Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Thoughts on the 1960s: Part II

Shifting from the 1950s to the 1960s, we go from images of holocaust survivors to Father Knows Best and pearls in the kitchen to Vietnam and our boys dying right in front of our eyes.

In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho--I had nightmares for weeks. The first televised debates occurred and lasers were invented.

1961 brings us the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Berlin Wall, the founding of the Peace Corps and the Soviets launching the first man in space. President Kennedy advises families to build bomb shelters. I can remember exercises in the school classroom how to duck under the desks in case of an attack. The IBM Selectric typewriter is introduced.The Vietnam War official begins. Roger Maris, of the New York Yankees, hits his 61st home run, beating 34-year old record held by Babe Ruth.

In 1962, Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. The first James Bond film, Dr. No, came out. The Cuban Missile crisis threatened the world with nuclear war.

1963 brought us the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I was 14 and will never forget that day. I was dissecting a frog in Biology. We were sent home and the images of he and Jackie riding in the car and her blood-spattered suit and then baby John saluting as his father's casket passed by. Also, in this year, Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring and Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.   Congress enacts equal pay for equal work legislation for women. Patsy Cline dies in a plane crash. Zip codes are introduced in the U.S and I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S.  Martin Luther King makes his "I Have a Dream" speech.

1964 brings us the Ford Mustang (perhaps one of the coolest cars ever). Seat belts are introduced as standard equipment. Plans to build the World Trade Center are announced. Malcolm X forms a black nationalist party. The Beatles hold the top 5 positions on Billboard Top 40. This is the first year cigarette boxes had a warning printed on it that smoking can be hazardous to your health (and people still smoke).  Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison.

1965 -Medicare bill passes. 32,000 people make a 54-mile freedom march from Selma to Montgomery. Malcolm  X is assassinated. The Beatles do the first stadium concert in the history of rock at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, where I grew up. My best friend's brother stood outside the stadium to hear them. President Johnson orders bombing raids on North Vietnam and Americans begin protesting the war.

1966 - the year I graduated High School, The Beatles play their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Star Trek debuts with its first episode, "The Man Trap." The Black Panther Party is established. Mao Zedong launches the cultural revolution and there are mass draft protests in the U.S

1967 - Rolling Stone Magazine is founded. The first heart transplant is performed. Boxer Muhammad Ali refuses military service. LSD is declared illegal by the US government. It is also the year of the first Super Bowl and the six day war in the Middle East.

1968 -
Bobby Kennedy is assassinated in California. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for days. Hair opens on Broadway. The White Album is released by the Beatles. The My Lai massacre occurs as well as the Tet offensive.

Neal Armstrong walks on the moon. Woodstock is held at Max Yasgur's 600 acre farm in Bethel, NY. Easy Rider premiers. Charles Manson cult murders Sharon Tate and others. Sesame Street premiers, along with The Brady Bunch. You can see why some folks might feel a bit schizophrenic about this decade.

My teenage years were shaped by assassinations, race riots, Vietnam, anti-nuclear marches, and of course, the hippy movement, which preached peace and love.

Music was my salvation through all of this. It was hard to remain depressed listening to the Beatles sing All You Need is Love. And John Lennon's Imagine gave us hope. Perhaps the drug culture evolved because of the angst everyone felt about what was happening around us. Things we couldn't control. What strikes me is how similar it is now. Terrorism strikes when and where we least expect it and it is something we cannot control. And folks still use alcohol and drugs to mask their pain.

My truth on this Tuesday: I had a major crush on Roger Maris. I was 12 years old and my Dad was a huge baseball fan, so I got to see Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, called the Bronx Bombers back in those days, play all the time. My grandma lived diagonally across the street from Yankee Stadium and we went often.

Soon to come...., Part III: How all of this impacted my psyche.



Suze said...

'And folks still use alcohol and drugs to mask their pain.'

I think it's possible that spending time online and in virtual worlds is this era's drug culture. I'm not passing a judgment on the activity, I just mean to make mention that the PC had its roots intertwined with the explosion of drug culture in the sixties and bring the connection to awareness.

All that said, I soaked up this post. I think this direction you've taken with the blog is enormously stimulating and I will bookmark this entry. I also like how you weave in bits of your personal history in the wider tableau. Really enjoying this, Karen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Suze may have a point. Technology may be our way of dealing with it now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. so interesting to read your take on things .. and so much happened that influenced our lives .. the good the bad and the ugly. They still do .. but we're learning and I hope continue to do so.

Loved these nostalgic looks - and how they affected you as you grew up ...Hilary

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I love looking back to the past like this to understand how it shaped us. Excellent post.

Karen Walker said...

