers Ten Years After, The Band, Johnny and Edgar Winter, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. On Sunday, after two full days, he hitchhiked home.

“In those days people would hitchhike from here to San Diego on a whim,” said Cain, 67, of Westbrook. “That was the mode of transportation back then.”

Portland artist Zoo Cain hitchhiked to and from Woodstock on a whim. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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