Fireflies & Laserbeams

1971 – The Beginning of the End

Wednesday October 10, 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 8th installment. 

In 1971 the Dow closes at 890
Inflation was at 4.3%
Average cost of a new house: $25,250, up $10k and now $18k in two years
Average income: $10,600
Gasoline: $0.40 a gallon, up a nickel, 5 times larger than any previous year
Movie ticket: $1.50, at least this hasn’t changed

The Hugo for best Novel goes to Larry Niven for Ringworld.

Swiss women get the vote.

In February, the Brits switch to the decimal system officially.

Nixon takes the U.S. off of the gold standard.

National Public Radio starts broadcasting. I love NPR. You will not find a more diverse and obscure set of news articles anywhere else, plus the normal stuff.  The lean a little left, but they are journalists after all, and I don't go there for my political news.

All in the Family debuts, with the first ever toilet flushing on television.  It opened a lot of doors to taboo subjects.  Once that door was open it let in a lot of garbage as well and on hindsight may be the beginning of the end for a lot of values for our American culture. I’m not a prude but we slowly started down the slippery slope of showing our kids too much too soon in my opinion, sexualizing our society, and not for the better. Television is not to blame for all our ills. It's just one piece of a bigger puzzle.

The Manson family was caught in 1970 and sentenced to death in January of 1971.  I don’t know about you but that guy scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.  He was born in my home state and grew up in Atwater, CA, which was right next to Castle AFB.  I did a lot of my training there, and it seemed I could never escape the shadow of Manson.  He’s like a real life boogey man.

Jim Morrison dies in a car crash.

On a brighter note, Walt Disney World opens in Orlando.

Intel releases the world’s first microprocessor and Texas Instruments releases the first pocket calculator.  The first email and chat rooms appear, alongside the first floppy disks.  Astronauts from Apollo 15 ride on the moon in the lunar rover.

It also marked the end of my parent's nine year marriage.  My Dad just moved out one day. But he was close by at first, right next to my school. I didn't understand what was going on for a long time.  It is the beginning of the years single parenting by my Mother, the secretary.  My Dad had us on the weekends.  We split time for the next ten years before I went off to college.

I started second grade this year, I remember Mrs. Clark as young teacher and I liked her class.  We did a lot of self-study, which I loved.  I remember drawing spaceships in my quiet time with my friend Scott Anderson.  I also learned this poem:

“One Bright Day in the Middle of the night”

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A tongue-less man went to shout "hooray!"
And two lame men came to carry them away,
A paralyzed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the twice dead boys,
If you don't believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!
It is a folklore conglomeration and nobody is really sure who wrote it.  It has several variants floating around as well, but the first few verses still stuck with me to this day.  No telling what is going to stick in this pea brain.

Clear Ether!

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