Think Back To The 60s

This week I want you to think back to the 1960s with me. If you were not around, you just may learn a thing or two about that era. If you lived through them, I hope they bring good memories.

A couple weeks ago a quiz show that I watch had all things from the 1960s as their questions. It sure got me to thinking. I lived through them in fact I graduated from high school in 1961. We had our sixtieth class, reunion a couple years ago. It was a treat to see old friends and acquaintances. My husband and I attended. He was a good sport although he knew no one. Of course, I attended his reunions as well so we were even. At first, I knew no one, but as the years passed and we attended together I got to know some of his friends. I think we are doing one this year to celebrate those turning 80.

I remember graduation like it was yesterday. I faced it joyfully, looking forward to going to college in the fall. Since college was near my hometown, I became a commuter. That was good and bad at the same time. I missed out on dorm life, but I had a car so I could go to the library anytime I wanted.

I was doing my student teaching when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot. I remember being in a classroom and hearing the news. We were dismissed early that day. The president did not make it. After, we all watched the funeral procession commiserating on his death and what that would mean to the country.

Who can forget the image of his small son saluting the casket as he watched near his mother’s side? His sister was a little older, but she was also on hand.

Then, there was the Vietnam war. No one wanted to be in that war, but it was the reality of the day. People I knew graduated from college and entered the war. We lost at least one classmate – maybe more – I am really not sure about that.

Our high school class chose to gather after four years knowing the college graduates would be taking off for jobs and those who entered the service would be ending their stint there.

Life was crazy then. The “Flower People” dressed in strange outfits. They lived in communes advocating “free love”. Woodstock took place with a lot of people on drugs and living in cars.

I was married in the sixties. I was a traditionalist. My children were a product of the late sixties. In those days fathers were not allowed in the delivery room. They waited until the baby was born, then were allowed in. I recall that I was knitting a sweater as a Christmas present for my husband. He forgot to give it to the nurse so he took some good-natured kidding about having his knitting with him. Thank goodness our son did not take long to be born. I think he was back home to do the morning chores. He was a dairy farmer with a herd of cows to milk.

I guess I missed a lot of the craziness because of my age. I was consumed with being a new wife and a new mother. I was busy adjusting to life in the country.

I quit my job because at that time teachers were unable to be in a classroom past their fifth month of pregnancy. We knew we wanted two children so we got busy on his sister shortly after.

Living on a farm was very different from the way I grew up. We lived out so walking anywhere was out of the question. I drove to get groceries. I drove to get to church. I drove to the doctor for allergy shots. Living in the country was hard on my allergies.

We had an old television, a leftover from my apartment, that we watched the three channels on. Believe it or not, there were more good programs to watch in those days than there are today with the hundreds of things available. The sit-coms were funny. We watched “I Love Lucy”. In those days no one was allowed to be in bed together – a far cry from what we see today. Now days there are not only people in bed, but so much more. It is hard to find a program that is fit for children to watch these days. I mainly watch sports, the cooking channel, and the food channel but even some of those have questionable characters on them. Even the advertising is upsetting.

I would say that I survived the sixties. I did feel sorry for the men and women returning from the Vietnam War. They were not welcomed with open arms. There was a stigma that followed them.

This year with the Vietnam era wall coming to Erie hopefully those who participated found a sort of healing. They simply did their jobs.

For those of you reminiscing may your memories bring you comfort. May you be able to look back on them with favor and remember the good times.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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