It is the last day of August and the air is more like fall than summer. I’m looking forward to the beginning of September and like fall it has always brought me to a time of renewal. I’m not sure why that it ~ if it’s because of my birthday or if it’s because it was the beginning of a new school year; maybe a combination of both.
This September I hit the grand age of 50. Many of my former classmates who I graduated from high school with have already celebrated that magical number. We have lived half a century, five decades ~ a lot of events occurred during that time, publicly and privately. Writer Fred Kaplan recently published a book titled, 1959: The Year Everything Changed. I haven’t read the book, but I plan to.
Kaplan is a Pulitizer Prize winning author, who writes for Slate magazine. Kaplan highlights events such as
- The Soviet Union’s launch of the Lunik I space capsule
- The musings of Norman Mailer in his book Advertisements for Myself and the creative tension Mailer caused among artists, writers, and filmmakers.
- Coming of the “Beat” generation of Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Williams S. Burroughs. This was the beginning of the “Generation Gap”.
- The so called, “sick comics” such as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl, who mentioned tabu subjects like sex, race, religion, and politics in their comedy shows.
- It was the year of the “missile gap” where Herman Kahn, a physicist and nuclear strategist traveled the United States telling people how to prepare for nuclear war.
- The federal government explores the racial discrimination and Mike Wallace’s documentary, The Hate that Hate Produced, tells the story of the black supremacy movement led by Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam.
We are a generation that grew up in the 60s and became teens in the 70s. It was a world of change. I feel so fortunate to reconnect with so many who traveled the last 50 years with me and who have shared in the many events that made us who we are today personally and publicly.