1) The first half of 1978 was the second semester of my senior year in high school. Because I had already been accepted to college, I tried to sign up for Typing and Shop. Coach Hutchinson, who in addition to being my favorite teacher ever was the only teacher smart enough to do the schedules pre-computer, put me in Chemistry II and Physics II instead. At the time I thought it was 45% funny and 55% annoying, but it worked out (although these days I find that I need all the stuff I would have leaned in Shop much more than all the stuff I have forgotten about Chemistry and Physics).
My friends and I were into Thespians, the theater group. I was the president my senior year. We did a western comedy as our senior play, and my friend Karen and I decided to spice it up a little bit for our classmates (captured nicely in the above photo, which unsurprisingly didn’t make it into the yearbook). I was also president of the Key Club. Some cats tried unsuccessfully to impeach me because they said I wasn’t paying enough attention to my duties- only partially because I missed some meetings and whatnot while practicing for and emceeing the Miss Brave Pageant. My friend Sarah won. She later unfriended me twice on Facebook, which is the current record. There is a large group tied for second at once each.
2) I have always loved horror movies, and one of the best ones of all time was released in 1978. Halloween.
3) I started at Wake Forest that fall. The beer drinking age back then was 18, so you had to be 18 to get in the local bars. An October birthday meant I got left behind a lot the first couple of months. A bunch (I’m talking multiple carloads) of my friends from Clemson came up for the football game that fall. We had a wild and crazy time. I’ll just leave it at that.
My music of the era:
Here are two records (or 8-tracks) I listened to a lot that year.
1) You simply cannot mention 1977 without mentioning Star Wars. For a sci-fi fan like me, this was a before and after moment. It was a great film, and it was the beginning of the a great era in science fiction films. I can’t remember where I saw it. Probably in Florence, SC, as Cheraw had lost its movie theater by then. It occurs to me that young people will one day be able to search their social media feeds and figure out stuff like that.
2) I played a lot of pool at Johnny’s Red Door Lounge, which we all referred to as Funderburk’s.
Funderburk’s played a part in a bunch of my songs, including these two.
3) I spent the first part of my summer at South Carolina Boys State in Charleston. Here’s a newspaper story.
I spent the second part of the summer at Governor’s School, also in Charleston, which at the time was a summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors. I focused on math, and had my first experience with programming. In Fortran.
Here’s a newspaper article (complete with a typo in the title and my name misspelled), in which I eloquently sum up the experience.
My music of the era:
Much of my year was spent with two records (or 8-tracks) playing in the background.
I started the 11th grade at the new Cheraw High School.
1) I remember lots and lots of Bicentennial stuff. Ads, TV, coins, you name it. Once in a while, you can still find these quarters in circulation. I always keep them.
2) I remember Jimmy Carter! I haven’t been that excited about politics since. Even now, the words “My name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president” send a shiver down my spine. I actually raised the possibility of naming Luke James Carter Newsome. One of many awesome names Raina shot down.
3) I remember my then favorite team, the Portland Trailblazers, winning the 1976-77 NBA championship. I was a Portland fan because I was a huge Bill Walton fan. He seemed like a great combo of student, athlete, hippie. He later ruined all that for me by playing for the hated Celtics. Later, I got bored with pro sports altogether.
Assuming you were alive then, what do you remember about 1976?
I started the 10th grade. It was my only year at the old Cheraw High School. We moved into the new Cheraw High School, across town, at the beginning of my junior year.
1) During the summer, I attended the Boy Scout World Jamboree in Lillehammer, Norway. Here’s the newspaper article from my hometown paper.
Before that, I lived with a family in Copenhagen, Denmark. At some point during that visit, I ended up at a topless beach. It was a great trip all around, but that was probably the highlight, for a 14 year old kid from rural South Carolina.
2) I remember seeing the Saigon airlift on TV, with the helicopter taking off from the U.S. Embassy. Little did I know that I would one day have a close friend who left Vietnam and came to America at around that time. She and her family were refugees from North Vietnam, having left for the south with little but the clothes on their backs. Those of us born in America often forget just how lucky we were.
