Fireflies & Laserbeams

1968 – Wars, Assassinations, an Election and a Bike

Friday October 5, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments

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 5th installment.  Today is my birthday, so be gentle.

In 1968 the Dow closes at 943
Inflation was at 4.27%
Average cost of a new house: $14,950
Average income: $7850
Gasoline: $0.34 a gallon
Movie ticket: $1.50
Federal Debt $368.7 Billion

1968 is a very turbulent year.  Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are assassinated, and the Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam, effectively turning the tide in favor of the North.

The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia to put down revolution there.

Anti-Vietnam War protests go on throughout the western world.  The year is all about Vietnam and the Presidential election in the fall, which sees Richard Nixon elected.  Peace talks for Vietnam are started in Paris.

Olympics were held that year, both summer and winter.

2001: A Space Odyssey premieres.  So does the first Planet of the Apes movie.  60 Minutes begins its reign.

Apollo 7 launches and puts the first humans around the moon.

I turn four and remember watching the evening news and it was so dark and dreary.  They used a black background and talked about the War every night.  In contrast, I also remember the Apollo 7 launch, making for a strange dichotomy.  The rocket launch was crazy.  I recall my mother doing laundry and using the ironing board in our TV room as the rocket launched.  We were sending people to the moon for crying out loud!

My wife was born, making it a banner year despite all the nasty things that happened.  Personally, it was a big year for my physical and mental development.  From this time forward I can pretty much remember things that happened to me.  I got a little green bike with training wheels for my birthday that year and I was determined to learn to ride it.  I had the training wheels off in no time and taught myself to ride by coasting down our steep driveway.   I got a full-sized bike for Christmas, less than three months later, because my Dad told me if I learned to ride without the training wheels he would get me one.  I remember going down that hill time after time, falling over and pushing the bike back up the hill until I got it right.  It was a big deal.  The following spring I taught a lot of the kids in my neighborhood how to ride and we were all riding that summer.

Clear Ether!

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1967 – Hazy Memories

Thursday October 4, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments

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 4th installment.  BTW, Falling For Fiction is critiquing my Pitch for Clear Ether over on their website today if you want to take a peak.
In 1967 the Dow closes at 905
Inflation was at 2.78%
Average cost of a new house: $14,250
Average income: $7300
Gasoline: $0.33 a gallon
Movie ticket: $1.25
Rolling Stone magazine is first published.
Six Day War, Egypt attacks Israel.  Israel defeats Egypt and gains more territory.
Interracial Marriage declared constitutional.  Despite this, Love is a Many Splendored Thing debuts as a daytime Soap, the first to include interracial marriage, but CBS censors find it too controversial.
China enters the nuclear community.  This year will find them at odds with the Soviet Union and they come very close to having a shooting war.  I’m not sure I was ever aware of just how close.
Vietnam protests are all over and becoming even more prevalent, as our troops numbers continue to increase.
Apollo 1 is destroyed on the launch pad in a test, killing three astronauts, including Gus Grissom, whom our airbase is named after. 
The Pocket Calculator invented by Texas Instruments.  Pulsars are discovered.  The term “Black Hole” is coined by John Wheeler.
The first Super Bowl is held.  Green Bay defeats the Kansas City Chiefs.
Clint Eastwood makes his first spaghetti western, A Fistful of Dollars.
Elvis marries Priscilla.
Evel Knievel makes a big jump and then has a big crash, catching national attention.   He will ride his fame for a few more years, and eventually I will get a toy motorcycle that you can rev up and jump with his name on it.
Those were happy years for me and my little brother.  Our family was still whole, but my Dad’s business was tanking and it was putting pressure on their marriage.  I was oblivious to that at the time. 
I remember my dad having a collision coming off of the Patrick Street Bridge with all of us in the car.  He had a red 1964 GTO.  So sad.  It was only a minor collision, nobody got hurt, but it put a nice dent in the front quarter panel. 
My dad was a muscle car guy when he was young.  He started working in a garage and pumping gas when he was in his teens.  After buying his first car, he modified the engine and used to race on the weekends.  I never knew that guy, by the time I was old enough to learn anything about cars he had no interest in teaching me.  He was an executive by then.
Dad joined the Navy at 17 to get into WWII, and learned diesel mechanics.  When he got out, he got hired on as a mechanic with a new company that was selling diesel engines.  He was in on the ground floor and it grew to cover five states.  He worked his way up to VP, without a college education, pretty impressive.  But, then he quit that job to start a lending company with a buddy.  I was born shortly after that.   I remember visiting my Dad where he worked in downtown Charleston, West Virginia.  Unfortunately, they weren’t able to grow fast enough and after a few years he ended up going back to work for the diesel company at a lower position.  He never made it back to VP.  But I’m proud that he took a shot, even though it didn’t pan out. 
Everyone should have the nuts to take a chance on making it big at least once.  I keep telling my kids to find what they are passionate about and follow their dreams.  I’m trying to live up to that advice.
Clear Ether!

