Friday, March 30, 2012

Time Passages

With 4 days to go before the Big Birthday, I thought it time to recall how old I really am.  I feel young in many ways, but based on the music, sports, religion and politics that I can remember from my lifetime, I could be wrong.

Here’s a small collection of snippets of memories from as far back as I can reach:

M - Music
  • I remember buying 45 RPM records at the 5 & 10 store, and occasionally springing for that 45 record accessory - the little plastic insert so record would fit on the spindle.
  • I remember when The Beatles Let It Be and Hey Jude were new songs on the radio (although I don’t remember the big break up announcement).
  • I remember watching first run episodes of The Monkees
  • I remember coming home after a grueling day of 1st grade and putting Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on the turntable.  17+ minutes of psychedelic heavy metal is good for an 8 year old.  It has one of the few drum solos I can stand.
  • I remember hearing about the Jim Croce and Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crashes on the radio.  Could have been my first brushes with mortality.
  • I saw the first concert ever staged at Giants Stadium…a stadium that was razed last year and replaced because it was too old and outdated.  I can relate.
  • I remember when Cher was Madonna before Madonna was Madonna, and before Lady Gaga became Madonna.
S - Sports
  • I remember watching the first World Series night game ever played.  In that 1971 Series, the Pirates beat the Orioles in 7 games, and Steve Blass became as star.   The next year, losing all pitching ability inexplicably became known forever as Steve Blass Disease.
  • I remember watching Super Bowl V
  • I remember watching the Steelers-Raiders Immaculate Reception game.  To this day, I still can’t believe Harris caught that ball.
  • I remember the hype over Ali-Frazier I.
  • I remember the Olympic heroics of Olga Korbut and Mark Spitz, but not the tragedy in Munich during those same games.
  • I remember the 1972 Canada vs. USSR hockey series
  • I remember that all my friends had those colorful ABA basketballs.  They were cool.
  • I saw O.J. Simpson play.  I saw Willie Mays hit a home run.  I saw Joe Namath play for the Jets in Shea Stadium.  I hounded Phil Esposito for his autograph after Ranger games.  I got to see the Big Red Machine – Bench, Rose, Morgan, Perez, and Bench – at the height of their powers.
R - Religion
  • I remember a lot of guitar masses in the 1970s.
  • I remember the introduction of the option to accept communion in the hand instead of the mouth.  I was all in favor of the change.
  • I remember that First Communion and Confirmation preparation involved memorizing the answers to a list of questions.  That was pretty much it.  If the priest didn’t call on you to answer one of the questions, you passed.
 P - Politics
  • I remember when stamps were $.06 and gas was $0.36 per gallon.  Those are political mileposts, aren’t they?
  • I remember RFK’s funeral, but not MLK’s.
  • I remember watching the Watergate hearings on TV after school, and enjoying it. 
  • I remember staying up late to watch the 1972 Republican convention, and listening to the crowd chant “4 more years!” for Nixon.
  • I remember the 1968 Presidential election.  I wanted Nixon but the rest of my family wanted Humphrey.  I think that was the last Republican candidate for President I ever supported.
  • I remember that our school was a nuclear fallout shelter, and I remember practicing nuclear preparedness drills.  Heads down, sitting in the hallway – like that would save us.
  • I remember our elementary school teachers rolling TVs into the classroom (black and white of course) so we could watch Apollo missions in progress during school hours.
Other Cultural Touchstones
  • I remember riding my bike everywhere, rarely with permission from an adult.
  • I remember when Sesame Street debuted on PBS.
  • I remember seeing The Dirty Dozen in a drive in movie theater with my family.  Pretty sure I fell asleep before it ended.  It was a double feature.
  • I remember that we owned one of those vibrating belt that supposedly would shaking the weight right off of you.  Jack LaLanne must have been too hard to follow (although I did watch his program as a kid).
  • I remember milk being delivered to the front door, twice per week.
  • I remember when color TV was what the rich families had.  I remember when cable was a futuristic fantasy to a kid who had rabbit ear antennae wrapped in tin foil for improved reception on his 19” Magnavox in the kitchen.
  • I remember when copy machines dispensed that curly thermal paper.  Copy machines, not fax machines.
  • I remember that cars only had lap belts.  We never used them, but cars did have them.
What I don’t really remember is growing old.  Guess that hasn’t happened yet.  I’ve got a few more days.

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