1974 – Paddles and a New Course

Saturday October 13, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized

Jane Ann McLachlan had this great idea for a blog challenge for the month of October to do one day for each of the first 25 years of your life.  This is the 11th installment. 

In 1974 the Dow closes at 616  
Inflation was at 11.3%, it has doubled in consecutive years
Average cost of a new house: $34,900
Average income: $13,900
Gasoline: $0.55 a gallon, back up fifteen cents
Movie ticket: $1.50

Hugo for best SF Novel goes to Arthur C. Clarke for Rendezvous with Rama.

The Loch Ness Monster is photographed.

Six Million Dollar Man premieres.  I remember watching this every week with my Dad and brother.  The Rockford Files also started this year, and it was one of the few shows I ever remember my Dad saying he liked.

Gold goes from a record high of $121.25 an ounce to $197 by April.  In August congress authorized citizens to own gold.  I guess I never realized we didn’t always have the right to own gold.

The Streak by Ray Stevens hits #1. Streaking was a thing back then.  I still don’t get it.

The Watergate Grand jury concludes that Nixon is involved in the cover-up. He resigns rather than be impeached.

The Man with the Golden Gun premieres and my Mom took my brother and me to this, our first James Bond movie.  Awesome is not a big enough word to describe it.

I started 5th Grade.  Mr. Hamilton is a New York native and he had a different style of teaching than any I had been accustomed to before.  He was loud and ruled the classroom with an iron fist.  He expected us to do our homework and be well-mannered in class.  If he asked you to do something he expected it done, and right now.  His style of teaching would get him fired today but he turned my academic life around.  He seemed larger than life and I was literally afraid of not having my homework done. 

I distinctly recall one episode where one of the students was having a very hard time with his math homework and had even enlisted the help of his older sister and it was still wrong.  Mr. Hamilton was flabbergasted, but Scott Anderson started laughing at his tirade.  Big mistake.  We used the one piece metal desks with a wood top, and Mr. Hamilton kicked Scott’s desk over, with Scott in it, for laughing at the other student.  Holy Crap!  I mean he launched it! As far as I know nothing ever happened to him for doing that, and in fact Scott’s mother ended up substitute teaching for Mr. Hamilton when he was out.  So I guess she was cool with it.

He had a huge paddle that he wielded like a broadsword.  If you got out of line, you got whacked.  I was arm-wrestling with another student on our break time, but when break ended we were still locked in an epic battle and neither of us was giving in, until suddenly we were both grabbed by the shoulder and put into the leaning position against the back counter to be paddled for not getting back to our seats on time.

I was a lousy student until I had him for a teacher.  I went from below average grades to As.  He changed my life.  I know I would not be where I am now if not for him.  His style was unorthodox and would not be tolerated by today’s standards but he demanded perfection and his students performed.  I went back several years later to see him and was surprised to find that I towered over him.  He was maybe 5’ 4”, but my God, he seemed so much bigger when I was 10.

Clear Ether!

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