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1966 – I Turn Two (Not a baseball analogy)

Wednesday October 3, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments

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 3rd installment.
In 1966 the Dow hit a high of 995 but closes at 785
Inflation was at 3.01%
Average cost of a new house: $14,200
Average income: $6900
Gasoline: $0.32 a gallon
Movie ticket: $1.25
I’m two and I have a little brother now that is one.  This year is marked by increasing troop numbers in Vietnam and increasing protests across the country.
Rock’em Sock’em Robots are introduced.  I didn’t get one just yet, but I would eventually.  Great toy!
Soviets crash a rocket into Venus and have the first soft landing on the moon, unmanned.
Color television sets are becoming more popular.   There is a lot of great television shows that start this year.  Star Trek, Batman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Monkeys, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and Dark Shadows.  Also, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas airs for the first time.  BBC's Dr. Who has it's first new Doctor, marking the first of many generation changes.
I have memories of moving into our new house where I spent the next 15 years of my life and that my mother still lives in.  It was right up the hill from my mother’s parents.  My grandfather built it.  They only move maybe 300 yards from the street below to the street above where my mother grew up. 
The first time I was there the stairs to the walkout basement had no horizontal pieces, so I had to be carried down.  There was a mud room, literally, no floor.   It stands out for these two reasons.  I have memories of watching our black and white television as a family when my parents were still married to each other.  We always watched Laugh-in together, of all things. 
I think my mother is SOOOO ready to move off of that hill.  It is a pain in the winter, but the road dead ends on the top of the hill maybe two more miles as it winds, but it was a great place to grow up.  On the back side of that hill it was wild forest and it opened into a pretty good sized city park where we spent a lot of time exploring, but that was still years away.  My world is still very small in 1966.
Clear Ether!

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1965 – I turn one

Tuesday October 2, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments

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 year two.

In 1965 the Dow closed the year at 969
Inflation was at 1.59%
Average cost of a new house: $13,600
Average income: $6450
Gasoline: $0.31 a gallon
Movie ticket: $1.25

The Voting Rights Act becomes law, guaranteeing African-Americans the right to vote.

World’s 1st Skateboard Championship was held in California.  They just became a fad in 1950s and actually 1965 marks a low point in skateboarding, but even so, the 1st championships were held and even televised on ABC.  It wasn’t until the early 70s that I finally got one of these, costing several layers of skin.

The St Louis Arch is completed.

Medicare is created.

Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to walk in space.
Major Edward H. White II becomes the second human to walk in space during the flight of Gemini 4.
Soviet Lunar 7 crashes on the moon.

The mini skirt debuts.

Frank Herbert’s Dune is released.  Damn, I had no idea it was this old.  Great book, one of the all-time classics in Science Fiction.

The debut of Lost in Space.

The Astrodome opens.

Rolling Stones release “Satisfaction.”  Bob Dylan releases “Like a rolling Stone.”  Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds.

