For a brief moment in time, whether captured with a camera or forever embedded in the mind, history has caught our attention and changed our world. The eyes of age tell us about what was witnessed in history and then, even some that may not have been recorded in a manner that we are so accustomed to.
It all happens so fast, in a blink of an eye, as a fleeting moment with the swiftness of a jaguar chasing its prey, Some of histories greatest moments may have never been noticed had it not been for witnesses. If mankind could capture that one moment that is often spoken of, yet never proved, where your life flashes before you at that one moment in time before expiring, history might just have to be rewritten in part to account for more accurate knowledge from these age-old memories as seen through the eyes of those who have lived, seen and endured those precious moments.
From those of us who are in our sexagenarian years, there is plenty of history to look at and to remember as well, in the form of telling younger generations as to what really took place and not fabricated by various media’s. In order to put things into perspective, it will be best to look at various segments of our lives beginning with the past. Later, in a different posting, a look at our near present history will be delved into and how it affects us now. Finally, a look into what the future might hold for mankind and how current history might shape that future will be touched upon.
Getting Started – 1950s
Much happened during this decade and at lightning speeds, at least what we thought was fast, then. Now being in our sixties, this decade was the time period that helped shape our thinking and guide us into our futures, from what we were being taught and told. After all, we didn’t know any better. Where to begin? Difficult decision as the pages of history are filled with so much information and facts.
World’s first credit card perhaps (Diner’s Club) or maybe the start of the Korean war? Regardless, this was era of the post war (WWII) and that triggered a worldwide increase in births later to be better known as the age of baby boomers. Good thing then as this period also brought us the creation of Smoky the Bear as well as The Peanuts gang with Charlie Brown. The humor was well-received.
Russia was busy upgrading their submarines with nuclear armament and power steering was being put into use in our vehicles. For the children of the era, silly putty, hula hoops, “Mr. Potato Head” and Pogo sticks became popular as the latest inventions. Young women would welcome the latest fashion trend with the bikini coming onto the scene thereby giving Elvis Presley a large, young, devoted audience to ring in his career.
This was a time when you could get a gallon of gasoline for a mere 20 cents and radial tires were being introduced to give you better traction and mileage and get you to the first McDonalds restaurants (1955). Bar codes, superglue and transistor radios would all change the way we lived life forever.
The eyes of age also saw the start of a new themed park still known today as Disneyland (1955). Women would find “the pill” being introduced and would alleviate some fears and at the same time allow for a new form of freedom with becoming more sexual.
Other notable facts of the decade include the following:
- 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is enacted.
- Univac – world’s 1st commercial computer (Remington Rand) is introduced.
- World’s 1st atomic power reactor comes online. The city of Arcon (now called Arco), Idaho becomes 1st nuclear-powered city in the world. Visitors today can tour the facility known as ERB-1 in the high desert in eastern Idaho approximately an hours drive from Idaho Falls.
- King George VI passes away and his daughter Elizabeth is elevated to Queen.
- Richard Nixon becomes Vice President to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- Mother Theresa opens Home For The Dying Destitutes in Kalighat, Kolkata, India.
- Soviet Union detonates world’s 1st Hydrogen bomb (1953).
- Cigarette smoking reported to cause cancer.
- Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay reach the world’s highest peak (Mt. Everest).
- Shah of Iran is returned to power with support from the U.S. and Great Brittain.
- Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama over a bus seat setting up a movement by Martin Luther King.
- Color television is introduced
- Barbie doll is created (1959)
The list goes on and on. This was a busy decade to say the least and many more events and ideas came into the forefront that would be embedded into our history books.
A Cultural Decade – The Sixties
This decade was one that most sexagenarians will remember as a defining era in their lifetimes. A time when we would be molded for our future. We were still learning while those just a bit older than ourselves would begin their rant on society.
A decade once again fraught with controversy from a beloved president (John F. Kennedy) being assassinated to an unpopular war with direct effect on every young man’s life that were from the U.S. Helen Gurley Brown came onto the scene with a book sparking a new revolution on sex and every reader was sure to be settled into their favorite armchair while munching on their treat from the electric popcorn maker.
So much was happening all at once (it seemed) during the span of the decade and when the brain finally sorted it all out, it began make sense.
Children of the decade were playing with Rock-M-Sockem robots and the new Chatty Cathy doll surely was trying to draw young girls away from Barbie. Hot wheels, Lego’s, GI Joe’s and 3-D viewers were all the rage and then, the music came!
Hendrix, Joplin, The Doors, Simon & Garfunkel , Santana and many more would all take their place alongside that great lady of song, Aretha Franklin. If you were hip and lucky enough to have the time, the eyes of age would not let you down in the form of Woodstock. Congratulations, you had just survived a defining epoch of the times.
So many other moment took place during this decade and here are just a few:
- 1st weather satellite launched (TIROS-1)
- OPEC becomes an entity (which we know then becomes a major factor in history).
- 1st interactive video game is introduced by MIT (Spacewar). Further research shows that a game similar to Pong was created in 1958 but was not interactive.
