Tuesday, July 06, 2004

In just a few weeks I will be turning Fifty, that's 50!

Fifty years have now passed. In a way it seems a bit hard to believe. I've seen a lot of changes in the past fifty years, but somehow it sure doesn't feel like fifty years. Actually, it's turning out to be quite a weird experience.

I grew up as an Air Force brat, but from age 6 to age 14, I lived on a rural farm in Arkansas next door to my mother's parents. Today I live just 35 miles or so from there but I've been fortunate to have seen many places along the way.

When I was growing up we had no indoor bathrooms. One of my earliest memories is the was a tall narrow outhouse that stood in the back yard. It was dark, smelly, and a haunt for spiders and wasps. I caused a major diaster one year when I was burning trash and burned down the toilet along with our old barn.

We didn't have a telephone in our house but when I was around 9 or so, my grandparents got a phone. It was on a party line and the phone rang every time anyone was calling any of the other two parties on the line but it had different rings. Grandma would get upset with us if we answered her phone at the wrong rings. So we'd sit there and wait for 3 long rings in a row before we could answer the phone for her. There were old ladies in the neighborhood who had nothing better to do than to listen in on all the phone calls.

Remember the stories of so-and-so's grandfather who had to walk a mile to school trudging through the snow? Well, I've been there and done that. Literally. At least we were lucky in that we lived that mile from a small town and a mostly modern school for the early 60's and there isn't that much snow during Arkansas winters.

I'm finding that I know more and more people who don't remember the Beatles or Kennedy's assassination or Huckleberry Hound or Saturday morning Tarzan and Sky King. I have heard it said that you're only as old as your attitude. I've always managed to find a variety of interesting things to occupy my mind and body. I'm finding out that not all of them were good.

I don’t have gray pubic hairs! Yet.

I'm now convinced that life is an ongoing lesson in humility.

Diet pills don't work. They just make me chew faster.

As I have heard it said, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. Sometimes you’re the seagull and sometimes the unsuspecting tourist. I carry a Kleenex for life’s unexpected moments.

In the year I was born,

The Salk vaccine for polio was discovered.

Ike proposed the interstate highway system.

The top song of '54 was "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Bill Haley and the Comets

Gasoline cost 21 sents a gallon

Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.03

Nobel Prize for Literature: Ernest Hemingway (US)

I grew up listening to such great music.

Shake Rattle and Roll Bill Haley & His Comets
Rock Around The Clock Bill Haley & His Comets
Unchained Melody by Les Baxter

Maybellene by Chuck Berry
Ain't That A Shame by Fats Domino
Only You by The Platters
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters
My Happiness by Connie Francis

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones
Yesterday, The Beatles

The House Of The Rising Sun, The Animals
Oh, Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, The Tokens
Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix Experience
Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones
Runaway, Del Shannon
I Heard It Through The Gravevine, Marvin Gaye
Leaving On A Jet Plane, Peter, Paul & Mary
Wild Thing, The Troggs
Louie Louie, The Kingsmen
She's Not There, The Zombies

I also grew up loving music by such greats as Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat And Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Sha-Na-Na, Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Simon and Garfunkel.

I heard "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night for the first time when I was dating the lad who would become my husband.

I remember John F. Kennedy being elected as President of the U.S. and remember his assination in November 1963. I watched the news as John Glenn orbited the Earth and watched it again as three Apollo astronauts—Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee— were killed in spacecraft fire during simulated launch.

I watched the Beatles when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, the news when it was announced in 1968 that Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in Los Angeles hotel after winning California primary.

I remember the Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins—take man's first walk on moon.

I've raised 3 children to adulthood and have seen the family grow by 7 as they have their own children. I've mourned the deaths of my grandparents, my mother, my brother, and two nephews and have outlived 3 good friends.

I don't remember ever being without responsibility for someone. I suppose this is true of anyone with younger brothers and sisters though.

I was here at the beginning of this great electronic age we now live in and have been amazed at it's progression. I stand in awe over the friendships that it's offered me from all over the world.

I could write pages and pages about the things I've seen and learned over the past 50 years but I fear it would in no way compare to the things seen and learned by my parents and grandparents who worked so hard for the things I've enjoyed over the first 50 years of my lifetime.

The only problem I have with turning 50 is the fact that I'll be HALF A CENTURY OLD! That's considered an antique isn't it?