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I do remember the 60's...

As we will hear all too often this week, everyone who was alive fifty years ago, on November 22, 1963, remembers where they were when they heard the news. (I was 11 years old.) No big deal. My parents can do that for December 7, 1941; younger folks here do that for the Challenger, or 9/11.

What about more pleasant there-I-was memories?

Late summer of 1965, my brother (in high school, three years older than me, and the unspoken arbiter of cool for me, though I would never admit it to him) and I are in the car with mom, going down Eight Mile Road (in Detroit), coming home from the dentist's office. (We had moved to Birmingham but still went to our old dentist in Harper Woods.) My brother makes us stop talking, to listen to the new Bob Dylan song that they're playing on the radio. It's strange. It's rock. It's long! I always thought Dylan's voice was weird but someone you couldn't not listen. And now he's singing with an actual rock-and-roll band. Ha! Like my older sister, I was an unrepentant folkie and sneered at rock and roll; but my brother was willing to accept Dylan with rock. The words puzzled me... did Dylan really mean to imply that he wanted to be a member of the Rolling Stones?

The first weekend of June, 1967, we were up at our summer cottage on Lake Huron, and my brother (he was 18, just graduated from Seaholm high school) had just bought the new Beatles album. It was a cold, rainy weekend. We spent a lot of time indoors, listening to that record on my sister's cheesy portable stereo system. (She was still away at college.) It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. And were The Beatles really changing their name to Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band? I was so confused. It was really rather frightening. But I wanted to hear it again...


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
Mine is the moon landing. I was two years nine months. My mom didn't believe that I remembered that she woke us up, but I remember being in my parents room in their bed with the ugly green headboard and watching on the black and white TV on their dresser.
Nov. 20th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
Just the other day I was telling the story of my first exposure to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - I was living in Israel and a friend played us a tape of a partial recording of the radio show. We immediately started asking around to try to find the rest of it!
Nov. 20th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC)
My mom was surprised that I remember the Kennedy assassination (or rather where we were when the news came through). When you're 4, having every adult in site (we were in a dept store) crying, including one's mother does tend to make an impression on you.

I also have very strong memories of the first time I heard some music. I was in my friend's orange Mustang driving down 28th St. in Grand Rapids when Heart's "Crazy on you" came on. We ditched our original plans in favor of going to the record store.
Nov. 21st, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
My brother took his first steps on Earth on the same day that Armstrong took his first steps on the moon.

The summer of '89 was the summer I did undergraduate research. I watched the Berlin Wall come down and the coverage of Tianamen Square on the junky TV in the run-down common room of the on-campus apartment they put us in. The six of us had banded together to buy dishtowels and a bathmat, and I felt so grown up. I also felt like the arc was surely bending towards justice, which these days I am not so certain of anymore...
Nov. 23rd, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
I think different parts of the world move at different, independent rates.
One of the aspects of "The Sixties" which did not make the cut in reification to myth was the speed. The Beatles went from "I want to Hold Your Hand" to Abbey Road in seven years. Altamont was four months after Woodstock. (One of the best novels ever to capture this is Joe Haldeman's 1968.)
But the U.S. in, say, 1987 was pretty much the same in 1992. The White House had changed party, but that happens. Europe, though!! A relatively tiny event was the 1990 Worldcon in the Netherlands, where fans from all over Europe met for the first time, and there were place names on badges like West Germany and East Germany.
Nov. 28th, 2013 06:19 am (UTC)
That's why the sixties were the decade of youth; things in our world changed as fast as we did ourselves...
Nov. 28th, 2013 06:18 am (UTC)
My sister chimes in to defend herself:

"If I knew how to respond to your blog, I would do it there, but I have to email instead...
How can you say that great stereo was cheesy when I got it for my 13th birthday along with my first album...Pat Boone, of course??!!

"Yikes, I am so embarrassed to admit I liked that music – never mind the record player that would be a valuable antique today if I only knew what happened to it!"
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )