Friday, July 17, 2009

When I Was 10 Years Old

Last Monday I wrote a post titled The Things That Shape Our Points of View, which looked at two different ways of understanding how particular people look at the world. In researching that post I ran across a third proposed system, but - of course, being a geezer-in-training, I didn't write down where I found it, and so can't remember. You'll just have to take my word for it.

According to this system of estimating one's worldview, our perceptions and opinions of the world around us are shaped by the time we are ten years old, the benchmark year being the year we reach the double-digits. I was born in 1951, and turned the magic ten in 1961...what happened that year to shape Bilbo's view of the world? In 1961:

Cuban exiles backed by the United States invaded Cuba in an unsuccessful (disastrous, actually) attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. History records this event by the name of the site of the abortive invasion: the Bay of Pigs. The lesson: plan well, plan realistically, and think twice before doing something hugely stupid.

The Berlin Wall was built in an attempt by the government of East Germany to stem the huge exodus of its citizens to freedom in West Berlin. Twenty years later, as a young Captain in the Air Force, I was stationed in West Berlin and working with those who managed to escape over, under, or around The Wall.

President Kennedy established the Peace Corps. I've always thought that while military power is good, it needs to be augmented by so-called "soft power" that shows the generous and idealistic side of America. For some reason, our government doesn't seem to be particularly interested in my opinion.

Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in space. Ever since then, I've been fascinated with space travel and a big fan of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and similar shows and movies.

Bob Dylan (real name: Robert Zimmerman) was discovered by a Columbia Records representative, singing in a club in Greenwich Village. If anyone out there can explain the more bizarre lyrics of his song "Shelter from the Storm" ("...and the one-eyed undertaker, he blows his futile horn/come in, she said, I'll give ya/shelter from the storm"), I'm listening.

The civil rights movement continued to grow in the American South, with the Freedom Riders drawing national attention to segregation in Alabama. I learned very early in life that there are lots of good reasons not to like someone...and that race isn't one of them. There are large numbers of blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians that I can't stand, generally because stupidity is not dependent on race, religion, or gender.

So, what happened in the world when YOU were ten years old?

Time to get ready for work. Today's goal is to make it to 9:00 PM so that I can enjoy an evening of dancing, which is much more fun than sitting in a cramped office, rearranging electrons on a hard drive for the greater glory of the U.S. Air Force. The latter activity does, however, pay the bills.


Have a good day. Tomorrow is Cartoon Saturday - be here.



KKTSews said...

I'm known in my family for having a good memory, but I cannot place events of my tenth year exactly. So...surely there is a website that has "major historical events" by year?

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire! & I only know this because of the media! I was 10 in 1984

bandit said...

I was 10 in 1963 and after reading here my 1st thought was JFK. We were in music class and Miss Wakefield announced that the president was shot. I remember going home and my mother was crying while preparing supper.
Seems like yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Provides year by year history.

Eminence Grise

Melissa B. said...

I think LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act was the big one. But 1964 dawed just a couple months after JFK's assassination, and I've always thought of that event as having a lasting impact on my life, even though I was only 9. And, on a lighter note, the British Invasion...Beatles all the way, baby!

Anonymous said...

1953: I know, we're talking ancient history; it was a pivotal year in the Cold War, because Stalin and the Rosenbergs both died on behalf of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and not coincidentally, the Soviets tested an H-bomb, the Korean War ended in a stalemate with which we still live, Eisenhower becamse president and ushered in an era for which the wise are nostalgic and which the foolish deride as "square," we practiced "duck & cover" in our school classes, since we lived only 10 miles from a prime target, NYC, Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest, led up the hill by Tenzing Norkay, Watson & Crick forever changed biology by publishing their dissertation on DNA, and later gaining the Nobel Prize, which Ernest Hemingway won that year for literature.

I believe the theorist was correct, this year was pivotal as I grew up, but which year of the world has not been pivotal, since day one?

Certainly there is some connection between my 10 year old companions and I playing war every day after school during a time of war, and my becoming a career military man? Did Watson & Crick's discovery help push me into majoring into a subset of biology in college? Perhaps. Surely the relative peace and prosperity of that year, modified by true anxiety whether nuclear war would become personal in an instant helped shaped my character and view of the world.

Eminence Grise

Mike said...

I went to and found this.

September 13 – The hard disk drive is invented by an IBM team led by Reynold B. Johnson.

This is still affecting my life.

fiona said...

January 30th 1972 - Bloody Sunday
I went to wikipedia too and the whole year was full of violence...
Maybe why I'm a pacifist?

Leslie David said...

1966. Here's some of the major news:

France withdraws its forces from NATO. President De Gaulle visits the USSR (June 20).

Medicare begins (July 1).

Supreme Court decides Miranda v. Arizona, protecting rights of the accused.

The first Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap," is broadcast on September 8. The plot concerns a creature that sucks salt from human bodies.

CBS backs out of plans to broadcast Psycho, deeming the movie too violent for at-home viewing.

A Man for All Seasons
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
A Man and a Woman

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: Collected Stories of
Katherine Anne Porter, Katherine Anne Porter

Academy Award, Best Picture: The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, producer (Twentieth Century-Fox)

Record of the Year: "A Taste of Honey," Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

The Food and Drug Administration declares "the Pill" safe for human use

Montgomery Clift
Walt Disney