FOML4 is graduating from High School tomorrow. His big day has brought back memories of what was happening in my life, and the world, back when I graduated from High School.
Not really. I hardly remember anything from that day in May of 1979.
I’m sure my commencement speakers would be devastated to know that I don’t have the faintest recollection of what they said – or who was saying it. I vaguely member attending. Ia tribute it to getting older and/or apathy. Most of my graduating class would attribute it to being stoned or drunk.
I do remember wearing a bright orange graduation cap and gown that I’m sure you could see from space. Our school colors were orange and black – the girls got to wear black. It’s slimming, you know.
Thanks to the internet, I was able to go back and relearn my circumstances from that era. It isn’t all pretty. For example:
The #1 song in the country on that day was “Reunited,” by Peaches and Herb. (One more week, and I would have been typing “Hot Stuff,” by Donna Summer.)
Somewhat unfortunate, considering 1979 brought us things like “My Sharona,” “Renegade,” and “Sultans of Swing.” (Full list here) I think it bothers my kids that rap’s first big song “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugarhill Gang, took rap mainstream when I was still a kid. And I am old!
One good thing about the music in 1979 is that – if you listened closely – you could hear the beginnings of the death rattle of disco. Some of us had already moved on to New Wave and were to the point where the Bee Gee’s were causing us to break out in hives.
A few weeks after I graduated, Sony released the first Walkman. It was crazy cool. And if you had a couple hundred dollars, you could get one! If you weren’t there, you have no appreciation of how the Walkman changed our relationship to music.
As far as movies go, the top box office when I graduated was the original “Alien.” Yikes. That was scary stuff. I don’t thinkI told my parents I saw that one. I did tell them that I saw “The Muppet Movie” a few weeks later. Strikingly different movies.
Oscar winner that year? “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Some of my favorites from that year? “Breaking Away,” and of course, “Rocky II.” “The China Syndrome,” came out that year, and ironically, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant melted down, freaking out most of the world.
The top TV shows were a wee bit more innocent back then: “Laverne and Shirley,” “That’s Incredible” and “60 Minutes.” The top new shows that year were ‘The Facts of Life.” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Thankfully, they were both offset by Erin Gray’s riveting portrayal of Wilma in “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” (Cut me some slack – I was 17!) Meanwhile, my parents watched “Knot’s Landing.” To this day, I still do not know why.
1979 was during the Carter administration. There was a lot of angst. Inflation was at 11% There were gas shortages where people would have to line up and wait for hours on the hope of getting gas.
If you did get gas, the price was a staggering 86¢ a gallon! Can you believe it! Of course, two years earlier, when I got my license, it was around 51¢. Mind you, I didn’t need much gas, as I was driving my mother’s blue Datsun 510 station wagon. Yeah, I was ballin, but felt better than those who drove Ford Pintos that could explode at any moment. (Danny: Did I use “ballin” correctly? Wouldn’t want to embarrass you, you know.)
This was the First Presidency n 1979:
Presidents Spencer W. Kimball, Marion G. Romney, and N. Eldon Tanner. I still think back to President Kimball as “my” prophet. And yes, we did have color photography then. Thanks for asking.
1979. I DO remember one thing about graduation: I was so ready to be done with Scottsdale High School, that when we threw our caps in the air, I never went and found mine afterwards.
But I do still have my yearbook.
Congrats to my son. May his memories be happy and not include Peaches or Herb.