It’s time for the May edition of who cares what the heck was going on in the world 50 years ago. For my new readers, this is a once a month treat, almost as good as a Snickers bar, where I look back at the epic and earth-shattering events that took place in the months leading up to my 1964 birth. And for my dedicated, long-time readers, I can picture you holding a melted Snickers bar while sitting on the edge of a crusty old lawn chair that you dusted off after pulling it out of a spider web-infested corner of your garage in anticipation of the official start of summer and the posting of this blog entry.
For May of 1964, my first inclination was to go general and write about the last of the Baby Boomers turning 50. And how those born between 1946 and 1964 became known for their activism and optimism. And how, despite my tomboyish nature, I lack the acorns, eggs, boys, chicken nuggets and marbles for the former but am enthusiastically hopeful that I have an ample amount of the latter.
Or I could go more specific and write about the famous people who were born in May of 1964 like Stephen Colbert (the new David Letterman), Lenny Kravitz (the artist formerly known as Romeo Blue), Wynonna Judd (originally named Christina Claire Ciminella) and Melissa Gilbert (the woman who could have been Mrs. Lowe, Mrs. Cruise, Mrs. Cusack or Mrs. Idol but instead became Mrs. Brinkman, Mrs. Boxleitner and now Mrs. Busfield – I guess, like me, she adores the B’s – if she could have only gotten Mrs. Scott Baio in there, darn).
I suppose I could also hone in on just one of those famous people, like Melissa Gilbert, a pure Michigander (by choice, not birth), who played my favorite character on Little House on the Prairie – Laura – or as I prefer, her less girly-girl nickname, Half-Pint. And I could include one of my favorite exchanges between Half-Pint and her nemesis:
Nellie Oleson: “Half the time you don’t even smell like a girl. You’re either sweaty or you stink of fish.”
Half-Pint: “Well, I sweat a lot and I fish a lot.
Then there’s always the option of going political. I could remind us all that LBJ outlined his plan for the Great Society during a speech at the University of Michigan on May 22, 1964. Or, even more importantly (and speaking of half-pint) that earlier in the month, the US Congress took time out of their busy schedules to recognize Bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States. Bourbon in a black bag; just some of the many B’s I adore.
Then again, since its Memorial Day weekend, I could talk about how in May of 1964, 12 men publicly torched their draft cards to protest the Vietnam war and how I never could have done that because again, I don’t have the apples, plums, beans or apricots to fuel that activism gene no matter how many generations of fruit farming are in my family.
So maybe I could stick with the Memorial Day theme and reminisce about one of my favorite childhood toys. A tomboy’s dream, G.I. Joe, was introduced by Hasbro in May 1964. I never much cared for Barbie or other dolls where the focus was on hair, make-up, dresses, shoes and other accessories (hmm, seems like nothing has changed for me). G.I. Joe on the other hand had a scar on his cheek, rugged uniforms, a tattoo on his butt and cool gear like helmets, boots and grenades. Doc B. reminded me that later on, G.I. Joe had a real beard and a kung-fu grip. How awesome is that. Sadly, just the other day, G.I. Joe’s father died.
Since I couldn’t make up my mind on this month’s trip down remembrance road, I’ll just close it out with a nod to my Dad and to Doc B.’s dad (my soon-to-be father-in-law whether he likes it or not. I think he’s been through enough in his life that he can handle this “blip” of his daughter getting him an unexpected daughter-in-law). Thank you both for your service and for being good men.