On The Day I Was Born: March 28, 1969
And Then There Was Me
At 6:05 on the morning of Friday, March 28th, 1969, I made my very first appearance on the world stage. I was pink and wrinkly and probably not looking my best, but I wasn't all that concerned with my image at the time. Rather, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the bright lights and large, strange faces grinning at me every waking moment. And probably while I was asleep.
I came into this world the daughter of Edwin and Shirley Coles, in a hospital in Rhode Island and, a day later, went home to the town of North Kingstown near the coast of Narragansett Bay. My parents were in their 40s at the time, and my oldest brother, Mark, 19, was already living in his own apartment. Bruce, 16 years my senior, wasn't long for our house himself, as he'd soon take up residence in a college dormitory.
In fact, I really have no idea what my big brothers were doing the day I was born. Bruce was probably in school and Mark may have been at the Mobil service station where he worked. And come to think of it, other than my parents, who were certainly occupied by my presence three weeks earlier than expected, I don't know what anyone else was up to, either. So I thought I'd do a little research to find out and share that with you here.
Do you know what the world was up to when YOU were born? Let us know in the guestbook at the bottom of this page.
Highlights From The Year I Was Born
A few other things happened in 1969.
There was a lot going on in the world the year I was born, so I've heard. My father became our town's first Recreation Director, and I learned to crawl.
On a side note, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States, and Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel.
The Boeing 747 made its maiden flight not long before the first Concorde test flight was conducted in Toulouse, France.
A week after I was born, Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first temporary artificial heart, and, five months later, the first automatic teller machine in the United States was installed in Rockville Centre, New York.
1969 was the year WalMart incorporated and the first Gap store opened in San Francisco.
The Vietnam war was still going strong, while the Stonewall riots in New York City marked the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S.
Cult members led by Charles Manson murdered Sharon Tate and many others, and Monty Python's Flying Circus made its debut in the U.K. on October 5th.
And the first message was sent over ARPANET, the forerunner of the internet.
Needless to say, 1969 was hardly a dull year.
Also in 1969...
From August 15th through the 18th on a farm in upstate New York, half a million guests showed up for the largest rock concert ever conceived. The crowd included anti-war protesters and Vietnam veterans, gays and lesbians and anti-gays, rednecks and black militants. There were two births and two deaths, and flower children and anti-government advocates were also amongst the attendees. And there were certainly many people there simply to enjoy some great music. Sounds like it was quite the crowd!
On July 16, 1969....
Apollo 11, with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, lifted off toward the Moon. They arrived four days later, setting down in the lunar module Eagle.
Meanwhile, the world was glued to television sets, watching as Neil Armstrong took those first historic steps on the lunar surface.
On July 24th, the astronauts returned to Earth, where they were placed in biological isolation for several days to prevent the potential spread of "lunar germs." Scientists eventually concluded that the airless environment on the Moon was devoid of even microscopic life.
"It is difficult to say what is impossible...
...for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." ~Robert H. Goddard
To my eventual appreciation....
On November 10th, 1969, Sesame Street premiered on the National Educational Television (NET) network. For years, I watched 8-foot, 2-inch tall Big Bird and the rest of the gang educate and entertain. Kermit the Frog and the Cookie Monster were my favorite characters.
On January 30, 1969....
The Beatles gave their last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records. The unannounced concert was broken up by the police. Nearly nine months later, on September 26th, their critically acclaimed Abbey Road album was released. That was the same day The Brady Bunch got a series premiere only on ABC.
American Culture And Society In 1969
Wow, I really missed a lot while I was busy eating pureed peas and having my diapers changed.
It was certainly a pivotal year for me as well, as I grew some new hair and teeth and got to know who belonged to those funny, grinning faces around the house on Kingswood Road. Little did I know what was going on and how much was changing in the rest of the world too. Like...
- Woodstock and the ill-fated Altamont Free Concert
- the New York Jets' historic Super Bowl victory and Miracle Mets' championship season
- the Apollo 11 moon landing
- Richard Nixon's inauguration
- the birth of punk music and the first Led Zeppelin tour
- the publication of The Godfather
- the Santa Barbara Oil Slick and the Cuyahoga River fire
- the Battle of Hamburger Hill
- the People's Park and Stonewall Inn riots
- the Chappaquiddick incident
- the Manson Family and Zodiac Killer murders
- the peace movement and Days of Rage
- the Occupation of Alcatraz and the murder of Fred Hampton.
...to name just a handful.
