Anniversaries, history, memories, thoughts on time
It's hard to believe, at least for some of us.
This particular year, at one time in my life, was a very long way away. Oh I could look at the numbers and know if I survived I would be 53 this year. I knew too when my first son was born he'd be 29 this year. But it seemed so far away. Yet here it is, now in the present time.
I have always been one who thinks a lot about the passage of time. I'm not sure everyone does that, but I do. On Saturday morning I was watching part of the Rose Parade and the announcers said officials had been concerned that the event would be rained on for the first time since 1955.
That made me think. I was three years old then and barely aware of the world around me. It also made me think about the anniversaries of things that will be commemorated this year.
It will be 60 years ago this year that the first atomic bomb test was done in New Mexico. It will also be the 60th anniversary of the bomb falling on Hiroshima.
This spring will be the 60th anniversary of the allies victory in Europe and in September it will be six decades since World War II ended. The veterans who fought that most important war in the history of our country are now dying at the rate of thousands per day. By the time 2006 rolls around, many of those special men and women won't be around for us to talk to any more, and our society will be that much poorer because of it.
This year too will be an important anniversary for my generation, the baby boomers. The first of us will turn 60; there will a lot of black balloons in offices and homes around the nation because of it. Those six decades of age will be an event that many who hatched rock and roll and the peace and love movement of the 1960's will have a hard time dealing with. Sure, many of the original rock stars of the 1950's are in their late 60's or early 70's already, but the vast majority of those that bought those icons records and went to their concerts are boomers.
For me personally, I will probably be attending my 35th high school reunion this year. When I, and hundreds of thousands of others graduated from high school in 1970, the world was a very different place from today. Computers were only owned by big companies and all of those machines had an IBM emblem on them. Toyotas and Nissans (then called Datsuns) were a joke. Subaru's were even worse. A college education almost guaranteed you a high paying job, while school counselors really downplayed going into technical fields such as electronics. Computer science programs existed only in select colleges and only "brainy" kids who wore pocket protectors wanted anything to do with that discipline.
We were in the middle of the Vietnam War and the country was vastly divided between young and old, not only over that issue but many more. A military uniform of any kind worn on a college campus could easily result in a disparaging remark toward the person wearing it or sometimes even worse. Alcohol wasn't considered a drug by most people and smoking was the norm among most of my friends.
I can remember working at a Chevron station in Midvale on graveyard shift when I began college in the fall of 1970. People would pull up to the pumps, look at the prices and drive away to find lower prices at another station. Gas was 24 cents a gallon (when not on sale) at our location but they could get it for as low as 19 cents at the Wiles station less than a half mile away on State Street. Of course I was only making $1.25 an hour working there too, but I hoped when I got out of college to be teaching high school or college and making much bigger money, maybe as much as $12,000 a year.
Yes things have changed. Some of those changes are for the better, usually much better. Others I'm not so sure of, but I won't say for the worse, because my perspective in time is so minuscule that I don't think I have the proper perspective to do so.
If you're under 40 you remember none of the things I am writing about, unless you got it from a book or a anecdote someone older relayed to you. However you have your own memories, which in a few years will be 35 years in the past as well.
I remember this shop teacher I had in high school was a real stickler for doing things right. His name was Mr. Poulson. I remember too, even though we were supposed to be in an electronics class, many days he would end up lecturing us on politics, semantics and philosophy. His passionate lectures became so popular that when we had class elections my senior year someone hung a banner over the main entrance coming in from the parking lot that said "Poulson for preacher."
That teacher also had sign on his wall that said 'Time will pass, will you." In 1970 I didn't really fully understand what that meant.
Now I do.