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What was it like "back then"?

Sometimes it seems many adults forget that people my age and younger are too young to remember the Gulf War, or the fall of the Berlin Wall. To me, and those about my age, segregation has always been illegal; Johnny Carson was never on Late Night; and the Russians have always been our allies. We hadn't even been born yet around the time of Vietnam, or the Moon landing, or the Cuban missile crisis, etc. I've always wondered: what was it like "back then"?

My Dad is 60, so he lived through all of those events. He always tells me about what it was like when Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. He told me that at the time he had just had dental surgery and was lying on a hospital bed watching the TV. In the bed beside him lay an older black gentleman with a grey, scraggly beard. Then the news came on the TV that MLK had been killed. My Dad looked over and saw a single tear roll down the man's face. My Dad said it had a very big impact on him for the rest of his life.

For those of you who have seen more than I, what was it like? Where were you when we landed on the Moon? Hell, at that time, I was just a bunch of molecules waiting to come together, I suppose. Were you scared during the Cuban missile crisis--did you think the world might end? What was going through your mind when JFK was shot?

Share your wisdom, tell me some stories! :)
 

No*s

Captain Obvious
Excellent thread Spinks.

I may be old enough to remember Carson, the Wall, and the Gulf War, but not really old enough to remember it with substance. I can't wait to read the posts.
 

jewscout

Religious Zionist
i'm not that old but i can remember back when germany was 2 states and russia was still the Soviet Union. I can remember being a kid and watching the news when the wall went down.
 

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
I was at the Los Angeles office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when Kennedy was shot. Within weeks of that date, an aquaintance and I were being evicted from a Bakersville restaurant because she was Black and I wasn't. I marvel at the relatively easy diversity I see all around me today. Progress is painfully slow, but there has been progress.
 

FyreBrigidIce

Returning Noob
I remember when I was in Elementary school, all our classes watched the space shuttle lift off and explode into space. I can not remember the name of the shuttle though, I think it started with a "C".

I was extremely happy when the Berlin Wall came down. I was a teenager then and I was always raised to believe and support the rights of all humans and I hated the fact that family members in other countries were separated without their consent.

I was 5 years old when MTV first launched and I always hoped that our cable company would provide it but they never did. I had to wait until I was in foster care to see what the hype about MTV was about. That was when it was all videos.

I also remember the first computers available for use other than at work were Commadore 64 and Texas Instrument. The first video game system that I remember was Atari.

I may be wrong on some of these so for those that remember the details better please correct my mistakes.

My first paycheck was when I was 15 and minimum wage was only $4.25 an hour.

WOW, I am only going on 30 next month but this made me feel OLD!!! I am gald that I was around to witness the good things.


FBI
 

Pah

Uber all member
I was in a transit barracks in Turkey when JKF was shot - I was shocked and empty.

When the Berlin Wall was falling, I belonged to a neighborhood table (Stamptish) at our local pub. I can remember tears from me and some of my German friends at being united with brothers. I especially was overcome emotionally when watching German TV and seeing the wall topped by the West Berliners and the sledges being wielded. It was really coming down and a cold war was really over. I didn't realize how much living under the threat of mutual destruction affected me until I was free of it.

I was ambigious during Viet Nam. I hated the war, I hated how civilians conducted it, I hated how many blacks served way out of proportion to our country's population. But when the B52 bombing of Hanoi was going on, I was in the basement bowels of SAC headquarters and joyfully followed every bombing wave with a patriatism that took my breath away.

Segregation was what brought me out of the family tradition of Republican politics and it became easier to recognize where rights of other minorities were being suppressed. But I did some work (as a 12 year old) at a Nixon fund raiser and feared the end of the world when JFK was elected. I've grown since then.

I was in Japan in a bus getting ready to enjoy a paid holiday with the workers of the bar I frequented when the "Eagle landed" It was more pride than anything else.

I had just finished my training when the Cuban missile crisis came and was going to be stationed in Turkey where "missiles were installed in mosques". I was a bit concerned. My duties in Turkey were to listen to Russian communications and plot radar installations. One night we had a "maybe" bomber (it had the radar signature) concurrent with the intercepted Russian Air Control Traffic. The aircraft, in both intercepts, had a heading directly toward out site. and, mysteriously, the signal went down in both intercepts. There were some tense moments.