The Top Songs Of 1969
With a father who, for 20 years from 1949 to early '69, had been a radio rock-n-roll disc jockey, I really did grow up with music. There were 45s galore around the house, and early on, I learned how to put the disc on the turntable and carefully place the needle on the record to produce the most wonderful sounds. Don't laugh, but I especially loved Bobby Vinton when I was a kid. "Roll out the barrel. We'll have a barrel of fun." C'mon y'all, sing along! No? Well, okay.
These are the Billboard Magazine Hot 100 number one hits of 1969:
- I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye (4 weeks)
- Crimson And Clover by Tommy James and The Shondells (2 weeks)
- Everyday People by Sly and The Family Stone (4 weeks)
- Dizzy by Tommy Roe (4 weeks, including the day I was born)
- Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In by The Fifth Dimension (6 weeks)
- Get Back by The Beatles with Billy Preston (5 weeks)
- Love Theme from Romeo & Juliette by Henry Mancini (2 weeks)
- In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans (6 weeks)
- Honky Tonk Woman by The Rolling Stones (4 weeks)
- Sugar, Sugar by The Archies (4 weeks)
- I Can't Get Next To You by The Temptations (2 weeks)
- Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley (1 week)
- Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension (3 weeks)
- Come Together by the Beatles (1 week)
- Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye by Steam (2 weeks)
- Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul & Mary (1 week)
- Someday We'll Be Together by Dianna Ross & The Supremes (last week of 1969)
Five of the above songs also made it onto this album of Billboard's top Rock-n-Roll songs of the year, which includes:
1. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In - The 5th Dimension
2. Dizzy - Tommy Roe
3. Sugar, Sugar - The Archies
4. Crimson and Clover - Tommy James & the Shondells
5. Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James & the Shondells
6. Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) - Steam
7. Take a Letter, Maria - R.B. Greaves
8. Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
9. Time of the Season - The Zombies
10. Good Morning Starshine - Oliver
And The Best Picture Oscar Of 1969 Went To....
Based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy, Midnight Cowboy is a gut-wrenching film starring Dustin Hoffman and John Voight. The movie, originally classified Rated X but later changed to an R rating, won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Both Hoffman and Voight were nominated for Best Actor, and Sylvia Miles was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in what is the shortest nominated performance ever, with less than four minutes of screen-time.
This is a film about a naïve male prostitute and his sickly friend who struggle to survive on the streets of New York City. Living on the fringe of society, these two outcasts "develop an unlikely bond that transcends their broken dreams and get-rich-quick schemes." (Amazon.com)
The 1969 Chevy Corvette
The first Corvette came off the assembly line on June 30, 1953. All Corvettes made that year were Polo White with a red interior and black canvas top. In 1969, there were ten options for exterior colors, including Tuxedo Black, Daytona Yellow, and Monza Red, and six interior colors.
In 1969, there were improvements and refinements from the previous year rather than any major changes to the Corvette. Needless to say, my family never had one of these. No, I believe my folks were driving a big boat of a Buick sedan during the year I was born.
On the DAY I Was Born
The 28th day of the third month
So, obviously, a lot happened in 1969. But what about on the 28th of March that year? I wondered if anything happened at all, besides my birth of course. Was it a day off perhaps, in my honor? I thought I'd do some digging and try to find out.
And, lo and behold, I learned that, on the day I was born, others were born as well! Who knew? So I did some checking, thinking that, of course, some of us would have made our way into the spotlight by now, a little more than 40 years later.
Now, while I found that Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Saint Teresa of Avila, Reba McEntire and Lady Gaga were also born on March 28th, they appeared on this world stage in different years than I did.
But I did come across a few rather famous people that were busy being born on the very same day and year. And here they are:
Also Born On 3-28-69: Popular Puerto Rican merengue singer, Gisselle Ortiz Caceres
Born in Puerto Rico but raised in New York, Gisselle Ortiz Caceres began to dance and perform on television at the age of 15. She was the vocalist for a group called Kaviar, then a member of the Puerto Rican music group Punto G, before going solo in the early '90s. Known for her fiery stage performances and going by just her first name, Gisselle has become a major singing sensation throughout Latin America and is expanding into the U.S. music market. In addition to her television work, Gisselle starred in the film Weekend War, which was filmed in her native Puerto Rico.
n 1995, Gisselle released her self-titled debut album, which went platinum with two successful singles, Perfume De Mujer En Tu Camisa (Woman's Perfume on Your Shirt) and Pesadilla (Nightmare). Her career took off, and she released several more albums during the next few years, including Voy a Enamorarte (I'm Going to Love You) in 2000, which was nominated at the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Merengue Album. Later that year, her hit single from the album Jurame (Swear To me) won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Tropical Song.
Also Born On 3-28-69: Country Singer & Musician, Rodney Atkins
Though country music star Rodney Atkins and I were born on the same day, life began much differently for the two of us. Rodney was a frail, sickly infant at the Holston Methodist Home for Children in Greenville, Tennessee. Twice he was adopted and twice he was returned, being too much of a burden to care for.
