1976 – Life Changing Events

Tuesday October 16, 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 13th installment. 

In 1976 the Dow closes at 1004
Inflation was at 5.75%
Average cost of a new house: $43,400
Average income: $16,000
Gasoline: $0.59 a gallon, back up fifteen cents
Movie ticket: $1.50

Hugo for best SF Novel goes to Joe Haldeman for The Forever War

My sixth grade class goes to Washington DC, via bus for our Patrol trip.  This marks the first time I am away from home by myself for any length of time.  It is an inspiring trip to the Nation’s Capital and we see all the memorials, the Capitol building, Monticello and the Smithsonian.

Frampton Comes Alive is released by Peter Frampton and goes platinum. I know it was big among many of my friends, but not with me.  I still didn’t really care much about music.  Mind boggling.

U.S. Bicentennial is celebrated.

NASA unveils the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Reds win the World Series again. Yay!

Jimmy Carter wins Presidential election.  Some say he was the “smartest” by IQ of any President we ever had.  He was a Naval Academy graduate after all.  But from all accounts he was a micromanager with too many pie-in-the-sky ideals.  Not the type of decisive leader the country needed and he was out in one term.

Apple is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Chuck Wendig is born.  I was going to release a second version of Wendigisms, but I’ll wait until this blog challenge is over.  The original Wendigisms is here.

Both my father and my mother remarried (different people) that year.  We attended both weddings, which were even in the same month.  That marriage took for both of them, as they are both still married.  I now had four sets of grandparents and new extended families.  It made them both happy, so it was a very good thing, and I love my step-parents. It wasn’t always easy navigating as a kid, but on the whole it was a gain.

That was the year I played Midget League Football.  I think it was actually called that back then.  I’m sure they’ve changed the name by now, since it’s not really politically correct in today’s world.  (I vehemently dislike political correctness)  Anyway, I had the same coach for football that I had for baseball, and as I said before, I wasn’t all that great at baseball, but football was another story altogether.  I think he was shocked at how skilled I was, despite my small stature.  We used to play “Kill the Quarterback” all the time in my neighborhood and I could run all day with the ball. I was the second fastest kid on the team; the fastest was lightning in a bottle, but stick thin.  His older brother ended up playing defensive back for my beloved Minnesota Vikings, so he had some good athletic genes. 

I loved playing football. Love, love, loved it.  Even practice.  Our team was horrible, but I didn’t care.  I found something that I really enjoyed and couldn’t wait for the following season. But, in the interim the city started a soccer league for the first time.  I went out for the team and my speed was a big plus, and I ended up playing center forward.  Our team was pretty good, but near the end of the season my left knee gave out.  I had a bone come out of place and I was unable to run for several years because of it. 

It was a course change for me.  No more football, no more sports, period. And that was all I cared about at the time.  To top it off I had started junior high school.  My focus switched to academics.  Bleh.  I had Mr. Hamilton for math and science, so I had been getting As in those classes, but now I got As in all my classes.  It put me on the path to become an Air Force Pilot. 

It would be several years before I was able to run again, but the speed never came back. It wasn’t meant to be, but I used to think about how different my life might have been if I had not injured my knee. It might have been a much sadder tale in the end.

On hindsight, that was a lot to deal with in one year, but I came through it mostly intact.

Clear Ether!

6 Responses

  1. Sounds like you had a heck of a 1976; that year I was in my 2nd year of marriage, had a part-time job at a hospital, and was trying to make it as a writer.

  2. Great post, Todd! Frampton Comes Alive is still a seminal album isn't it? Lovely to hear your feelings towards sport – very close to my own. I was never that good at football but got by, largely due to being fairly quick. Like you, I had my playing days ended by an ankle injury. I played for a few bad teams, but it is like a drug isn't it? You just need to get out there and do it!Keep it up!

  3. I preach chasing your dreams to my children, I'm glad you pursued your dream. It took me a really long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I know now. =)

  4. I love Frampton now. I could take it or leave it at the time, but I did know some of my friends were really into it.I agree with you about sport being a drug, but I just turned 48 and I think most of my sporting days are behind me. Last time 3 times I tired to play with the guys at work I ended up with two calf injuries and a knee injury. I always say getting older sucks but it beats the alternative. =)

  5. Even if you can see it as a good thing in the long run, it must have been devastating to have to stop the thing you most love doing, especially as a kid. I expect those marriages weren't too easy on you, either. What a year. Good for you for telling your kids to follow their dreams. So did I. And even harder, good on you for demonstrating it yourself!

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