Personal Stories

Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen, Big Sur, CA, 1969

We’d like to thank Michael Maurer Smith for the frank and enlightening note he sent to Baron upon receiving his copy of the book.

“I recently got your book, “The Rolling Stone Years.” It is an absolute pleasure and treasure. And I want to say thank you.

From 1968 until the late summer of 1972 I was serving in the Marine Corps. Although I did not go to Vietnam I did serve tours in Guantanamo and Okinawa. While in Okinawa I remember one of the guys rushing into the barracks, very excited. He yelled out to everyone that they were now carrying “Rolling Stone” in the PX. That was the first time (1971) I had heard of the magazine. I’d come from a small town in Michigan and had joined the Marines at 18. I knew little about anything and next to nothing about rock and roll.

Okinawa at that time was under the control of the United States, and had been since the end of World War Two. It reverted to Japanese control in 1972. Because of this the American Military command had a firm control over what we service personnel could do, what we could read and where we could go.

At one point Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda came to Okinawa. To prevent us from seeing them the Marine Command confined all Marines to base. I never forgot this act of censorship. Believe me it was not the only one.) So you can understand how “Rolling Stone,” becoming available in the PX on Okinawa, was so significant at that time.

Your book with its superb photographs and commentary has given me at least a little bit of the San Francisco/Rock and Roll experience I wish could have known first-hand. I’m sure it will do the same for many other veterans. For that – for giving us a bit of our youth that was denied us at the time – we are all indebted to you. Thanks again.”