Then Allan and Margaret Atkins took him home, and Rodney became sicker than ever before. Thankfully, though, the Atkins never for a moment considered taking him back to the orphanage. With their love and attention, Rodney Adkins grew into a strong and healthy young man, who began singing in church as a boy and then learned to play guitar and write songs in high school.
Atkins earned the 2006 Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist award, plus five other ACM nominations and two Country Music Association nominations.
You can read his full biography on the official Rodney Atkins website, RodneyAtkins.com
Also Born On 3-28-69: American film and music video director, Brett Ratner
Best known as the director of The Family Man, After the Sunset, Red Dragon, the Rush Hour series, and X-Men: The Last Stand, Brett Ratner is also a producer on the Fox drama, Prison Break. Brett was born in Miami Beach, Florida, the child of the son of a wealthy Miami businessman and daughter of Eastern European Jews who lived in Cuba before moving to Florida in the 1960s. He attended high school in Israel, where I visited for a summer while he was there. Brett Ratner later graduated from New York University in 1990 at the same time I graduated from the University of New Hampshire.
Ratner directed several music videos before enjoying commercial success with the action-comedy Rush Hour (1998), starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Both actors reunited with Ratner for two sequels, Rush Hour 2 (2001) and Rush Hour 3 (2007).
And Some Died On March 28, 1969
Including former President, General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Little did I know at the time, but on the day I arrived, Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Army General and the two-term, 34th President of the United States from 1953-1961, passed away at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C. from congestive heart failure.
On my first full day of life, Eisenhower's body was moved to the Washington National Cathedral's Bethlehem Chapel where he lay in repose for twenty-eight hours. During that same time, I went home from the hospital.
And on a related note....
There was a brown, naugahyde chair in the house where I grew up, and that chair had a connection to President Eisenhower. There was a furniture store in North Carolina, were my parents lived before relocating to Rhode Island, where I was born. The owner of that store was my older brother's godfather, and in that store was a chair that Eisenhower's wife, Maime, saw and liked. So she ordered two for the White House. The store owner told this to my father, who then bought the floor model, which took its place in our living room for the next forty some-odd years.
Also Died on 3-28-69 - Rabbi Aryeh Levin
Rabbie Aryeh Levin, also known as Reb Aryeh, was an Orthodox rabbi who was dubbed the "Father of Prisoners" for his visits to members of the Jewish underground held in the central prison of Jerusalem in the Russian Compound during the British Mandate. He was also known as the "Tzadik (or saint) of Jerusalem" for his work on behalf of the poor and the sick. (Source: Answers.com)
This is the remarkable biography of Jerusalem rabbi, Aryeh Levin, who devoted his life to helping others. Levin would often visit the sick, especially patients who had no family, sitting for hours near their beds. He also was a frequent visitor at hospitals for lepers, including a hospital in Bethlehem where most of the patients were Arabs.
Life Magazine On 3-28-69
Well, maybe my picture was on Time magazine instead.
But, on the day I was born, the featured story on page 82 of LIFE magazine was "The Vanishing Orangutan" by David Agee Horr, about how extinction was threatening "our red-haired kin of the rainforest." (And still does.)
Also in that issue was a review of the movie Alice's Restaurant, based on an Arlo Guthrie song, photographs from the Apollo 9 album, taken by the astronauts on their historic flight, and an editorial entitled, "Bringing Home 50,000 Troops Is Still A Good Idea."
Time Magazine On 3-28-69
Nope, I wasn't on the cover of Time, either. Nguyen van Thieu, President of South Vietnam, had the honor. You can read the cover story, "The Strategy And Tactics Of Peace In Vietnam" and the rest of that issue in the archives at Time.com.
The Grateful Dead on March 28, 1969
Jerry Garcia and the gang
On the day I was born, the Grateful Dead band was on the other side of the country, in Modesto, California, where they played at the Student Center at Modesto Jr. College. You can listen to an audio archive of this show at Archive.org.
Following the first set, which included songs like the 11-minute, 42-second Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl, Dark Star, which lasted nearly 23 minutes, and the 10-minute Death Don't Have No Mercy, Jerry Garcia told the crowd, "We're gonna knock off for a little while and drink some Coke and stuff like that and then we'll be back and play some more, shortly." Apparently, though, the break didn't really happen. While tuning, Jerry said, "We're gonna play instead of taking a break," which I'm guessing the crowd must have been very happy about. (Source: Deadlists)
On a related note....
