Today... is my birthday!
Today... I am 60!
I've been alive for 21,915 days. Oh my, that is six decades I have lived.
Six decades of not only what I've lived through in my own life, but all that has happened in the world during that time.
My dad told me it was snowing that Tuesday when I was born. Indeed, it was. And the temperature in the middle of that day was only 16.3°F and the winds were blowing around 34mph. (Today's weather is supposed to be a high of 54°F and sunny with gusty winds of 10-25mph.)
My Grandma Dessenberger told me that my parents were beginning to lose hope that they'd ever have children. My mama was 28 and my dad was 31 when they had me. (And two years later there was my brother.)
I came across several interesting 1957 facts (interesting to me, anyway)...
• Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story opened on Broadway.Some events and other memories in later decades that I recollect from my lifetime so far...
• Loving You and Jailhouse Rock were released in the U.S. starring Elvis Presley; the former of the two was his first starring role. This was also the year that he bought Graceland, his famous estate in Memphis, Tennessee.
• The Bridge on the River Kwai premiered in the United Kingdom. The film would go on to win Best Picture at the 30th Academy Awards in 1958.
• Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time in Liverpool, England; the meeting occurred three years before The Beatles were formed.
• One of my still-favorite television shows (as reruns, of course) made its debut on CBS - Leave It To Beaver.
• The United States President was Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President was Richard M. Nixon.
• Good golly, postage stamps were 3¢... a gallon of gas was 24¢... a loaf of bread was 19¢... the average annual income was $4,494.
• I remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. The teacher from the classroom next to the one I was in came in crying, carrying the transistor radio she'd been listening to; she spoke briefly to our teacher, and then broke the news to our class that "the President has been assassinated." Being so young (ages 5 and 6), most of us didn't understand what that meant at the time.A lot of things can happen in sixty years. Some good, some bad. But the best memory that has ever happened was when I turned my life over to Christ.
• The year of 1965 is etched into my mind because of all the news surrounding the beginning of the Vietnam War.
• I can recall my Grandma Dessenberger discussing with my mama the start of a new national health insurance program called Medicare (began July 1, 1966). And now I'm getting ever closer to signing up for it myself (Jerry has been on it for a while due to all of his disabilities).
• Clearly, one event that is a big memory for me and millions of others was the moon landing on July 20, 1969. The Apollo 11 Mission was a national goal that had been set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 for the crew to perform a lunar landing and then return to earth.
• I can still see the images in my mind from the news on television in May 1970 that was rife with reports about the four students at Kent State University in Ohio slain by National Guardsmen at a demonstration protesting the incursion into Cambodia on May 4.
• M.A.S.H. started its run on television in 1972. My dad and I would sit and watch that show together for many years to come. To this day, Jerry and I watch episodes over and over and over.
• In 1972-1973, I was a sophomore in high school. The only reason I can remember January 1972 is because I had so many friends in high school who were openly crying at school the day after the ceasefire was signed in Paris ending the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. So many had lost family members and friends.
• Everyone thought it was pretty fantastic when VCRs were being developed.
• I was mesmerized watching Gone With The Wind and Roots for the first time on television.
• I specifically remember the deaths of Elvis Presley (1977), Princess Grace (1982), Jackie Kennedy Onassis (1994), Frank Sinatra (1998), and Charles Schulz (2000).
• The first space shuttle Enterprise in a test glide.
• All my friends just had to have a Sony Walkman when they came out on the market.
• The first president I voted for was Ronald Reagan.
• What a devastating feeling it was when John Lennon (The Beatles) was shot.
• I wasn't too sure about the first CDs.
• The tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and then several years later the re-entry break-up of space shuttle Columbia.
• "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" ...from a speech given by President Ronald Reagan in Berlin, Germany.
• I was excited when I was introduced to desktop publishing which would eventually lead the way into my self-taught home-based career of web development and graphics design.
• The Chernobyl nuclear accident had more than a few people in the world sitting on edge with worry.
• My dad bought our first color television set when I was in junior high school.
• The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was our region's first real introduction to terrorism.
• Astronaut John Glenn going back into space at age 77 showed us all that you can still do important things later in life.
• The 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. was like a punch in the stomach. I remember how utterly quiet the world became in those first moments and hours when everyone realized what this might represent for the future.
• The broad-daylight art robbery of the Zurich Museum was both fascinating and incredible in the way those fellows pulled it off.
• Victims of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti (2010), Chile (2010), and Japan (2011) will be dealing with the effects for decades to come.
• I watched – on whatever computer I had at the time – the rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners after spending 68 days trapped in a mine half a mile underground.
• I've enjoyed the televised Royal Family weddings, even though only for admiring the fashions.
• The Joplin, Missouri and Oklahoma City area tornadoes were so frightening because we have family in all those places that were hit – thankfully all alive but a couple of my cousins' families lost everything.
• The tragic deaths of 20 children and 6 staff members in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut broke every heart in the country. Summed up in my son's words on Facebook that day: "I just want to go home and hug my children and never let them go."
• The meteor debris that killed 1,000 and injured 1,500 in Siberia, Russia.
• And good grief, these past couple years of everything political.
P.S. I want to say Happy Birthday! to one of my blog readers – Mary Ann – who shares this birth date of January 22nd with me!