Monday, October 1, 2012

Time It Was

by Pa Rock
Time Traveler

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories;  They’re all that’s left you
Bookends Theme
By Paul Simon, 1968

Fifty years ago when I was fourteen, lots of important things were happening in the world, yet I was focused on things soon forgotten.

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that it was the 50th anniversary of the Beverly Hillbillies television show.  September was also the fiftieth anniversary of the first hit song by the Four Seasons, a falsetto tribute to a girl named Sherry.  Frankie Valli and the remnants of that wonderful rock group will soon start at a month-long run on Broadway where they will preform their songs to thousands of people, almost all of whom will sing along to every song.   

Marilyn Monroe ended her brief but glittering life in 1962.

The Beatles were also kicking around Europe in 1962, literally trying to get their act together.   They would storm the United States at the beginning of 1964 and the world of music would never be the same.

But it wasn’t all just entertainment.

1962 – fifty years ago – our nation was just beginning to send troops to a small, out-of-the-way country in Asia called Vietnam, a misadventure that would haunt our national conscience up until the present day.  Cuba was also on the national radar.  Fidel Castro had allied himself and his island nation to the Soviet Union, and the United States was able to prove in October of 1962 that the Soviets were building missile bases in Cuba that  posed a direct threat to our country – leading to what is commonly referred to as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Those were scary times, and many people felt that a nuclear war was imminent.

Fifty years ago yesterday President Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National Guard and forced Ole Miss to admit James Meredith as its first black student – over the strident objections of the state’s segregationist governor, Ross Barnett.

President Kennedy would be dead from an assassin’s bullet in just over a year.

All of that was a half-century ago.   Things had seemed to be very quiet and reserved in the decade and a half since the end of the Second World War, but in the early 1960's America awakened to find itself in a very dynamic and modern world.  The times, as Bob Dylan told us, were changing.

Time it was, and what a time it was.

1 comment:

Don said...

And yet ... the 60's left America better than they found it --- an accomplishment that isn't seen much anymore.