3 Things I Remember About: 1971

This is the 7th part is a series.

Antique Acres 1971 A-717401

(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.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1970

Astrodome 1970-777359

(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.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1969

This is the fifth in a series.

(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.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1968

This is the fourth in a series.


(1) I was in Mrs. Rivers’ third grade class at Cheraw Primary School. When we misbehaved, we had to stay in the classroom during recess (by far our favorite part of the day) and write “I will not do [bad act] again” 100 times on a sheet of paper. One day just after I finished writing what I would no longer do 100 times and was headed for the door, the bell rang, signaling the end of recess. Without thinking, I said a word I had heard an older kid use. I had no idea what the word meant, but as soon as I said it, all hell broke lose. I was sent to the principal’s office to wait as both of my parents were called to an impromptu conference. It was the infamous “f word.” I can’t recall if I was told what it meant at the time, but I knew for sure that I shouldn’t say it again within earshot of a teacher.

(2) I distinctly remember when Robert Kennedy was assassinated on TV. I am not certain if I was watching it as it happened or watching as it was replayed later in the day. I do know that I was the one who told my grandfather about it.

(3) And of course the defining event that year was my dad’s death on November 14. I wrote a little about that day in Five Days in April.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1967

This is the third in a series.


(1) My sister graduated from High School. She was the goody two-shoes of the family and I would later be asked by many of our mutual teachers why I couldn’t behave as well as she did. I got in more trouble, but bet I had a lot more fun!

(2) I went with my dad to see my sister at college. She was a freshman at Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. When dad and I were walking down a dormitory hall, we had to keep yelling “Man in the hall!” so naked co-eds wouldn’t accidently appear. Fortunately I was too young to think about what might happen if I forgot to yell that.

(3) I used to spend some afternoons at my dad’s Ford Dealership. The salesmen liked to advise me how to negotiate for a bigger allowance (in hindsight almost certainly to annoy my dad). I recall successfully negotiating for 55 cents a week (up from 50 cents) and thinking I had hit it big.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1966

This is the second in a series. Part 1 is here.


(1) I was a robot in my kindergarten play. My dad made a costume out of a cardboard box, a hat box and some wrapping paper tubes. That costume remained in my mom’s attic until she died in 1998.

(2) I started first grade at Cheraw Primary School, in Mrs. Lawrimore’s class. I remember nervous about starting “real” school. Whit Fowler must have been nervous too. He threw up on my arm before I even made it into the classroom.

(3) Someone drug me to see The Sound of Music, and the scars still haven’t healed. I really, really don’t like that movie. I honestly believe that my continuing distaste for musicals originates from that one movie.

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3 Things I Remember About: 1965

I’m going to start an occasional series of the most significant things I remember from each year. It may take me a long time to get from the earliest years I can remember until today, but I’ll give it a shot. I would love it if others would add their lists via the comments or a trackback.

I was born in 1960. I have a few scattered memories from pre-1965, but 1965 is the first year that my memories can be definitively associated with a year, so here goes:

(1) I went to kindergarten at The Little Red Schoolhouse. Someone went potty in one of the play structures on the playground. I believe it was in the Shoe (as in the old lady who lived in a shoe), but it may have been in the Daniel Boone Hut. It was a huge scandal. It wasn’t me and I don’t think I ever knew who it was. Nor do I know if the teachers ever discovered the culprit.


(2) I had perhaps my best Christmas as a youngster ever that year. I got a racetrack, a little round pool-table game and this neat golf game, which my dad and his friends played a lot.

(3) I remember regularly watching two TV shows with my dad. The first is The Honeymooners, which must have been in reruns, since it only aired as a separate show during the 1955-56 season. The second, and my favorite, was Combat. We watched Combat together for years. In fact, reruns are still shown on the Encore Action channel on DirecTV, and I still watch it once in a while.

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