- James Bond makes his debut in the movies as a beloved spy in the movie, Dr. No (1962).
- Vibrant and sexy Marilyn Munroe dies (1962).
- Spiderman comes to the comic world fascinating every youthful and adult reader alike.
- Beatles release their first album and the world would never be the same (Please Please Me, 1963).
- Push button phones start to replace rotary dial.
- Zip Codes introduced
- Mariner 4 approaches Mars
- “I Have A Dream” speech by Martin Luther King (1963).
- Mini skirts are introduced into fashion. Boys will never be the same!
- James Tibereus Kirk makes his debut as the commander of the Starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701.
- ARPNET (forerunner to todays internet) relays 1st communication between UCLA and Stanford.
- Sesame Street introduced for young children.
- Richard Milhouse Nixon becomes President.
- Apollo 11 lands on the moon.
- Indira Ghandi becomes Prime Minister of India
- 1st Superbowl game. Green Bay Packers 35 – Kansas City Chiefs 10.
Many more events happened during this decade which has defined many of today’s sexagenarians and their lifestyles regardless of where in the world they come from.
Liberation And Rebellion – 1970’s
Who or what would cause the most influence and change in the 1970s? Hippies, flower children and the “baby boomers”. Regardless of what we were/are called, it was our time, a decade of voices that had just matured and wanted to be heard.
Sexagenarians from this era would become better remembered for their aromatic scent of patchouli rather than that of marijuana. Tie-dye shirts and jeans with holes, bandannas and long hair, yep that’s who we were and we were proud of it. Regardless, history would keep moving on and the population was ready to move right along with it.
It would be several years before the U.S. got out of Vietnam and the public was not going to let them forget how they felt in the meantime. Anti-war protests at numerous colleges would form and the crowds would begin to swell, back in a time when they were still peaceful. Liberation was not just an idea anymore and reality had begun to set in. Then one fine day, someone in the National Guard had a great idea. Let’s just gun down 4 innocent protesters at Kent State University. The rest was history!
Many things were happening all too fast and the clock to the midnight hour moved another notch . Rising inflation and digital technology started off the decade with a foulness and a welcome relief of sorts. A new giant airplane (Boeing 747) made its debut while Apollo 13 struggled to get back to earth. A Nuclear Non-Prolifiration Treaty was enacted by no less than 43 nations while the much beloved Beatles called it quits. Yet, it was only a beginning.
It was an era that gave way to growth of so many causes for women in the form of equality as well as causes centered around ecological consciousness, gays, lesbians, migrant workers and the elderly. All the while, home computers came onto the scene and we all know how that changed everything.
A new but old president named Nixon would begin a second term only to be shamed shortly thereafter causing his resignation (1974). The introduction of HBO would change some of the ways we watched television and soon new favorite shows would emerge. And then came along a beast of an animal, faster than anything seen before in its sport, it was “Big Red”. Better known as Secretariat, it would become very dominant in the horse racing world by winning the Triple Crown. A feat that had not been done in many years.
Other notable events of the era include:
- A popular video game (Pong) would enter the scene
- Bangladesh would gain independence from Pakistan
- Abortion becomes constitutional right ( Roe vs Wade)
- Bobby Riggs is defeated by Billy Jean King
- India becomes only the 6th nation to successfully detonate a nuclear device
- Earth would reach a population of nearly 4 billion inhabitants
- The ending of an unpopular war in Vietnam (1975)
- A large shark would leave its teeth impressions on the big screen (Jaws)
- Bill Gates and Paul Allen introduce the world to Microsoft (1975)
- Airing of “Saturday Night Live” begins
- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak successfully launch Apple (1976)
- World’s tallest freestanding structure is completed in Toronto, Canada
- Jimmy Carter is elected as President of United States
- Panama Canal is back in the control of Panama
- Louise Brown is born (1st test tube baby)
- Pope Paul VI passes and is replaced by Pope John Paul I, who also passes and is replaced by Pope John Paul II
- Space Invaders makes it debut acquiring many fans
- 3 Mile Island in Pennsylvania is site of nuclear explosion
- George Carlin and Richard Pryor gain popularity as stand up comics.
The Man – The Woman – The Hero
While there is so much more to delve into when it comes to history, there appears to be some aspects of it that are still missing from the equation. Your history! What have you witnessed with your own eyes? What can you tell us about your adventures?
Please help fill in the gaps by sending in your comments regardless of where in the world you live. Regardless of what in the past you have seen that you wish to share with the rest of us. We are not here to judge but to enjoy some of those missing links to the past.
In the second part of this series, The Eyes Of Age, we will attempt to gather as much information as possible about the next 30 years. The challenge will be to find more historical moments that particularly reside outside of a dominant country such as the United States. There are so many moments from other parts of the world and if you are inclined to share a bit with all of us, please feel free to do so.
Here are a couple of links for your pleasure to look at many moments in history from different aspects. They provide much information regarding those other parts of history that did not make the front pages or those of books.
Stay healthy and wise! Be sure to come back for the 2nd part to this series.
That’s my show