Added: The minimum wage when I had my first job was $1.00. When it went to $1.10, I was notified by my boss who also said I wasn't worth it.
 
Deut said:
Within weeks of that date, an aquaintance and I were being evicted from a Bakersville restaurant because she was Black and I wasn't.
I can't even imagine.

FYI said:
I remember when I was in Elementary school, all our classes watched the space shuttle lift off and explode into space. I can not remember the name of the shuttle though, I think it started with a "C".
You must be referring to the Challenger spacecraft. I've seen the footage...it must have been quite shocking.

pah said:
I especially was overcome emotionally when watching German TV and seeing the wall topped by the West Berliners and the sledges being wielded. It was really coming down and a cold war was really over. I didn't realize how much living under the threat of mutual destruction affected me until I was free of it.
I've seen some of that footage on the History Channel. I don't remember Germany being anything other than one, unified democracy.


To all those who have shared some of their experience, thanks. Please, I want to hear more stories, if you don't mind. :)
 

No*s

Captain Obvious
Mr_Spinkles said:
You must be referring to the Challenger spacecraft. I've seen the footage...it must have been quite shocking.

That's one I can actually remember rather well. I was nearly obsessed with space at the time and was a little kid. I found out about it that night...and I still remember that :(.
 

No*s

Captain Obvious
Deut. 32.8 said:
I was at the Los Angeles office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when Kennedy was shot. Within weeks of that date, an aquaintance and I were being evicted from a Bakersville restaurant because she was Black and I wasn't. I marvel at the relatively easy diversity I see all around me today. Progress is painfully slow, but there has been progress.

What were you able to do about it?
 

Lightkeeper

Well-Known Member
I don't think people's basic feelings have changed that much. I wasn't around when the Titanic snk, but I can very definitely feel the horror of it. I think you can imagine what people felt at every incident. 9/11 and the recent Tsunami are probably the two most horrific incidences I have lived through. Right now is back then tomorrow and history is happening every day. I think people are reacting now the way they did in the past.
 

Faust

Active Member
HE he he...

Sprinkles I love this post! Ive just figured out that Duet. and Pah are older than I am.
However I do remember very well that when I was a kid Doctors still made house calls.
All of the events that have been mentioned I watched on Tv, though I was a father myself when the wall came down.
When I was growing up we grew most of our own vegetables and hunted and fished for a good deal of our meat. Dick, Jane, Betty, Spot, and bunny were well established first friends when I started first grade.
I remember Woodstock! I saw on the news," girls" getting out of sleeping bags BUTT NAKED!!!!! Ah the summer of love! If I could have figured out how to strap enough gas and peanut butter to the mini-bike I might have tried getting there.( That was my plan.)
Drugs were becoming main stream, the cool teachers had long hair (guys,) (the cool lady teachers wore as close to mini-skirts as they could get away with). Hair was a hit musical, as well as Jesus Christ Superstar.
My first vehicle was a 1961 Ford Econoline Van with a lot of miles that I got as payment from my brother in law for helping him to remodel/rebuild their first house,one of my favorite teachers called it "the rolling den of iniquity". HE he he .
Aah but listen how I go on. Sorry guys, Sprinks, I have enjoyed this stroll down memory lane.
Faust.
 

huajiro

Well-Known Member
I remember when Now and Laters came out.....when Abba was popular....when Michael Jackson started....when Carter was President.....the first VCR.....Atari.......plaid....bell bottoms....wow, I am old!!!!!!!
 

Scuba Pete

Le plongeur avec attitude...
I was in grade school when JFK was shot. We were all ordered to get under our desk until they were certain no missles were coming from Havana (I lived in Florida).

I watched EVERY SINGLE MOON SHOT. I had models of the orbiter, lunar module and capsule. I stayed home from school during the moon landing and watched in vibrant black and white as we first stepped on the moon. I have watched most of the shuttle launchings including Challenger. I have since dove on one of the last remaining pieces of that catastrophe, about 50 miles off of Cape Canaveral. Part of a wing in about 160 ft of water.

