Wednesday, December 30, 2009

January 1, 1960

The 1960s (which admittedly started in 1961) saw, in part:

• The interstate highway system;
• The introduction of the first production sports car capable of sustained speeds of 100 miles per hour (okay, that was ’59 – the TR-3a);
• Televised presidential debates;
• The inauguration of the country’s first non-Protestant president (outside of Thomas Jefferson);
• Missiles in Cuba;
• The British Invasion;
• The Mustang;
• The “Dream” and the angst of Civil Rights for more people;
• The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mayberry and a talking horse;
• The loss of our country’s innocence in 1963;
• Bond, James Bond;
• The Great Society and, concurrently, the Vietnam War;
• Wide spread acquisition of color TV;
• Marijuana, free love and the Haight;
• Two more daggers to the heart of our innocence;
• The Chicago Seven;
• Classmates and contemporaries at war on foreign soil – some returning, some returning changed, some not returning;
• The “most trusted man in America;”
• Human beings on the surface of the moon.

December 31, 1969, I no longer look at the night sky in wonder. We’d conquered the heavens, just not the gremlins (introduced in April of 1970, so the AMC actually counts) here on earth. The December, 1959 view of a skyward-looking, cold-footed eight-year-old that “everything would remain just about the same” proved to be as far from reality as the thought that God might be looking down and winking at him from behind a distant star.

Fifty years later, we face the ‘tens of the next century and this one thing is certain: I somewhere, sometime returned to looking at the night sky with wonder.

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