Last week I celebrated my sixtieth birthday. Ouch! It passed without much fanfare, but I did love hearing from friends far and near via Facebook. My husband gave me a little book, cleverly named “Now You’re 60!” that tells what was happening in the news, in sports, and in the entertainment world for each decade of my life. If you’re at all good at math, you have deduced that I was born in 1955, at the peak of the Baby Boom in the United States. What exciting things I’ve seen and experienced! Some things are mind-boggling:
In the year I was born, two-thirds of American homes had a telephone, and the first direct-dial, coast to coast long-distance call took 18 seconds to connect. The first commercial computer, UNIVAC, was available, and it was only 14x7x9. Feet! The size of a room! Compare that to life today, where we carry around computers in our phones and talk to people all over the world any time we want.
When I was a kid, President John Kennedy was assassinated (I was in the third grade), the Civil rights movement was in full swing in the South (where I lived), the Space Race was on, and 86% of Americans owned a television set. Mind you, it was a black & white set that got three channels, but we watched things like Lassie, Captain Kangaroo, The Mickey Mouse Club, and The Flintstones, while our parents watched Bonanza, Have Gun – Will Travel, and Gunsmoke. To Kill a Mockingbird and Old Yeller were playing at the movies, and Elvis Presley was shaking things up on the Ed Sullivan Show. New toys that became fads were Hula-hoops, Davy Crockett coonskin caps, Barbie dolls, Schwinn bikes, and Frisbees, while the classic Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, and Erector sets remained popular. No batteries were required – only a little imagination was needed to make a lot of fun! The town I grew up in, Paducah, Kentucky, was home to a ‘bomb factory’, so everyone I knew had a fallout shelter and we all knew where the Civil Defense safety zones were. Instead of fire drills, we tucked into balls and hid under our desks at school. As if.
By my teenage years, assassinations had become the norm. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy lost their lives because of their political and civil rights views. The war in Vietnam came into our homes every evening on the nightly news, and the boys in my high school class were the last ones to have numbers picked as part of the draft lottery. Thankfully, most of the young men my age did not end up going to war, but nearly 9 million people served from 1964 – 1973. 58,000 Americans were killed and 300,000 were wounded during this sad chapter of our country’s history. It’s no wonder that we loved The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Motown. 400,000 people attended Woodstock in upstate New York, and over one BILLION people watched Neil Armstrong make his ‘one small step’ on the moon. At the box office, Elvis movies were the rage, along with Cool Hand Luke (“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”), The Graduate, The Love Bug, My Fair Lady, and A Hard Day’s Night. My first car was a 1964 Oldsmobile F-85 that belonged to my great-great aunt. It could fit several people in the trunk, which came in handy for sneaking into the drive-in movies. Not that I would know about that.
In my twenties, President “I am not a crook” Nixon resigned because of Watergate, and a few years later, we counted the days that sixty-six Americans were held hostage at a US Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Women’s Lib was in full swing and the first test-tube baby was born in England. The ‘pill’ was readily available and ‘make love not war’ was still being chanted. America was in a recession, gas prices were at an all-time high, but the population of the South and Southwest grew more than 25%, thanks to central air-conditioning. John Lennon and Elvis Presley died and disco lived. No one said life is fair! People were terrified at the movies, between Jaws and The Exorcist (and Saturday Night Fever) and disaster movies like Airport, Earthquake, and the Poseidon Adventure. Then along came Star Wars…. On TV, Saturday Night Live‘s original cast gave us characters who still seem like good friends to me today – two wild and crazy guys, Samurai Swordsman, Emily Littella, the Killer Bees, “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not”, “Jane, you ignorant slut”, King Tut, and more. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and Joe Namath wore pantyhose in a commercial. I finished pharmacy school, got married, bought our first house (when interest rates plummeted from 18% to 14.5%!), and had our first baby during this decade. I was officially a grown up.