Suze, I think you make an excellent point. The internet is like a drug--and a much healthier one at that.
Alex, I think one could write a whole book on how technology has changed our lives.
Hilary, I used to think we learn from history, but I'm not so sure. As long as we still use violence as a means of solving difference, I don't feel we've learned much of anything.
Paul, thanks.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I can remember when President Kennedy 's news of his assination came over the TV, it was just three months after I got married.
You mentioned the Beatles yes, they were a great contribution to the 60's
A most enjoyable post.


GigglesandGuns said...

I really like the way you're handling this. Can't wait for part two.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

By the way, you may already know, but for your past few posts, I was getting a warning about malware on your site. No problem today, so maybe you already knew and fixed it. Anyhow, I'm glad to be able to read your stuff again.

Karen Walker said...

Susan, I didn't know that. I got that warning on other sites yesterday and was puzzled. thanks.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. it seems to have sprung out of Lee's blog - but seems fine now .. so all is well. I came into your site regardless of the malware warning - wouldn't have gone into Lee's site .. but his seems ok now.

One of those things (I hope!) .. cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

I'm with you all the way, Karen. Though I was 23 and my first child 8 months old when President Kennedy was assassinated. I, too, remember exactly where I was that day and how it all played out on TV.

You've done what I've been wanting to do: a timeline of this decade. Thanks!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Karen Walker said...

Hilary, yes, I found it on Lee's site yesterday, but today it's fine. So weird.
Ann, yeah, the timeline is so interesting to me, Ann.

Ann said...

First class timeline Karen. Brought back some memories. I was too young to remember the release of the White Album, but it become scared to me and my friends in the mid 70's. We were introduced to it by older siblings.

Karen Walker said...

The White Album is in a class all by itself, Ann.

L.G.Smith said...

Such crazy times. I'm reading your memoir right now, so this is all very interesting. Kind of like a companion piece to your book. Well, I suppose your entire blog is that. :)

Liz Fichera said...

I was too young to understand what was really happening but I do remember playing my older sister's Beatles albums and 45s over and over and over.

Karen Walker said...

L.G., that must be interesting, reading the memoir at the same time. Yes, my blog is all about my journey. Still amazes me peeps are intrigued by it.
Liz, when I was a little girl I used to sit and play my 45s over and over, too.

Nancy said...

Your timeline is great food for thought, Karen. It transported me back to the sense of bewilderment and uneasiness I felt when I returned to the USA in 1970 after two years at a remote Army listening post on the northern island of Japan. What had happened to my country? Assassinations, cult murders, drug culture -- nuns had even stopped wearing the traditional habits! In place of the progress that I had expected, I found a scary deterioration in our society. I was 30 years old and I thought we were well on our way down the slippery slope of decadence. Was I right?

Talli Roland said...

What a decade... I can only image how all that turmoil impacted you.

Karen Walker said...

Nancy, I don't know. What does everyone else think?
Talli, hugely, and it amazes me I hadn't thought about this before.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I remember men walking on the moon, but that's about it. I think the 70's were a little different, because I don't remember that many tragic events.

Claudia Moser said...

You are right, the music was amazing!

Karen Walker said...

Diane, you're right, the 70s were different.
And Claudia, yes yes yes

Jules said...

There sure was a lot to the 60's and I fear it shaped many of us more than we admit.

Just so you know... I was on a beach in Florida during the Bay of Pigs. And I can remember sharing that beach with soldiers in foxholes. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Karen Walker said...

OMG, Jules.

Manzanita said...

It's amazing the things that influenced our lives while growing up. You are so wise to reflect on them and understand what shaped your thoughts. Nice thoughts and a meaningful read.

Siv Maria said...

Hi Karen! The 60's are such an interesting time. I was very young but I still remember alot of the moments like The ed Sullivan Show with Elvis and the Beatles, and I remember both Kennedy's being shot.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks Manzanita and Siv

Will Burke said...

That must have been amazing to see the Beatles develope SO quickly! All I had was Duran Duran and Pat Benetar, until Gn'R came up and Aerosmith re-surfaced. It was hard to take the Cold War seriously when some great movies made the post-apocolyptic world look so fun.

Dafeenah said...

Wow it's hard to imagine all of that happening in just a few years time. Seeing it written out in that manner really changes your perspective on things.

Off topic but why is hiding under a desk in school able to save you from any and all catastrophes and natural diasters? Who came up with this idea?

Arlee Bird said...

The problem on my site is fixed now--it was weird and frustrating. Don't know what is was all about.

Suze, made an excellent point that makes a lot of sense.

The 60's was probably one of the most revolutionary transitional decades in our lifetime. Not sure it was all good, but it was certainly interesting.

Tossing It Out

Glynis said...

Born in 1957 I grew up with the whirlwind of change in the UK. It was interesting to read what went on in the USA.

Jeremy Bates said...

great post, i love trivia like this!
followed u over from karen's bbq... brought whiskey and steak! enjoy! and great blog--following!

Jeremy Bates said...

followed u over from karen's bbq... brought whiskey and steak! enjoy! and great blog--following!