Have you been watching the CNN Special on The Seventies?
It brings back a lot of memories of a vitally-important time in my life. Where have the decades gone?
We were so young then, and lived in an era permeated by the belief that “old age” was something that happened to anybody else. It’s still hard to swallow that Father Time marches on, even for us — seemingly leaving his footprints etched right across our faces in his march. We marvel when we hear phrases like “You look pretty good for your age,” or “It’s amazing, all the hiking you can still do,” etc.
Our eternally-youthful Inner Child thinks, “Yo! You talking to ME?” – for we never age in spirit. When my uncle was 80, I recall him telling me that he still felt like age 25 inside. Now I understand what he meant. I can identify with my own internal ever-25 now.
Upon my graduation from Reno High School in June 1968, several of us drove to San Francisco to stay at the lovely Miyako Hotel and see the musical “Hair” which had recently come out. My friend Diane and I shared a room, while three of our guy friends shared a room. That included her boyfriend Mike. He and Bob were in the USMC and getting ready to head off to serve in Vietnam, while Don was entering a lifetime of Merchant Marine service. Can you imagine the reaction when we went to theater and sat in the center middle, with two of the guys wearing their Marine dress uniforms? Oh, that was so not the venue to be showing those off. We could feel the attitudes of other attendees generating intensity in our direction. These were the days of the draft, and if your number came up, well, your reported for duty or ran off to Canada. Those were the main choices available. Few would pass the military test as “conscientious objectors.” Would any of those theater hecklers end up having to go off and fight in the jungles? If so, did they all make it back home? Well, my friends did, but were they ever really the same lads who went over there?
As I now witness subsequent generations going though the horror and shock of war, the maiming and the loss of life, the scars visible and not, it brings back the echoes of our own generation of men, marching off to another seemingly-endless war. We didn’t even have the concept then which is now known as PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – to hang an understanding on when the young men who came home to us seemed so different than the ones we had kissed goodbye a year or two before. And the elders wonder why we cry when lives are ruined and dreams are dashed. So, the veterans live with their flashbacks, while we dreamers ponder “what went wrong?” in those decades so long gone.