Forty years ago -- 08/11/09

The past forty years have gone by so quickly...


The big events of that year are very obvious. The two that I remember above all are the Apollo 11 Lunar landing and the Woodstock concert, but as I think about it, I keep recalling more and more memorable events. That year seems to have been particularly full of milestones. Let me list a few:
  • The Beatles gave their rooftop concert in London (their last public performance, I believe)
  • The Saturday Evening Post published its last issue. I had enjoyed reading it since I was a child and felt sad at its passing. (It has since been brought back but as a bimonthly with limited circulation, seeming mostly to be carrying nostalgia and health information for senior citizens.)
  • The Boeing 747 flew its maiden flight.
  • A drunken politician drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and left his female passenger to drown. He delayed for hours before reporting the incident in order to bring his blood alcohol level down within legal limits. His punishment is to have forty more years of wealth and power and to be fawned over by the media.
  • The Beatles release their Abbey Road album.
There were also a couple of firsts that, in retrospect, were pretty important:
  • The first Automatic Teller Machine in the United States was put into service. (Can you imagine not having ATMs?)
  • The first message was sent over ARPANET-- the precursor to the Internet -- although it would be 22 years before the birth of the WorldWideWeb and a quarter century before the release of Netscape..

I was a high school teacher (Fallsburg Central School District) living in Monticello, NY. Adam would mark his first birthday in September of 1969. I was also taking graduate courses at the SUNY college at New Paltz (an at times "interesting" fifty mile drive over the Shawangunk Mountains) and, the following year, would relocate to Binghamton, NY in an attempt (later abandoned) at a PhD.

Adam got to watch the Lunar landing. Oh, okay, so he was still short of being ten months old, but nevertheless I brought him into the living room and held him on my lap as that "giant leap for mankind" took place.

August brought the Woodstock Festival at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York, just a few miles from Monticello. Adam did not get to go to Woodstock (something that greatly annoyed him when he grew old enough to realize what he had missed -- even though he was just a baby at the time, he could have told people that he'd been there). Although I've made comments about it from time to time since I started this journal back in '96, I've never really posted anything in great detail. Well, the anniversary weekend is coming up... and I suppose I should give some thought to doing a bit of online memory dumping about it. You know, for historical purposes... Just doing my part as a living fossil.

Forty years!

Oh, and one other event from 1969 -- the first broadcast of Sesame Street. Adam got to see that also.

We're planning on a trip to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow -- even though the weather forecast has changed from "partly cloudy" to "mostly cloudy" with a 30 percent chance of thunder storms. (We = Nancy and me plus Jeremy and Jill and Eli.)

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