1968

I Had a Dream…back in 1968

Growing up in a small town of only about 2000 people, you pretty much get to know everyone. The population of the town I live in has hovered around that number for most of the 61 years I have been alive, and I have been associated with it. The people change of course, old people die and are replaced by new babies. The babies grow up and either work at the mill, or some of them break free and go off to college and end up in other parts of the world. But still the population is about the same.

I started off in grammar school in 1956, and there were about 50 of us in the first grade. We had three classes with about 17 or 18 each in the classes. We graduated 52 people in 1968. An ultra small Senior class for sure. And 1968 doesn’t seem all that long ago to me. It’s a relatively long time ago though. I was watching the golf tournament last week and Phil Michelson won. I thought, to myself that he is getting on up there in age to win a tournament. Then, when they said he was born in 1970, I did a double take. I had a daughter born in 1970.…so I am old enough to be Phil Michelson’s Dad…ouch.

Today, I feel really old. I have done a little painting the last couple of days and it has worn me out. I thought I felt pretty well this morning, so I went about my usual things…walking around trade day etc. I thought I was pretty energetic, but I was wrong. This evening I feel like I have been dragged behind a car for a couple of miles. I used to shake these kinds of things off a few years ago like a Water Spaniel shaking off some pond water. Now, I think I am like an OLD Spaniel. Ahh, but I know 61 is not too late to get back into decent physical shape, so I am REALLY trying, losing some weight and such.

But, in any case, I was thinking about my Senior class again. We usually try to meet a couple of times a year for a meal and to rehash old times. The only thing is, the last few times we have met, we have discussed members of our graduating class who have died in between our meetings. We were, and are a close knit class. Most all of us went all the way through those twelve years together, and it’s troubling when these people who you picture as youngsters start falling by the wayside. Heart attacks, cancer, car wrecks. This can’t be happening can it?

I once had a dream back in the 60’s that I would be the LAST member of my class to be left alive. Really, I did! I can’t remember too many details about it other then the vaguest memory that I was some kind of ancient decrepit man. And I was alone. That’s the thing I remember the most about the dream, was the being alone. Now I know, dream interpreters would say I was having a dream about the teenage feelings of isolation I was going through, but I don’t know about that. How many dreams do you remember from when you were a teenager?? That’s what I thought!! I am pulling for the rest of my Senior class to live long and happy lives, with many grandchildren. That way, if the dream was true, then I am going to get over this fatigue!

Speaking of changing things, what things about your life would you change, if you could go back and change something? If you had the power to change ONE thing that happened in the past to you or to someone else because of you, what would it be?

That would be the most powerful ability any of us were ever given, if by some magic we had it bestowed upon us. I can think of several. But, the thing about the ability to change that ONE thing would be the ramifications of changing it.

I know we ALL have heard about the ripple effect. Where you throw the tiny pebble out in the middle of the still waters of a little pond, and watch the ripples spread out from where the pebble has hit. They eventually go out to the very edge of the pond itself albeit by that time they are very negligible and barely visible. But, near where the pebble has hit, they are much stronger.

I have though about things that I could have done which would have changed my life. I am not going to name them though. The fact is that what I did is what I did and it caused pain sometimes and happiness sometimes. Sometimes just to me, and sometimes to others. I would be petrified with fear to change any of these things in the past, even if I could, because I might come back to future and find that I didn’t like what I had done.

The best thing for me to do then is to make sure I make better choices in the years I have left. I would advise everyone to try and do that. You know that we can make better choices. It’s all a matter of thinking about things logically, taking the time to sort them out and not jumping into them without a lot of careful thought. Now, I am not talking about deciding what to have for supper! I don’t think that will affect us that much, unless we decide to eat Peanut butter and Banana sandwiches with Mayo, or something. What I am talking about are the decisions that have that ripple effect. The ones that can cause other people or our self’s that pain or happiness I was just talking about.

I have to be very careful, because I often open my mouth and speak before my brain has a chance to process what I am going to say. I act hastily sometimes. I act impulsively and irrationally sometimes. Why do I do all of that? Why do any of us do that? I wish I had a dollar for every time I should have kept my mouth shut, don’t you?

Along with trying to get back in to physical condition, I think I am going to try my best to treat other people the way I would want to be treated. That’s how we should do it, regardless of what anyone else might tell you. Now…if I can JUST get a good night’s sleep tonight…..

1988

1988 was a good year for me. I went to work in February of that year for a company in Calhoun, Georgia as Quality Control Supervisor for their Dalton, Ga. plant. I was thirty eight years old that year. My kids were still all living at home, and all in school here in Trion. There was a lot going on. Paula went to work at the same company a few months later, and for the next 10 years we commuted out and back from Trion to Calhoun to work. We went out to lunch with each other pretty much every day, and saw each other quite a bit during the course of the work day. It was a really good situation for us, and a really good time, in my life.

Because we were working out of town, there was a lot of pressure on our three children to take care of themselves until we got home in the evening. Kirsten being the oldest, was designated pretty much as the “range boss” There were epic battles, but they were survived. On weekends I always tried my best to do something with the boys. We went to a lot of baseball card shows, comic book shows, and hot wheels shows. Back then, that’s how you got collectible stuff. There was no internet yet, believe it or not.

We had a lot of spaghetti and meat sauce, salmon patties, and fish sticks during those days. We eventually graduated to some different types of meals, but those three things were staples of our existence.

We started out the year with Reagan as President and ended it up with Bush Sr. It wasn’t too contentious of an election as I remember…with one of the most memorable moments being when Sen. Loyd Bentsen of Texas, who was running as V.P. told Dan Quayle that he “knew John Kennedy, and you aren’t any John Kennedy” …and he wasn’t

There was a lot of stress which came along with my job, but looking back now with 20-20 hindsight it was a great year, and led to a great decade.

I could go on and on…but maybe another day. Suffice it to say, that my mind has drifted back just a bit today and I wanted to share. Hope everyone else can remember what they were doing in 1988! (if you were around and kicking)