3) I also remember the Patty Hearst coverage on TV. I didn’t really understand the point of it all (this was before the internet, etc.), but I had some vague understanding that some rich kid got kidnapped and then went all urban guerilla. I think I had it just about right.
Assuming you were alive then, what do you remember about 1975?
Other than starting the 9th grade, here are 3 things I remember about 1974.
1) My sister was in her last year of graduate school at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, TN. I remember visiting with my mom. A few years later, I would follow her to graduate school at Vanderbilt.
2) I remember buying David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs LP and listening to it over and over and over. I’m not a huge Bowie fan, but that record was great then, and it’s great now.
3) I remember seeing all the Watergate coverage on the news. It was a different time then, with no internet and only a few television channels. We weren’t bombarded by information all day long, so we actually looked forward to the evening news. I haven’t watched the evening news in close to a decade.
Is there anyone else around old enough to remember 1974? If so, what do you remember the most?
2) I made Eagle Scout on November 26 of that year. I got a little press coverage since I was only 13 years and one month old. Say what you will about the Boy Scouts, but I learned a lot of stuff from scouting that I still apply on a regular basis.
3) I remember watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown, and wondering what a secretariat was. His Belmont win is simply the most dominating performance I have ever seen, in any sport. By far.
(1) I remember the Nixon/McGovern presidential election, primarily because my sister and the older kids I knew all had McGovern stickers and campaign buttons.
(2) The 1972 Summer Olympics were the first olympics that I really paid attention to, as a result of both the bad (the murder of some of the Israeli team members) and the good (Mark Spitz’s 7 gold medals).
(3) I went to see The Godfather with my sister and some boyfriend of hers at the beach. I thought the horse head in bed was cool, but the naked girl (my first time to see one in a movie) was cooler.
(1) Our neighbors across the street had this huge antique steam engine festival where people from all over came to display steam engines and other old machinery. The festival lasted all weekend and was about the biggest thing that had ever happened in my hometown. We snuck in by wading through the creek and spent all weekend running around, watching the steam engines and whatnot. It sounds mildly boring now, but at the time it was really fun. A year or so ago I saw this newsletter for sale on eBay.
(2) I moved from Robert Smalls Elementary to Cheraw Elementary (I believe that was its name) for the 6th grade. It must have been an uneventful year, because about all I remember from that year is playing marbles at recess. I can’t even remember who my teachers were.
(3) I won some sort of DAR essay contest. We had to write an essay about the revolutionary war. I wrote about the Green Mountain Boys (I have no idea why). I got this little medal that hung in a frame on the wall at my mom’s house along with my Eagle Scout medal and some other approbations until my mom died.
(1) I went with my grandfather to Houston to see a baseball series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. It was my first time on an airplane and my first trip to Houston. Little did I know that I would end up living here. After the game, we got a bunch of autographs from the Houston players.
(2) I started the fifth grade. That was the first year my school was integrated. It seems surreal to me now that before that white kids and black kids went to different schools. We had no problems at all at my school. In fact, my teacher that year, Mrs. McIver, who previously taught at the black elementary school, became and remains one of my favorite teachers ever.
(3) I remember seeing reports about the Kent State shootings on TV. I was too young to be as outraged as I should have been. Neil Young wrote a phenomenal protest song about that horrible event.
(1) I moved from Primary School to the 4th grade at Elementary School. I was in Mrs. Laney’s class. Later in life, she let me hunt quail on her land north of my hometown. We used to play kickball at recess, and all the guys used to try to kick the ball on the roof of the school. That was sort of like hitting a baseball out of the park.
(2) I distinctly remember watching on TV as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. I was amazed that something like that was possible. There were a few people, including more than one in my class, who thought the whole thing was staged by the government. Many years later after I moved to Houston, I became friends with Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, and was able to hear a lot of amazing stories first hand.
(3) I remember the nightly news with Walter Cronkite. He would always give a report about Vietnam- the name of some village where a battle happened, how many Americans killed and how many Americans got killed. I didn’t think all that much about it at the time, but in hindsight it seems almost surreal. I guess there’s so much instant information today that we get somehow desensitized to all of these wars we’re fighting. Back then there was one report a day- a death scorecard every night that told us who allegedly won the war that day.