You guys flatter me!
Some of the emails I received yesterday about my trip through the 60’s made me smile! A few pointed out that I had neglected to mention mood rings. Others who have met me said “You can’t be THAT old!” I’m not sure how old you think THAT old is!
Let me put it this way; when President Kennedy was assassinated I was in the 6th grade. I remember our Elementary Principal calling everyone into the small gymnasium to make the announcement. Mrs. Frey was crying when she told us this. It was very upsetting to see her cry, but being 6th graders we didn’t understand WHY she would cry about it. (BTW, 6th grade was the highest grade level within this system; from there we went to the “high school” which was in a different location).
6th graders today would probably understand the importance of an announcement like this. We actually were pretty sheltered “back in those days” from politics, the Cuban missile crisis, etc. We were KIDS; we didn’t have the concerns that “kids” have today.
So, while the 60’s were my favorite era, I had a lot more growing up to do in the 70’s, so I also experienced the disco era. I never did learn how to disco on roller skates. I had a hard enough time just skating.
I graduated from HS in 1970. I had written my Jr. term paper on civil unrest between the blacks and whites. Catchy title too; The Article Is In Black and White. How original was that?? Anyway, it “caught the eye” of a local newspaper person.
You may recall in my previous post that I said my family and I were in Chicago the day MLK was shot. It was spring break for us; April 4th, 1968. Mom, Dad, my sister and I were staying on Lakeshore Drive and had taken a taxi to the museums. All I remember about that day is this; I was in a different area of the museum than the rest of my family and I heard an announcement over the loud speaker that they would be closing the museum immediately. I don’t remember hearing why but I do remember my parents frantically yelling for me. By the time we got outside to hail a cab, you could already see smoke in the air. Riots had already started. (Later we all learned that King's assassination led to disturbances in well over 100 cities and, before the violence subsided on April 11, the deaths of 46 people, mostly African Americans, 35,000 injuries, and 20,000 people jailed.)
The cab driver managed to get us back to our hotel. We packed up and then tried to get out of Chicago, heading for Madison, Wisconsin. Traffic was jammed; people were running every where, stones being thrown through windows of buildings and cars. Smoke filled the skyline. We were amazed that our car was not “stoned”. People standing on over passes throwing things onto traffic below. Again, we were amazed we were not targeted. We found out later what saved US was the fact that Dad ALWAYS drove with his head lights on…any cars who had their head lights on were not as likely to be a target (the headlights were supposedly out of respect for MLK).
I was not quite 16 yet…but this made such an impression on me. My parents had raised me to believe that everyone is equal, regardless of ethnicity, religion, etc. I had 16 years of this belief drilled into me and I decided on that trip to Wisconsin that when I got out of school I was going to work with black kids. Things like this shouldn’t happen in America.
So that is why I wrote that particular term paper. Prior to that, I hadn’t given much thought about college and as far as school, I was pretty immature and basically just wanted to have fun, pass and graduate. But this whole thing was bigger than me so I really started applying myself in school…I only had two years till graduation.
I decided to get a PhD in sociology…I think that amounted to 6 years of college, a year for the thesis and another year in school after that. For someone who really just wanted to “get by” in high school, that was kind of daunting.
Also between 1968 and 1970, we had taken a family vacation “out west”. This trip took us through some of the Reservations and THAT had an impact on me as well. It still burns me to think of the history of the Native American (they WERE here first) and how it all ended up, but to see how many of them were (are) “living” on reservations (AKA dust bowls) with little of nothing I decided I could help them too.
I really DID apply myself in school those last two years, but the funds were not available so I did not go to college and pursue my dream. I don’t know if I could have made a difference or not, but those of us growing up in the 60’s WANTED and TRIED to make an impact on the world around us. And music was a HUGE part of that.
Sixties Music DID reflect the changing times and a cultural rebellion. The rebellion attempted to move away the structure of American society. Teenagers were breaking away from the ideals that their parents held. Teens in the 60’s had the guts to believe that they could change the world. 60’s teens wanted to live in a state of love, peace, and freedom. Through the turbulent decade of the 1960’s it seemed that popular music was at the center of everything. During this time musicians reacted to what they saw, often the youth of the Sixties were living out lyrics and popular songs of the day.
That is enough history for one day! I am FEELING old remembering all of this!
Our New Normal
4 weeks ago