I went to only one Grateful Dead show, on July 4, 1987 at Foxborough's Sullivan Stadium where they played with Bob Dylan, and I think I was the only one of the 61,000 in attendance not wearing a tie-dyed shirt. When I once mentioned the show to my husband and said, "Eh, it was okay," he looked at me wide-eyed and said, "Okay! What are you nuts? It must have been awesome!"
I actually ran into lead singer, Jerry Garcia, a few years later (give or take) when he and the band were in Albany, New York for a concert. I was visiting my older brother and was in a downtown museum, waiting for him to meet me on his lunch hour break, when Jerry sat down next to me on a bench. I think the lady he was with had gone to the restroom, so Jerry took a load off, said hello to me, and then we both pondered the diorama in front of us. I remember glancing at the bearded stranger, only to do a quick double-take then looked down to see that, sure enough, he was missing the tell-tale finger. It was Jerry Garcia all right.
The #1 Song On The Day I Was Born Was....Dizzy?
Born in Atlanta, Georgia (but not in 1969), singer/songwriter Tommy Roe is an international artist who wrote, co-wrote, and recorded six top ten hits between 1962 and 1969, from four gold records. Two of his hits, Sheila and Dizzy topped the Billboard chart. On the day I was born, Dizzy was #1. Hm, I wonder if there's a deeper meaning there.
n 1986, Tommy Roe was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Though his style may have been called bubblegum, many listeners nowadays still consider it great pop music. This album includes Dizzy and seventeen other popular songs, as well as an 8-page insert of background notes and photos.
A Memorandum From Nixon On 3-28-69
On the day I was born, President Richard M. Nixon sent a memorandum to the heads of departments and agencies on the subject of Equal Employment Opportunity.
The memorandum began:
The concept of nondiscrimination is inherent in the Civil Service Act of 1883, which calls for a Federal service based on merit and fitness alone. "Nondiscrimination" was broadened by President Eisenhower to "equal employment opportunity" with his issuance of Executive Order 10590 in 1955. In the years that followed, other Executive Orders designed to insure equal opportunity in the employment, development, advancement and treatment of employees of the Federal Government have been issued. This series of Presidential directives reflects continuing support for this program at the highest levels of Government.
Read more at Presidency.ucsb.edu.
Also On Friday, 3-28-69
- Greek poet and Nobel Prize laureate Giorgos Seferis made a famous statement--"This anomaly must end"--on the BBC World Service opposing the junta in Greece. Read more on Answers.com
- In western Turkey, a 6.4 earthquake occurred in the Alasehir region.
- The McGill franÃ§ais movement protest occurred, the second largest protest in Montreal's history with 10,000 trade unionists, leftist activists, CEGEP students, and some McGill students at McGill's Roddick Gates. This led to the majority of the protesters getting arrested. Find out more on Wikipedia.com.
- Olympic fencer, Karl Ola Kajbjer, was born in BurlÃ¶v, SkÃ¥ne, Sweden.
- Beatle John Lennon read about Dick James selling out his sizeable block of Northern Songs stock shares to Associated Television Ltd. and summoned Allen Klein, who he'd retained to oversee his financial matters, from NY to London to organize a counter offer. More information at Blog.BeatleTracksBand.com.
- Jazz musician Paul Desmond was interviewed by Felix Grant on WMAL radio in Washington, D.C. about his career.
- The Chicago Cubs baseball team purchased Charley Smith from the San Francisco Giants.
- Pope Paul VI named JGM Willebrands cardinal.
More From The Year MCMLXIX
1969, The Movie (Made in 1988)
Robert Downey, Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland play two small-town, high school graduates who go off to college to sow their wild oats and stay a step ahead of the draft board. But when Ralph is expelled from school, he suddenly becomes a candidate for serving in his country's armed forces. Then, when these two lifelong friends take drastic and illegal measures to ensure Ralph's freedom, they trigger a chain of events that will forever change their relationship and their lives. (Source: Amazon.com)
Oh, I almost forgot!
A new exercise craze began in 1969
One of my favorite forms of exercise, Jazzercise, was founded the year I was born, too. And I actually joined our local studio here in Flagstaff, Arizona, on my birthday, three years ago. I wrote about this dance-fitness program here:
- Jazzercise: More Than a Great Workout
All about this fun fitness program that began in 1969 and is still going strong today--always changing and updating with the times and the music but still as great a workout and good time as always
Look Who Else Was Born On March 28th
Just 55 years before I was
Ever heard about the mystery of Everett Ruess? It's something of a legend here in the southwest, but that mystery has now been solved. And when I heard the news and read some articles, I came to find out he was born the same day I was (but in 1914).
- The Everett Ruess Mystery (Solved?)
Theories about the disappearance of artist and poet, Everett Ruess
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury