Friday, July 30, 2010

Today I Turn 62

I remember

…when television first became popular and when shows were first broadcast in color (about ten years later).

…watching shows from the 1920s and 1930s, like “Spanky and Our Gang” and “Laurel and Hardy” when they were broadcast on television.

...when television shows featured intact families, and fathers were present, respected, wise, and loving.

…when Eisenhower was President and politicians were (mostly) respected.

…when milk was delivered to our door in bottles, and the dry cleaner picked up and delivered our clothes.

…when it cost fifty cents to go to the movies.

…when candy bars cost five cents.

…when telephones were black and had words for prefixes; my telephone number was DIckens 2-9449.

…when a gallon of gas cost about thirty cents, and the gas station attendant rushed out to fill your tank, clean your windows front and back, and asked if he could check the air in your tires and your oil (that was when they were called “service” stations).

…when Disneyland opened.

…when The Mickey Mouse Club was on television.

…when my neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley included lots of fields and orchards, and I could pick large pomegranates off the tree, crack them on the trunk, and eat them on the spot.

…crying on my first day of kindergarten, and another child comforting me.

…when Sputnik was launched, becoming the world’s first artificial satellite.

…when my neighbors got a divorce and everyone was shocked because it was almost unheard of.

…when the polio vaccine was announced, and everyone went to get polio shots; and later when you could get follow-up treatment by eating a sugar cube with a vaccine in it instead of getting a shot; somebody named Sabin developed that method and across the nation everyone was urged to get immunized through a nation-wide “Sabin on Sunday” program; on that day my whole family went to a local school after church and stood in a long line to get our sugar cubes.

...and many year later meeting "Gilbert" (a member of my church), one of the last people who had ever suffered from polio.

…when almost no stores were open on Sunday, and almost everyone went to church.

…when kids on the elementary school playground frequently asked “what church do you go to?”

…when the design on the back of the Lincoln penny changed from the bunches of wheat to the Lincoln Memorial, and it became a fad at my school to collect pennies.

…that my mother got a job after 22 years of not having one because my brothers and I were growing up; she waited until the last of us three had completed high school.

…being able to ride my bike anywhere I wanted without regard for safety except for crossing busy streets.

…buying my first comic book.

…buying the first Amazing Spiderman comic book in the store for a dime (sells now for tens of thousands of dollars) and those that followed up to number 25; I sold them all for a dollar each.

…that I was fascinated by Superman, and that my grandmother made me a Superman suit for Christmas 1953.

…reading The Screwtape Letters from my parents’ collection when I was about eight or nine years old, and thinking that C. S. Lewis was eye-opening cool.

…polishing my shoes every Sunday morning before going to church, for which I had to wear a suit, even though I was only six years old.

…when the Episcopal Church was respected throughout the nation.

…being in a confirmation class in 1960-1961 that was packed with kids, a few of whom I also went to school with.

…the Kennedy-Nixon campaign for President in 1960, and that I went to school with Nixon’s nephew, who got his photograph on the front page of The Los Angeles Times rooting for his uncle.

...when I enjoyed reading The Los Angeles Times.

when transistor radios came out and we could carry a radio only a little larger than a deck of cards and hide them at school.

…going to typing class in junior high school.

...when almost all girls wore dresses.

…the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962 when the world came the closest to nuclear war. English teacher (Miss Haley) who pounded proper grammar into us and said something like, "Someday you'll thank me!"

…two thousand high school students standing as still as statues during the lunch hour at my high school as the public address system played the radio, giving us live information on the assassination of President Kennedy.

…wearing hippie beads.

…the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

…the assassination of Martin Luther King.

...watching the Ed Sullivan show on television in January 1964 when the Beatles first came to America, and then talking about it at school the next day; everyone thought that their long hair was weird.

…being loudly and publicly berated in the waiting room of a car dealership by a man whom I didn’t know for having long hair; I had driven my father’s car there to get it serviced and was waiting while the work was being done.

…going to the Griffith Observatory with a dozen friends on my seventh birthday (gee, that was 55 years ago today!) because I loved astronomy so much.

…the IGY (International Geophysical Year) in 1957.

…learning gymnastics and being able to do a standing back flip without even thinking about it (and frequently did), and eventually being able to do a double back flip on the ground.

…buying hardback Hardy Boys books in dust jackets when they were new and only cost a dollar.

…going on our “last” family vacation in 1967 (the summer I turned 19) when we drove around the U.S. for a month on a budget of $50/day for gas, food for a family of five, lodging, admissions to national parks, and incidentals—and meeting the budget.

…watching the Moon landing on live television.

…and, well, lots of other things but this list is an even 1,000 words now.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Words for All Times, Including Now

The words were written by Donovan (Leitch), a singer/composer and icon of the 1960s. I learned to play many of his songs on the guitar. Many of them, I think, were deep and lyrical, and they still affect me today.

This one, however, was one of several he wrote for Franco Zefferelli’s 1972 movie, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”. It’s called “Father of All Things”, and the words are especially fitting for me at this time. Although the movie is available on DVD, sadly, no sound track with Donovan’s songs was ever made available for purchase, but here’s a youtube link in which someone else plays and sings the song. English is not his native language and he messes up a couple of words, but overall he does a fine job. He's a superb guitarist, too!

There’s a shape in the sky beckoning me.

There’s a sound in the wild wind calling.

There’s a song to be sung for glory,

And I feel that it’s coming our way.

There’s a pain on the land weakening me.

There’s a sigh in the city of sorrow.

There’s a shadow of darkness accumulating,

And I feel that it’s coming our way.

Father of all things, mother of light,

Soothe and ease our human plight.

Mary in mercy, Jesus in joy,

Please, will you help us win the fight?

There’s a love for all men sleeping within.

There’s a friend of a friend awakening.

There’s a jubilant joy bursting to be,

And I feel that it’s coming our way.

Father of all things, mother of light,

Soothe and ease our human plight.

Mary in mercy, Jesus in joy,

Please, will you help us win the fight?