Tomomi’s Woodstock

Republished December 13, 2019

This would be the one that describes in a particularly felicitous turn of phrase Stephen Stills’ later career weight problem as “blowing up like the Hindenburg.” The only person, place or thing that actually did so was the Hindenburg itself, RMS Titanic of the air, without the mass casualties, a German passenger airship that on May 6, 1937, caught fire and ignited its supply of hydrogen gas, which exploded, killing 35 of 97 souls aboard and one station crewman on the ground at the front gate of the Naval Air Engineering Station at Lakehurst, Manchester Township, New Jersey. The passenger airship industry, although otherwise luxurious, quiet, comfortable and pleasant, was likewise killed that night. Tomomi Matsushita, the young woman in the photograph, then 20 years old, now now closer to 41, was and is blissfully unaware of the spectacular disaster, captured in still photographs, newsreels and radio reports, as are, one might hazard to guess, a good percentage of those reading this caption. The story Tomomi allegedly tells herein has absolutely nothing to do with air travel, although trips of another kind are briefly touched upon.

Photo illustration by RH Alcott

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