I got to hear MLK shortly before his death as he addressed a PACKED little church in Jacksonville. He referred to my mother and me as the "blue eyed sister and blonde haired brother". I shook his hand as I left the building. I don't remember this as clearly as my mother. I was the ONLY white in my Junior High. By some quirk, I was also elected class president two years in a row (I stuck out like a sore thumb). We were the "Carver Jr High Bears" and I was dubbed the "Polar Bear". Half way through my first year, they integrated the teachers (my mom had already been there several years which is why I was there). Half way through my second year (8th grade) they integrated students. By yet another quirk, I became the Student Council President by getting over 90% of the vote. At the time, my mother was the only white elected secretary for the local or state chapter of the NAACP in the nation. That might still stand. In 1974 the ACLU used my name as a plaintiff against Bibles being distributed in local schools. When I went to High School, I went to my local school which was predominately white. I was not elected for anything in High School. :D I not only got to see anti-war protests but was a regular at them. Our phone was tapped. I cheered when Nixon stepped down.

In 1972 the first calculators came out. In 1974 I took my first computer science class... on programable calculators (Wang). We programmed using Base 2. The first computer I worked with was the "Main Frame" at the UofF when I took a class in FORTRAN during my Freshman year.
 

Ceridwen018

Well-Known Member
All of these stories are fascinating! I have an insatiable desire for more. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has shared so far, and I hope more are on the way. :)
 

Faust

Active Member
I stayed home from school during the moon landing and watched in vibrant black and white as we first stepped on the moon.
Wow NetDoc! I remember our first TV. It looked like a big radio and had a screen about 5 by 5! What a hoot! UHF was like the newest enovation! Colour was a dream on the horizon.
Look at what we take for granted now, I talk to people all over the world on this machine I hardly understand in the blink of an eye! And it seems like yesterday that AM radio was the only thing we could pick up.
Faust.
 

Jayhawker Soule

-- untitled --
Premium Member
No*s said:
What were you able to do about it?
Nothing. Picket lines were thrown up, but there was little or no support. Since most of us were from the LA area, the last thing we wanted was to risk arrest.

Back then, demonstrations were often small and tentative. It was common to have people drive by and throw garbage at you, and even more common to be spat at and called niger or niger-lover. If you were lucky, the police would intervene before things got too nasty. And this was in Southern California - nothing compared to what the folks in SCLC & SNCC put up with in the South.

I can remember keeping an LA Times picture of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in my wallet for many, many months. We were shocked when JFK was killed, but we cried when those three bodies were found.
 

fromthe heart

Well-Known Member
huajiro said:
I remember when Now and Laters came out.....when Abba was popular....when Michael Jackson started....when Carter was President.....the first VCR.....Atari.......plaid....bell bottoms....wow, I am old!!!!!!!
Honey...don't feel old, My first child was born the same year as you. I'll get back to all I've lived through if this is still up tomorrow...lol:)
 

½ Sane

"I'm a mess"
I was raised on a farm. I remember not having a TV. I remember getting a TV and breaking it when I rolled it out on the back porch to get better reception. It was toast. :biglaugh: I remember my segregated elementary school. I remember when a bottle of Coca Cola was a major treat to get. I remember hunting and growing our own food. Oh, I remember the Velociraptors that lived in the woods. Those suckers rocked. :jam:
 

No*s

Captain Obvious
Deut. 32.8 said:
Nothing. Picket lines were thrown up, but there was little or no support. Since most of us were from the LA area, the last thing we wanted was to risk arrest.

Back then, demonstrations were often small and tentative. It was common to have people drive by and throw garbage at you, and even more common to be spat at and called niger or niger-lover. If you were lucky, the police would intervene before things got too nasty. And this was in Southern California - nothing compared to what the folks in SCLC & SNCC put up with in the South.

I can remember keeping an LA Times picture of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in my wallet for many, many months. We were shocked when JFK was killed, but we cried when those three bodies were found.

I'm still out of frubals, or I would frubal you. It takes courage to stand when not many will stand with you. Thank you for the story. I like to hear things like that.
 

Pah

Uber all member
½ Sane said:
..I remember not having a TV.
I was luckier. My family had a TV when I was about 8. Given my age, that means that the TV was black and white, had a small screen and a magnifying glass in front of it. TV stations signed off sometime at night with the National Anthem and resumed broadcasting just before noon time. I remember test patterns before shows came on. But the one show I remember from that time was a news broadcast. It consisted of a rolling script that one had to read and "talked" about the Korean War. (I came home from school for lunch) I guess it was a precursor to CNN. I don't remember the details.
 
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