The photograph of Nick and Bobbi Ercoline on the cover of the Woodstock album, taken by Burk Uzzle at the legendary festival in 1969, defined their generation. When Megan McCutcheon, Managing Editor of The Gerontologist, asked me to contribute a cover photo to a special Baby Boomer issue, I knew right away whose picture I wanted to take.
It wasn’t difficult to find Nick and Bobbi who live in the Catskills not far from the original site of the Woodstock concert. When I called, they graciously invited me into their home. They were 20 years old and dating when they attended the famous gathering, and didn’t know their picture was taken until the album came out. They got married two years later and have been married ever since, and now are proud grandparents.
Bobbi and Nick continue to exemplify their generation. They had two sons Matthew Ryan and Luke Nicholas while in their 30’s. Bobbi quit her job as a school nurse to care for her 95 year old Aunt Ceal and her 82 year old mother Elanor – both of whom live in senior housing. She also pitches in to care for her 8 month old grand-daughter Alice while her daughter-in-law is at work. Nick worked for years as a carpenter and a rehabilitation inspector for the Orange County Office of Community Development, and just got his Bachelors degree on-line.
The Woodstock photo has enhanced their lives, giving them a taste of celebrity status. They have appeared on Tom Brokaw, the History Channel, Good Morning America, and Smithsonian Magazine. When I visited their home, Bobbi showed me a basket of fan mail that included faded Woodstock albums that fans requested them to sign.
The theme of the April 2012 issue of The Gerontologist is Not your Mother’s Old Age: Baby Boomers at Age 65. There are 12 scholarly articles which cover issues such as health inequities, informal caregiving, intergenerational relationships, and gender differences with age. Editor-in-Chief Rachel Pruchno states in the editorial:
“In 2011, the first of the Baby Boom cohort reached age 65, and for the next 17 years close to 10,000 people a day will celebrate their 65th birthday… Baby Boomers redefined each stage of life as they experienced it, modifying fashion design and hair length as well as key societal institutions. They questioned the underlying values and attitudes of society. They influenced education, music, race relations, sex roles, and child rearing. They are about to change what we know about old age.”
It was a privilege to get to know Nick and Bobbi Ercoline. It was also a privilege to have my work published on the cover of The Gerontologist. Stay tuned as there might be more to come.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Permission to reproduce the original Woodstock photo was kindly granted by photographer Burk Uzzle.
For a look at more of my cover photos on The Gerontologist check out this YouTube video.