Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Welcome back Beth! Things I remember in my lifetime.

I was thinking of all the  events, both in my life, and in the world  that have occurred during the course of my lifetime. Milestones, scientific/medical  breakthroughs, assassination's, U.S./Soviet tensions, the space race, wars, gas embargo's, and on and on. 

I have been lucky to have been to Italy and Sicily twice. The first time was just before first grade back in 1956. I think we stayed two months. How my parents could afford this I haven't a clue. We went with my Uncle Sam and Aunt Lucy. We couldn't fly out of Boston because of a snowstorm so we took a sleeper train to New York City. Not a speck of snow there.

Left to right, Aunt Lucy, my mother and father and me in New York at one of the airports.

Aunt Lucy and my mom on the tarmac getting ready to board the T.W.A. Constellation. I fell in love with this plane so my parents bought me a model of it and I played with it on the flight over the Atlantic. Wish I had it now.
Me on my grandfathers (Moms dad) donkey on his farm. Grandpa is on the left. That's Uncle Sam behind me.

                           Uncle Sam and I on the donkey.
                                                 Still on the farm. Mom and me on the left. I don't know who the first woman seated is but the woman standing next to my mother is her mother, my grandmother (duh!). Then there's my fathers sister, Aunt Mary and my Aunt Lucy.
                                                  My other Grandfather and my aunt in the background.
                                                  My other grandfather holding me, my grandmother to his left and my mother to his right. I  don't know who everybody else is.
I found a few pictures of Sicily and though I have been to Rome and I know there are pictures, I don't have them. I think one of my sisters has them.
I have memories of my (dads fathers) grandfather taking me to his farm on the donkey cart. They tell me I spoke fluent Italian when I got home after two months and sometimes would respond in Italian as I was starting first grade. Very nice memories.
After the United States launched it's first satellite, Echo1, into space in 1958 (the Russians beat us by a year) we would go into the street at night and watch it pass overhead. At least that's what we thought we were looking at.
We would get to watch all the space launches in school for which I am grateful. I also remember being in English class in seventh grade when my teacher, Miss Lendorf's intercom buzzed. She went to answer it with her back to us. Suddenly her shoulders slumped. She turned to us with tears in her eyes. President Kennedy had been shot and killed. Any of us who were around back then will remember the next several days and weeks. It was a solemn and sad time. That's all that was on television and I don't think businesses were open for a few days as well. It was an awful memory for anyone who lived through it.
A little more than a month later those of my generation witnessed the emergence of the Beatles. They had an immense effect on those of my generation and all the groups that emerged in their wake. Two years later there was the band Cream. The first super group from which Eric Clapton emerged as a superstar. The man who got me involved with the guitar. Both he and Paul McCartney are still top draws these days. McCartney just played Fenway Park a couple of months ago. He can still draw 40 to 50 thousand people. Not bad for a 70 year old guy.
I remember the Viet Nam War. I sweated out the draft like everyone else my age. George Wallace, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were shot. King and Kennedy were killed.
I graduated high School in 1969 and immediately grew my hair long which wasn't easy when your father was a barber. After about a month I got to watch man walk on the moon right in my own living room.
Then there are the memories of spending time during many summers at my Uncle Sam's cottage on Cape Cod. We could walk to the ocean in about a minute. What wonderful times those were. Sometimes my cousins and I would go to the beach with shopping bags and collect crabs from the rocks. There were so many of them. We'd bring them back and Aunt Lucy would boil them and we had a ball eating them in the back yard.

The 70's were a lot of fun, at least what I can remember of them if you know what I mean. Many concerts during this time though I thought popular music during my generation was at it's peak during the '60s. Some of those groups got me to appreciate a wide range of music from folk, rock, jazz and classical. I also attended the Berklee School of Music. That didn't work out as a career path but I did enjoy my year and a half there. It was my kind of environment.

I remember the oil embargo's of the early and mid 70's. Gas suddenly doubled in price from about 30 cents to 60 cents. The outrage! The long lines at the pumps. Depending on what number your plate number ended with, you could only by gas on odd or even days and you could only buy $2.00 worth.

Then there were the concerts that I attended. I saw some big name acts at the time. Groups like Mountain, Yes, Jethro Tull, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Grateful Dead, ( boring!), a whole bunch of jazz artists who may not be household names and jazz/fusion groups (jazz fused with rock elements). I didn't go to many concerts in the '80s and '90s but I did get lucky in 2005. I got to see Cream when they reunited after 37 years in New York at Madison Square Garden. They had first played in London at The Royal Albert Hall in  London in May. They were so successful that they scheduled 3 more shows in New York City. I got to see my hero's finally after 37 years. They were just as awesome, or as we say around here "wicked awesome". I got to see Eric Clapton again.

And in recent years I discovered the gem of a place in my own back yard, Martha's Vineyard. There's a reason the Obama's and the Clinton's go and or went there. I am heading back on September 16th for a week. I know I've gone on and on about this place but the only word I can come up with to describe this place is maybe, magical. It's just a wonderful place.

Well thanks for slogging through this disjointed blog. I just wrote things as I thought of them. I had no idea what to write as is pretty much always the case. It was fun looking at all the old pictures and I am surprised that I have many memories of the first trip back in 1956. We went back in 1965. There is a photo album of that trip but I'm not sure who has it. I do remember seeing one American car in that little town in Sicily. It was and early '60s Chrysler New Yorker. It was enormous, maybe 18 or 20 feet long, especially when compared to the little Fiats buzzing around the streets. It took up half the little narrow street it was parked on. It looked so out of place but it was neat to see.

Welcome back Beth. You have been missed.

Well I guess I've taken up enough of your time.
I'm outta here.          



  1. Thank you for the welcome back Paul. I feel so fortunate to be alive and I thank God for it.

    You were such a cute little guy in those pictures!!

    My son was 3 years old when Kennedy was assassinated and he says that he remembers it very well.
    Great post Paul!

  2. Paul, I loved this post. Better than any I have to say. Loved every word and every picture. Took ME back too. Not to Italy and Sicily, mind but back to very similar memories of very sinilar things.

  3. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. Loved this. The pictures were so fun to see.

  4. Your family pictures are awesome and a real treasure. You know where you came from and how you got to be you. Love the blog entirely.

  5. Awesome post Paul enjoyed it all..great photo's what a Treasure. I remember Kennedy's Assassination I was at my Gran's house just after school. Wonderful walk down Memory Lane , thank you for sharing .
    Best Wishes, and yes Welcome Back Beth.