Sunday, July 20, 2014

45 years ago today

© Rudolph J Klein
July 20, 1969. Nixon is new to the White House. Ted Kennedy has just driven off a bridge. John and Yoko have shocked the world (at least my small, suburban part of it) by going to bed publicly and staying there for two weeks.

Here we are on a picnic with neighbors at Valley Forge Park. My mother's in the plaid Bermuda shorts. She'd ironed the heavy cotton floral tablecloth put down on the table. That's me on the left, trying to sneak away with an extra Ho-Ho. I'm wearing my favorite flower-power pin.

That night, I wear it to a CYO dance held in the gym of our parish hall, in a dress my mother made, trying to look like I know how to twist. At some point in the evening, the record abruptly stops spinning, lights go on and we are called to come to the school kitchenette where one of the chaperones has set up a portable television. It is a 5 inch screen, black and white of course, with an antenna you have to keep moving to keep picture. The picture is grainy and the sound is crackly and the most audible narration comes from a pocket transistor radio tuned to the same station. A man, at that moment, is walking on the moon. We live in a new world order in which what was impossible for our parents to imagine, happens to us as a matter of course: presidents get shot, women burn their bras, wars are waged in a jungle by children. Now, this: a man from earth stepping onto the moon. 

Grown-ups hunker close to the miniature screen, squinting their disbelieving eyes while we kids shift back and forth in our weejuns, waiting for the music to start up again.


lizp said...

Great memory family has very few photos early on...many years we had none...but the pics we do have are amazing...your day really knew how to think ahead !

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks, Liz. My father was a wonderful archivist. He had the foresight to use Kodachrome slide film which was longest lasting, making it into the next century. We just had his tin boxfuls copied at Dijifi in Brooklyn, a truly wonderful resource.

California Girl said...

Love the accompanying copy to your photo. I so enjoy the old hard copy Kodak prints. Your picture is positively vintage...and aren't they all?

Hard to believe it's been 45 yrs. My husband and I were headed north yesterday afternoon, an hour's drive to Bethlehem N.H. to see our NYC friends. We were so wrapped up in talking about the past we forgot the speed limit abruptly drops from 55 to 30 & were pulled over by a local cop with a radar gun. Then we couldn't find the registration. Of course my husband was getting stressed but when the cop pulled us over, my husband answered honstly when asked if he "knew why (he)pulled us over"?

I think my husband's honesty & good driving record (when did THAT happen?) got him off the hook. The guy let us go with a warning. Either that or...we're old & he figured "what the hell". How did everything go by so fast?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Congrats on wrangling goodwill from a trooper! Yes--when did that, when did it ALL happen, @California Girl? Glad to have Kodachrome evidence of past era. Our future selves will have to make do with vintage FB posts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Helen! Better late than never! Just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed this post. Brought back memories oh so clearly of that special oh so adolescent time. I've often remarked that you and I must really be the same person. Gosh, I even dressed like you. Did you have a Villager blouse? Darn it, tho. No CYO pin for me. I was Lutheran, not Catholic like most of my town. I didn't even have a circle pin, darn it. Thanks for the memories, Doll. xoxo

lutheranliar said...

Shoot! I am not 'anonymous'. Perhaps 'clueless'. It's your doppelganger.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Ha, thanks for checking in, Ms. D. I didn't have a Villager blouse--or any name brand clothing in those days. My mother sewed most of our clothes, working at night after we kids went to bed. I am gobsmacked by her industrious, now. I did, however, have a circle pin. Nyah, nyah.