Here is a bit of a perspective for my fellow members of the Cumberland High School Class of 1974.
The President of the United States was Richard Nixon, until August 9th, and then Gerald Ford after Nixon resigned due to the Watergate hearings. Ford pardoned Nixon. Both Ford and Nixon are dead
The Soviet Union was intact, armed with nuclear weapons, and still our sworn enemy. Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin was the premier. He is dead
There were no cell phones, internet, or cable television
We landed on the moon for the first time 5 years before in 1969 and for the last time in 1972. Only 12 men have ever walked on the moon. We have not been back since nor do we have a real timeline for returning.
The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst. She later joined them and participated in a series of bank robberies. She is now 61.
Muhammed Ali fought George Frazier in the Rumble in the Jungle. Ali is 73 Foreman is 66.
A gallon of gas was $.55
The speed limit was changed to 55 to conserve gasoline.
President Ford announced an amnesty for Vietnam War deserters and draft evaders.
The Kootenai Native American Tribe in Idaho declares war on the United States. It settled peacefully. The only time a war was declared and resolved without a shot being fired or anyone killed.
The World Population: 4 billion. (now 7 billion)
India successfully tests a nuclear weapon. They become the 6th Nuclear power. (There are 9 now, 15923 total estimated nuclear warheads in the world as of 2015)
The first MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is developed.
After 84 days in space, the American astronauts aboard Skylab return to earth.
A 3.2 million year-old hominid skeleton, 40% complete, is found in Ethiopia. She is named Lucy. Dr. Johanson, the paleontologist who found her, says he named her for the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
The pocket calculator goes on sale. (I got one as a graduation present, it cost my parents 84$)
Bar codes are used for the first time.
Salty Brine was still on WPRO announcing “No school, Foster Gloucester.”
Movies of 1974
The Sting, The Exorcist, Blazing Saddles (my favorite), Serpico, Death Wish
#1 Song of 1974
The Way We Were
Time in a Bottle, Hooked on a Feeling, Band on the Run, Can’t Get Enough of You Babe, Kung Fu Fighting
(How many of you sang these songs as you read them?)
1974 holds the record for the most #1 Billboard hits in one year, 35.
Kojak, The Price is Right, The Six Million Dollar Man
Here’s one that may bring some of you to tears
Born in 1974:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Alanis Morrisette. Jimmy Fallon, Victoria Beckham
So why the walk down memory lane? The end of a year lends itself to a momentary review of things. A recap of the path of our lives. We have come a long way from 1974, some of those class members didn’t have the opportunity to reach 2015.
As time moves on, as the year changes from 2015 to 2016, as we all approach our 60th birthdays, I thought I would remind us of where were all those years ago, the events that shaped us, and, more importantly, get us all to make the most of the time we have left.
The reality of life is that most of us will not be around when a Cumberland High School Class of 2016 graduate writes a similar memoir of his or her graduation year. It is important for all of us to be mindful of today and use the time we have wisely.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year, I apologize for reminding those of you trying to ignore the significance of 2016 age-wise, and hope you all have many more memories yet to create and cherish.