As Time Goes By – Anniversaries to Reflect On

May 27, 2009

The year 2009 for me is a time of reflection. Recently I turned 60 years of age. Part of attaining that age for me has been reflecting on my life so far. For many years I’ve been a history buff and amateur genealogist. Because of this it’s natural for me to look back on life’s victories and defeats. Here are some of the significant anniversaries in my 60th year, 2009.

  • 60 years of paradise on earth, May 1949 to 2009.
  • 40 years in the full-time work world, June 1969 to 2009.
  • 34 years since I married, for the first time, 1975 to 2009.
  • 31 years of fatherhood, 1978 to 2009.
  • 23 years since end of first marriage.
  • 10 years with the love of my life, Cindy.

The victories have far outweighed the defeats. Life is good. Now if I can just hang around for another 30 or 40 years.

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Remember When – 1949

August 10, 2008

On my recent trip I stopped at a Country Crock, you know the ones with the general store in the front.

They have a series of short little booklets called “Remember When” for every year. I picked the one for the year I was born 1949. Fascinating read.

Now while I certainly don’t remember much because I was just a little one, it is the era I came from so it was neat to find out about those times.

Here are some of the gems from my copy.

 

  • First Polaroid camera available and sold for $89.95
  • RCA perfects a system for broadcasting color TV
  • Volkswagen Beetles introduced in the US
  • President of the United States is Harry Truman
  • Life expectancy in 62.9 years
  • United States postage stamp to mail a letter was 3c
  • Gasoline was 17c per gallon
  • Movie ticket was 60c
  • Average rent $70 per month
  • New car was $1,420
  • New House was $7,450
  • Average income $2,959 per year
  • Bread 14c a loaf
  • Milk 84c a gallon
  • Eggs 24c a dozen

I’ll leave it for you to decide it they were the good old days. I personally think not.


Travel Writing with Emotion

May 4, 2008

The May 2008 issue of The Writer magazine has some fantastic articles on writing. One of the best is “Step by Step: A Fresh Eye and Busy Feet Make a Travel Writer” by John Smolens.

In this article he offers some out of the box ideas for writing about travel. He suggests making incidents during a trip into an article. The idea is to narrow the focus, avoid the chronological technique, and write about one moment that really strikes you for whatever reason. Emotion and fiction writing techniques should be employed according to Smolens to make the account of your experiences stand out.

I have traveled to Washington, D.C. on a couple of occasions. As a history writer it was one of my favorite and most interesting places to explore. To try out Smolens’s idea I have taken one moment on the trip and attempted to let my emotions and personal thoughts roll onto the page. The result is a short non-conventional travel story. Here it is,


(Above: Incredible photo by Josh Lane, Chicago, used with permission. Check out his Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshlane/)

“End of Innocence

The flame flickered gently in the cool summer breeze. As I watched silently my mind traversed the years.

I was a fourteen-year old high schooler at the time. Even then I was hooked on history and loved reading everything I could. I was lucky to have had a couple of history teachers who could make it come alive.

It was Friday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. and some of us had just come in from a physical education class outside. I remember coming in and being asked to sit on benches in the hall. It seems the principal had an announcement to make.

As those unbelieveable words came over the public address system that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas, I was in shock. Not sure how to react some of us kidded around, then looked sheepishly at each other and silence ruled.

Now I was at his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery standing among a crowd of strangers. Like me they were quietly reflecting. We weren’t strangers in this moment. Even the young children with no idea of the event, sensed the silent reverence of their parents. As my eyes traveled over the words engraved below the flame, “John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1917 – 1963”, the sense of loss was overwhelming. Here was a man I didn’t know other than through television and newspapers, but I felt like he was a friend. I missed him so much. I reached out and gently placed my hand on the stones imbedded in the site.

My mind replayed the graphic images over and over. Kennedy slumping forward, the gore of the kill shot, and his wife retrieving his brain matter from the trunk of the Lincoln. On that sunny November day a wife lost her husband, a young daughter and son lost their father. It was the end of my innocence.”
#### Steve B. Davis, May 2008

I found this experience eye-opening to say the least. I intend to try it out again. Look back through your souvenirs and photos of trips and have a try at this technique. Many thanks to John Smolens for the article.


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