Staying Alive in the 905

Looking Back…

Posted on: December 19, 2009



It is traditional at this time of year to reflect back on the year that just whizzed by.  It seems that 2009 has been one big reflection. That’s because 2009 was the 40th anniversary of 1969.  A lot happened in 1969.  It was an important year in pop culture and the history of the world.  It seemed everything changed as the sixties rolled into the 1970’s. 1969 was a very big year for me and I remember why.  It was the year I became a teenager and started high school. I wrote about all the reflecting and remembering in an email to my friends this past summer: 

It seems this summer that everyday in the news there is something that happened 40 years ago.  For example: Ted Kennedy is dying, as a revered statesman, 40 years after he got away with murder. Woodstock!!!! Woodstock was that summer but I was only a teeny bopper wanna-be hippy.  I didn’t venture far in those days.  So if anyone my age or younger tells you they were at Woodstock they are probably lying or they went with an older sibling… or they were ahead of their time, had run away from home or …their parents took them. Wow – 1969 was a very big year. 

Q107 has been inviting listeners to share “where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon?”  I read some of the comments on the website and entered some contests but decided not to fess  up as to my whereabouts.  I remember exactly where I was when man landed on the moon.  Do you?

The summer of ’69 was a pivotal period for me – between the end of grade 8 and the beginning of high school.  I tie-dyed a sheet, black, to hang in the door way of the grade 8 grad dance – yes, I was on organizing committees back then too.  I wore my white lace bell-bottomed pant suit and white chunky heels.  I still have that outfit and some of you saw me wear it at my 30th birthday party – after a few too many drinks.  I have the shoes also.  This outfit was a hit when my son’s female classmates modeled items from my cedar trunk in Grade 7 for a retro fashion show.  

I think I remember so much of that year and the few that followed because of the little B&W television that was added to our kitchen so my news junkie father could keep up with the world during dinner.  Prior to that I remember parents reading newspapers a lot and if you owned one, the televison was in the living room.  That little TV on it’s chrome stand was mod and funky. Man, I thought we were rich when we got that thing.

All the Vietnam news footage bombarded us with war and then we saw the demonstrations etc. etc.

When I started high school girls were not allowed to wear pants and no one could wear jeans.  As a member of student council I campaigned for the right to wear pants and felt so empowered when we achieved our goal.  Everyone bought cords and we soon dressed just like the guys.  Afterall, those mini skirts were sexy but brutally cold in the winter.  I still fear my mother was right when she said that baring our thighs to the cold would make them fat!!!  Remember – females had never worn such short skirts before – ever!  We were told that the body would layer on fat to protect itself.  LOL….that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

The next year we won the right to wear blue jeans. That was the most pivotal fashion moment of my life.  Anyone remember how they were so stiff and dark?  My brother and I took a new pair of jeans to New Brunswick every summer purposely to wear them in the sand and salt water to break them in and fade them a bit.  That dark stiff denim is back in vogue and the current trend is not to wash them so they remain dark and stiff.  Imagine.

  Now I buy something denim every year but I started high school without it in my life. 

Back to 1969 and the moon – I can not tell a lie – when the American astronauts landed on the moon I was at a Bobby Sherman (Here come the Brides) concert in Buffalo, NY.  My friend’s’s father took us to see the hot teen idol/singer/actor.  When the concert was over we dashed to their relatives’ home nearby to watch footage of the historic event.  They were complete strangers to me and distant relatives to my friend but sitting in silence in their living room we all felt connected – we were all the mankind Armstrong spoke of and you needed to share it with someone.  I wondered if we would all be living on different planets some day and wondered why we needed to go to the moon.  I’m still wondering about that.

I am amazed at what has transpired in the last 40 years as I write this on a computer.  Not enough has changed though.  We still fight wars and people still die too young and now we pay too much for a pair of  jeans.  Denim was invented for miners in California to wear because they needed an affordable tougher fabric that would withstand their climbing over rocks.  We are paying $ for a pair of work pants!!

So that’s my musings about 40 years ago – it was a pivotal year to become a teenager.

Where were you when man landed on the moon? Please don’t say”not born yet!” I know some of you weren’t – I’m lucky to have friends of all ages.

I googled Bobby Sherman.  I see he had the good sense to leave the entertainment world when his 15 min. of fame were up. He became a sheriff and a family man.  He’s still kind of handsome for 66.  Eeew!  He was only 4 years younger than my mother.  Glad I did not know that then.



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