There's a post on FB about 1968, and what we remember about it. To refresh my memory, I "googled" the year and to my horror saw what a shit-storm it really was. I was only 11 years old, living in a small rural town in a nice new suburb, watching a black and white television which had a screen maybe 12 inches wide. Probably listening to the Monkees sing "Last Train to Clarksville" which was, I think, the first album I ever purchased. The world felt generally safe. Except, except...I remember the killing of MLK, and I remember crying with my mom as we watched that black and white t.v. Mom said something to the effect that there was going to be a lot of civil unrest following this event. No kidding.
And I remember Bobby Kennedy being slain in Los Angeles. My state. I remember being dumbfounded. I remembered the funeral of his brother 5 or 6 years before that, when I was in first grade. I remember thinking, "How much can this family endure?"
I remember the news of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, reported by Walter Conkrite.
Closer to home, I remember standing at the end of our street with neighbor kids, watching the "crop dusters" fly low over the plum orchard, discharging the dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane in billowy clouds that spread wide over the trees. It would be another another 4 years until the DDT would be banned, and it was 6 years after Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. I'm horrified now to understand just how dangerous it was to be outside, within spittin' distance of this dangerous pesticide. We didn't know.
Sometimes I worry about my grand children growing up in these tumultuous and dangerous times. But when I look back at the reality of the times I grew up in, I see that this state of affairs is the norm, not the aberration. We all grew up in dangerous times. Imagine being a kid in Syria. Iraq. Ukraine. Israel. Somalia. Haiti. Myanmar.
Hell, give me the DDT already.