Some people try to capture, record and document their lives in pictures. Their photo albums run from baby pictures through adolescence, school days and on through the many events and changes of what is quite often an active and adventures life.
Moments full of fun, excitement, pride and happiness fill their pages and are there to look back on and savor.
To open that album is to recall those days of pleasure. It brings back forgotten memories, smiles, and maybe a tinge of sadness that those moments in time have all slipped away.
Like paragraphs and pages of a book, life is a continues series; snapshots of place, time and events.
I remember the sixties. I know some people who lived through them but can only recall bits and pieces of those strange and unusual times.
This could be due to all the drugs, wild and crazy hippie days, psychedelic experiences, free love and all the comedown or resultant consequences thereafter.
It’s not a simple and easy task to change the world and make it all bright cheerful and groovy. It’s especially difficult to accomplish this using only peace, love, flower power and chemicals.
But all of that cultural upheaval, revolution or whatever you wish to call it occurred in the latter half of that decade. The early sixties were just a continuation of the fifties.
Sure there was Elvis, rock n roll and such then. But there was that serious, solid, post-war mentality still lingering. The US population was slowly recovering from the shock and horror of World War Two.
I came to America via TWA in 1961 into Idlewild Airport in New York. (It was later renamed Kennedy Airport).
I was really stunned, shocked and surprised on arrival.
Massive long cars with large shark-like fins were everywhere. Big city, mass confusion, traffic, hustle and bustle; it all stretched for miles and miles in every direction.
And there was that awful cold, that fierce January New York bone chilling cold. What a contrast from the moderate weather, the quiet green, peaceful countryside of my former home in Ireland.
Crew cuts and patriotic songs were in at that time. It was the early electrotonic days of black and white TV and transistor radio. This gradually changed to folk songs then back into soft rock n roll. Then the Beatles came along and changed it all.
Cigarettes were about a quarter per pack back then. A cup of coffee was always a dime. Sodas cost between five and ten cents. A draft beer was fifteen cents, I don’t know how much gasoline was. I was too young to drive. I was fifteen.
“Welcome to America”
I don’t mean to go on about me, me, the world revolves around me, here. I’m just looking at a section of my personal history. First hand accounts of events are much better than later homogenized historical depictions of how things were, or so it seems to me.
My experience was both historical and hysterical, especially so when I started school in the US of A. But that’s another story.
So what, you may ask, does all this have to do with the here and now in our present year of 2019? Why does this appear in the opinion column almost sixty years later and thousands of miles away from that location?
Well it’s just a retrospective view, a few snapshots of a particular point in time. These are some fading memories from someone who thought he would never grow old.
I may never write a novel. However I am the main character in what seems to me like a suspenseful sort of paperback novel lifetime that I’m living through.
Could not the same be said for you dear reader?
The script may not be written out in words on pages. Your life story may not be sorted out and recorded in pictures in photo albums. But it’s all recorded and stored in mental picture form in your memory.
Right up to present time, each moment and event is captured and preserved frozen in a snapshot of time and space.
Here comes another one.
Dan O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org