Even I don't always agree with my opinion

 

The Sixties

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Posted March 1, 2008 by jim young in Lifestyle

– jim young

Young people with whom I am acquainted sometimes ask me, "What were the sixties like?" And I have to answer, "How the hell would I know? I only lived through the sixties." But I don’t think anybody that either makes history (which I didn’t) or lives through a period of history (which I did) can be objective enough to ever give a valid perspective of what really happened. You’re either too young, too old, too involved or too disconnected to really understand what it was all about.

But from my perspective, however valid or invalid, since you asked, and even if you didn’t – here it is. How you perceive the sixties would largely depend on where you lived. The sixties in Chicago was very different from the sixties in San Francisco. The sixties in Alabama wouldn’t compare with the sixties in Liverpool, England. And the sixties in Viet Nam had absolutely nothing in common with the sixties in a small town in Ontario, Canada, which is where I spent the sixties.

Your view of the sixties would also depend on whether you were black or white, red or yellow, a green Martian from outer space that the media began reporting mass sightings of, or completely invisible such as those that started filling the mental hospitals from cultural and social breakdowns (and too much acid) that began sweeping the western world. And then, of course there were the hundreds of thousands of others that lived through the sixties without ever realizing anything much different was even happening.

And for the record, the sixties didn’t begin on January 1, 1960 and didn’t end on December 31, 1969. The exact beginning and ending of the sixties will be disputed by future historians, but will likely never be truly established. The Kent State University Massacre of May 4, 1970 was just as much a part of the sixties as was Bill Haley and the Comets’ 1955 hit "Rock Around The Clock."

I experienced the sixties in Canada during the mid sixties to the early seventies. The sixties in Canada was like sitting in a room full of pot heads smoking joints. You got the high from the second hand "smoke" in the room without ever having to experience the burning sensation in your throat from actually taking a toke of the joint. Does that remind you of any Presidents you might have heard of?

Of course I actually was high through much of the sixties (mentally, if not physically). And that was what made the sixties so great. It was (even if only by the power of suggestion) the "Age of Aquarius" that spawned the "Summer of Love" in 1967.

But it was also a time of hatred and racism . . .
. . . and irony.

The June and Ward Cleavers and Ozzie and Harriet Nelsons had raised children that would seemingly rebel against their principles and ideals. Of course it wasn’t so much the Cleavers’ or the Nelsons’ that the kids were rebelling against as much as it was parents of kids like Eddie Haskell. The children of the sixties just realized that most of their parents weren’t June and Ward or Ozzie and Harriet and unlike their TV counter parts, their parents couldn’t resolve all of life’s simple everyday problems in a half hour time frame.

The sixties? "It was the best of times – it was the worst of times . . . " as Dickens might have described it. Or as my father would say, "the greatest thing about the human mind is that it tends to minimize the pain of the past and maximize the pleasures."

And that’s how I remember the sixties – for the most part.

– 30 –


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