And where am I? I am actually sitting in my Nonny chair in my living room, laptop on my lap, coffee on the end table, GMA news on the TV, but with my mind on the road to Wisconsin. My three sisters and one brother are all on their way to a great aunt's funeral, but I am not. Oh, I certainly had plans to go also, but last night after supper, I developed a headache and a stomach issue. It wasn't long before I knew that the 4 hour trip wasn't going to happen, and notified the sisters to head out without me this morning. I am missing not only the time with my sisters, but the opportunity to visit with my second cousins, my aunt and cousins, and long time friends. I am feeling better this morning, but still nursing a bit of a headache.
But that's not exactly what I mean by where I am today. What I'm talking about is where my mind is residing these days. It is in 1961! A few days ago I wrote that I was working on my high school reunion gathering taking place next month. I have sent out a questionnaire and am gathering the resulting info into a little booklet to give everyone at our Saturday evening dinner. And in doing so, I am reminded of so many things that happened fifty years ago! The memories involving our little close knit high school class are overtaking my whole life these past few days, and I feel I'm living in the past. In 1961 to be exact.
So yesterday I started researching the top events of 1961. Some of these things are ingrained in my mind, some of them are long forgotten, but all came back loud and clear as I googled them and read about them. Of course we all remember (or those of us who are OLD remember) that John F. Kennedy was our president. The population of the US was less than 184 million, and the national debt was 292.6 billion! A first class postage stamp was 4 cents and unemployment was 5.5%. This next fact got me......The Berlin Wall was built! Thank goodness that's gone now! The Bay of Pigs took place, the US broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, OPEC was constituted, and the Soviet Union put Yuri Gagarin into orbit, followed by our own first astronaut, Alan Shepard, taking his first ride 116 miles high on his 302 mile trip into space. I remember! Yes, I remember each of these things! Especially vivid is the first space shot. Our school at the time was a 4 year high school and a 2 year junior college, with dorms, a recreation room, and one TV set! I remember we were excused from class to go to the rec room to peer at a snowy black and white TV screen to watch the huge news story - the United States was entering the space race - starting out in second place to the Soviet Union who had already put Yuri Gagarin into orbit.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dag Hammarskjold, and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction went to Harper Lee for her one and only book, To Kill a Mockingbird, which to this day remains one of my most beloved books.