When I was in my early thirties and pregnant with my second child, the space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after taking off. The Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Stock Exchange tanked in October 1987. The Apple II computer was named Time’s ‘Machine of the Year’, and by the middle of that decade, we had our first home computer. I spent hours playing Tetris! Madonna and Michael Jackson (all grown up now) were changing the music scene, and the first CDs began replacing vinyl records and cassette tapes. Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze lit up the big screen and ET phoned home. One of my favorite TV shows was ‘thirtysomething’ – no surprise there! Jack Nicklaus won the Masters at age forty(something) on the day my daughter was born. I laughed every day while reading Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. At age 35, I learned I had breast cancer, and was thankful to be living in a place with an awesome cancer center. I lost my daddy, and threw myself into work, holding down three jobs until I stopped practicing pharmacy, and became a Creative Memories Consultant. I drove a minivan, I got my first cell phone, and volunteer opportunities, Junior League, PTA, sports activities with the kids, and my CM business filled my days.
During my 40s, Y2K came and went with barely a ripple. Bill Clinton exposed my children to things I wish they hadn’t learned about until later. We had a DSL line in our house and “You’ve got mail” was exciting to hear. Grunge bands were filling the airwaves and I started feeling old (musically) for the first time. I did get a laugh that my son loved The Grateful Dead, though. Princess Diana died needlessly, and Elton John re-wrote “Candle in the Wind” for her funeral. Titanic and Forrest Gump were big hits at the theater, and Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Ally McBeal, and ER were popular on the boob tube. O. J. Simpson went from sports hero to villain and his murder trial divided the country. Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive, and Michael Jordan made over $30 million in one year. Fanny packs and Beanie Babies ruled, and ‘casual Friday’ became a mainstay at work. September 11, 2001 happened, and nothing has been the same since that day. I watched my CM team grow as my kids grew up, and by the end of this decade, I got my first digital camera. Life was about to change for me in a very profound way!
My sixth decade of life was filled with more changes than I would have imagined. My children left the nest and I had to establish a new ‘normal’. Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and my sister and I drove down to offer some disaster assistance. That was the start of our now-annual Sassy Sister Road Trips, often taken in my little Prius, and it was on our Route 66 trip the next summer that I reached my goal of visiting all fifty states by the end of my 50th year. (Bonus points if you guess which state was the last one I visited.) The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry after a successful mission. The war in Iraq continues today, and Barack Obama was elected president. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD or read a newspaper, but reality TV is still going strong. Somehow. Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol, Modern Family, Nashville, and Scandal, along with the Food Network, are some of the shows I watched during these years. Facebook and text messaging replaced phone calls as my major forms of communication, and I’m never far from my iPad. The debut of Memory Manager and StoryBook Creator sent me down a path that culminated in pixels2Pages. My husband and I picked up and moved from North Carolina, our home for thirty years, to the coast of Texas, and I was able to be okay with that because of Facebook, cellular phones, the internet, air travel, and highways. I became an orphan, a mother-in-law to a daughter and a son, a grandmother to my sweet E, and Rex and I just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Creative Memories bit the dust, but the friendships I made there have endured, and pixels2Pages is still alive and kicking. Go figure!
Who knows what this decade will bring? It’s starting off next week with a hip replacement (not mine, but my husband’s) and that’s the kind of thing I’d rather not experience! Hopefully there will be more grandies in my future, lots more road trips, more photos and memories, more versions of Artisan and Historian, good books, music, movies, and TV shows, and plenty of time to enjoy life and all it has to offer. I have a dog (for the first time in my life) so he and I are both learning new tricks. It’s fun to look back and see where we started and where we are now, isn’t it? That’s what I love about what we do, as scrapbookers and memory keepers. Live in the moment, but remember to savor the memories and dream about the future!
This page was created using the aptly named kit, “Happy Talk Bundle” by Fayette Designs and the p2P Blueprint, Sanity Break. Fonts are a song for jennifer bold and Architect’s Daughter.