The times, they are a changin

When I think of my coming of age days, I often think about the quick social and political change that was taking place right under our noses. In my town alone, a small town that consisted of four precincts and a fairly sizable population, there was one full time police officer. There was one police cruiser that also doubled as the town's only ambulance. People would sit on their front porch and say hello to their neighbors and no one ever felt the need to lock their doors.
After the assassination of JFK and the country's increased involvement in Vietnam, authority was being questioned at a level not known since before the Civil War. The political gap, the generation gap, the religious gap; each widened, threatening to devour the unclassified. After the killings of MLK and Bobby K. the gap began to turn into a vortex. Everyone could relate to the rock lyric;

I"d love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I leave it up to you..........

People locked their doors, built decks and hid in their back yards. And me and the boys didn't do anything to help the situation.

In the span of just a few years, from before 1966 until 1968, our police force grew from one into many. Three cruisers and a 24/7 police force. By 1969, there was a ten o'clock curfew on the town for anyone below the age of eighteen. If caught by those who were newly sworn in to protect and to serve, the suspects were brought to the station and the parents of said suspects were then notified.

With the community safely tucked away into bed by ten o'clock on most week nights, we would slip out of our bedrooms before midnight and roam until dawn. Dressed in black, we learned to duck and cover going undetected avoiding capture many times over. As I stood under Al's window using the customary cat call and pebbles at the window, his dad sat at the kitchen table with a quart of Pabst before him. He jumped up and headed out the door leaving no time for escape. I lay nestled beside the house foundation with my face covered by my hands. Peaking through my fingers I could see his size twelve oxfords only inches from where I lay. After a scan of the backyards of suburbia he went back in for a tall cold one, compliments of no one.
As Neil Armstrong walked upon the moon and Creedence was storming America, dress codes were becoming extinct in our public schools and teens were selling marijuana and L.S.D. in the halls.
This created a recipe for stories of death, fun, sex, tripping and violence that amazes me to this day.
Amazes me.
To this day.

Comments

Brendan said…
It's almost surreal how much our world has come under the control of unchecked fear even since I was a kid in the seventies.
Mystic Wing said…
This makes me feel incredibly nostalgic. I remember high school in the early 70s as an absolute frenzy of disobedience and hyperactivity.

By 1980, though, the University of MInnesota—where kids were throwing tear gas cansisters back at cops a few years earlier—was already hosting huge pro-Reagan rallies and welcoming defense contractors onto campus for recruiting parties.

Good thing we have memories.
Tim said…
A couple of Bros.....brendan and MW, eh?
I have been in a mood to write and although I have a book in the works, it is daunting to think of returning to the task. I can relate to the term, "going Hemmingway" (not sure if I made the term up...but every writer knows exactly what I mean) I am close to the halfway point but am tired by the prospect of jumping back in. So, I am leaving these little ditties. Hopefully, they are an enjoyable read!
{illyria} said…
i wish i had something more to look back on. but alas, youth is wasted on the young.
The Phoenix said…
I remember a funny joke from the 80s - which summed it up for young adults at the time.

AIDS and HIV changed the face of sexuality big time in the 80s...

"The 1980s should be called the "Me Generation" because the only person I'm allowed to have sex with is ME!"