Sister and I were just talking the other day about how much we have seen and lived through during our lifetime. We both recalled crawling under our desks at school during practice air raid drills. Do you remember putting your hands around the back of your neck, and being under your school desk, until the coast was clear? They actually had what was called air raid sirens at the corner of the street we lived on.
On a specific day of the week they would sound them off, just as a test. Even the television stations had practice emergency signals. It was important that you had a battery powered radio in your home, in order to get the latest updates on whatever might me attacking our country.
We talked about how our television set had tubes inside. If something went wrong with the television, my dad would take the back off it and look for a burned out tube. The Speedy Mart down the street had a tube tester, so you could check and replace them, if needed. Television ended right after dinner. The few channels there were just showed test patterns after that.
We remember where we were and what we were doing when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I was actually watching the speech when brother Robert Kennedy lost his life. We saw the Million Man March of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sadly, we also saw his life ended. We remember Woodstock and how mellow all the people remained in spite of the fact that there was over 1 million people who did not know one another.(The pot smoking may have had a little something to do with that.)
We remember when the first black student came to our junior high school. I even remember her name. We saw Governor Wallace on television, stand outside a school with his arms folded to protest the admission of black students. We remember watching the updates of the Vietnam War on the nightly news.
The first time we heard the word transgender it was about a tennis player named Renee Richards. Errol Flynn was rumored to be gay, but no one knew for sure. After Rock Hudson passed away as well as Liberace, the truth came out about them. That was big news for everyone.
I sat with my parents in front of the television and watched the first moon landing. I remember when the flag was planted, and the now famous words were spoken. Some years later I watched from a television at work and was horrified to see a spacecraft explode just seconds after takeoff.
I remember when Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren were considered to be the most beautiful women in the world. When Elvis Presley made his first television appearance, and they did not show the bottom half of the screen. His hip gyrations were considered somewhat obscene.
We remember when The Beatles made their first appearance on American television. How funny they looked with the weird haircuts. We remember when Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz slept in separate beds when filming “I Love Lucy.” Even though they were married! We lived through the lives and deaths of many, many famous people whose names may not mean anything to future generations.
It would seem that our generation saw events of monumental significance. Some good things and many bad. I was at home packing to move when I watched as the second plane hit the Twin Towers on Sept. 11.
On a more positive note, we saw an African-American family in the White House. The legalization of same sex marriage and at least two Triple Crown winners in horse racing.
We saw women become police officers, firefighters, and maybe even president. We saw single parent adoptions, fair housing laws, and, last but not least, the forming of the Innocence Project, which has saved many people from spending their lives in prison for things they did not do.
All in all, it has been a pretty good ride thus far. I cannot imagine what lies in store for my great-granddaughter. You may think you have "seen it all" but I still hope the best is yet to come.