J K Rowling was born.
My brother was born.  I have a half-brother from my dad’s first marriage that I didn’t grow up with, but only one sibling from both of my parents.  I have a very vague recollection of him coming home from the hospital as that was a banner day in the household.  I was barely one, and it is the only memory I have from that year.  He is almost exactly one year younger than me, and he has always been a better brother to me than I was to him.  We were very close when we were young, prior to me going off to Junior High school.  We fought occasionally but never hit above the neck (until much later, two fist fights in High school) Somewhere around the age of 12 I realized that I pretty much took for granted that my little brother always did everything I asked him to do and it was an epiphany to me.  I released him from his self-appointed obligation and from that point forward we slowly drifted apart.  When I went off to Junior High my circle of friends changed and I didn’t really want him hanging around us.  In hindsight, it’s one of the things I wish I could change about my life.   The following year he went to the same school and fell in with a rougher crowd and the gulf between us widened.  It has never been an insurmountable gulf, we always communicated, and I never stopped loving him, but we just didn’t hang out anymore, at least it became a rare event.  We shared a bedroom into tweener age, not because we didn’t have space but because he wanted to share a room with his big brother.  I see that now with my own boys, the younger sort of idolizes his big brother who is six years older.  Eventually I managed to get him out into his own room.  It may have been necessary for teenage boys to inevitably require that kind of privacy, but again on hindsight I regret pushing him away.  When we were kids he never got me in trouble even if he had something on me.  Wish I could say the same, I’m sure I got him in trouble more than once, for small stuff.  Never big stuff though, I had his back for the bigger things, but I could be petty as a kid. 

Our lives have been on a bit of a parallel course with both of us going off to be in the military at young ages, but I was commissioned at 21 and my brother waited too long to get his degree to make that an option.   He has a degree in computer science now and has a great job.  I love and respect him, but we are very different both outer appearance and in the things we like.  He took after my father, dark complexion and dark eyes.  He never had any trouble getting the interest of attractive women. Me?  I took after my mom’s side, lighter skin, freckles and light colored hair with hazel eyes.  I always had to work a little harder it seemed to me to catch the eye of an attractive lady.  Don’t ask me how I landed my wife, I still haven’t figured that one out.  I very much overachieved, but at the age of one none of that was on my mind.

You can see the year I was born here.

Clear Ether!

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1964 – Birth of a Novelist

Monday October 1, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments

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.  So here we go, this will be a tough challenge for me, I am normally lucky to do 25 blog entries in 6 months.  October is my birth month, so it seems fitting.  So here we go!

In 1964 the Dow closed the year at 874
Inflation was at 1.28%
Average cost of a new house: $13,050
Average income: $6000
Gasoline: $0.30 a gallon
Movie ticket: $1.25
Some cool things were born that year along with me, like the Ford Mustang.  I’ve always loved the Mustang.  I almost bought one this year.  I was on a Ford lot just this week and they just got a new Shelby GT convertible in Gotta Have it Green, and I about died.   It’s out of my price range but one can dream.  Ford is actually running a cool program where you customize a mustang and possibly win it. Mustang Customizer
The programming language BASIC was introduced for first time.  I actually learned this but it wasn’t until many years later, in the 70s.  I had a love of computing from a very early age.
The first VCR was introduced, even though most people had no idea what this was.  It probably cost as much as a car.
The Rolling Stones published their debut album and the Beatles came to America.   Some people think 1964 was one of the best years for music in the century.
Lyndon Johnson was elected President and Martin Luther King won the Nobel Prize this year.  Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight Boxing title.  Clay later changed his name to Muhammad Ali for those of you that didn’t know he wasn’t born with that name.  There were race riots in Harlem and Nelson Mandela went to prison that year.
Vietnam was just starting to heat up, and later that year the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution allowed Johnson to commit troops without Congressional approval.
The UK abolished the Death Penalty, and committed to build a tunnel with the French to go under the English Channel.  The Mods and Rockers fights broke out over the Whitsun Weekend in May, chronicled by The Who in their movie Quadraphenia.
Personally I don’t remember anything from this year. =P  I hadn't even had an inkling that I might write someday.
Clear Ether!

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