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The Sixties: Changing Times In Our Household

Updated on July 8, 2012
The Age of Innocence, 1960
The Age of Innocence, 1960 | Source
The decade died as did my father
The decade died as did my father | Source
Civil Rights movement
Civil Rights movement | Source
Vietnam
Vietnam | Source
The Kent State shootings.
The Kent State shootings. | Source

This article is dedicated to a friend of mine. Her name is Sonya L. Morley and she is a talented writer who lives in Scotland. If you would like to see her words you can find them at http://sonyalmorley.hubpages.com/.

Sonya asked me if I would write more of my memories of the 60’s and what Sonya wants Sonya gets. Since I loved growing up during that decade it took very little convincing for me to plod ahead and write this trip down Memory Lane. I should point out from the beginning that the statements that follow are only based on a small sampling of people who made up my little corner of the world. I make no claims that life in our neighborhood was similar to that in other areas of the world although I suspect that at least in the industrialized nations there were a great many similarities in lifestyle.

The first half of the Sixties was quite different from the second half, seemingly a split-personality or alter-ego of one being. There was a collective innocence during the early years that completely disappeared as the decade evolved. Imagine if you will a child of ten and the changes that occur as that child moves through the teen years and into adulthood. If it were a movie it would be called “The Flying Nun Meets Apocalypse Now.”

It was a time of great joy, great upheaval, great accomplishment and great pain and I was lucky enough to have lived through it all. Join me, then, on a trip back in time as we take a look at The Sixties.

FAMILY LIFE 1960-1965

By the time the decade began there were many households in our neighborhood that had both parents working jobs; the father worked full-time and the norm was for the mother to work a part-time job. Gone were the days of “Leave It To Beaver” where mom stayed home baking fudge, cake and cookies while the kids played and dad worked. War was not fueling the economy in 1960, good-paying jobs were hard to come by and for a middle class family like ours every penny was important.

It was just assumed that kids would go on to college because education and the benefits of it were held in sacred, high esteem. Many of us baby-boomers had parents who were raised during the Great Depression so a solid work ethic was instilled in us as was the importance of living a thrifty lifestyle. We had few extras; a big night out for the family consisted of dinner at a restaurant and that only happened once a month.

Those of us in our teen years were expected to get a part-time job in high school. I had my first job when I was fifteen and worked part-time jobs all through high school and I can say with all honesty that I was proud to have a job and to be carrying my own weight.

Families ate dinner together each and every night. I would be hard-pressed to remember this not occurring; no matter what was going on every member of the family sat down for the evening meal. The dinner hour was a time when we shared about our day and if dad was late coming home from work or if I had a ballgame, then dinner was delayed until we were all present. It was part of a tradition, handed down from generation to generation, and truth be told it was a tradition I enjoyed and respected.

The parental unit was greatly respected in the early part of the Sixties; a serious chink in that respect occurred later on as two generations discovered a gulf of ideology growing wider daily, but for the first half respect was earned and given freely. Even after my father and I began arguing over politics and the War there was still a mutual respect based on love; we just couldn’t bridge the gap that stubbornness had made.

There was always a sense of safety in those first few years of that decade. We would ride our bikes all over town and the only requirement was that we told our parents where we were going and what time we would be home. If plans changed it was expected that we would phone in the news. There were no bicycle helmets, no seatbelts in the cars, no airbags or other protective devices. More often than not we would come home with skinned knees and bruise bodies caused by our lack of common sense. Moms would patch up the kids and out the door they went again.

We did not live in fear. Nobody locked their doors at night; windows were left open on summer nights with only a window screen to protect you from the boogie man and no one really believed that he existed. Oftentimes we would play outside after dark or walk to the bowling alley at night and I’m pretty sure my dad never sat around fretting over the possible problems that could have happened. The average evening during the school year consisted of dinner with the family, homework and a little television with the family before bedtime. In the summers there was always dinner with the family but then we were too busy playing ballgames to consider what was on tv. In fact I really don’t remember saying I was bored very often. Somehow, without computers and video games, we still managed to amuse ourselves and each other night after night for years.

TIMES, THEY ARE A’CHANGIN’ 1966-1969

Boy, did they ever change! It was as if someone had lifted the curtain on a new scene at the theater. At first it was a subtle shift but then seemingly overnight subtle disappeared and in-your-face change occurred. In our neighborhood kids were heading off to college, filling their minds with newfound knowledge, becoming exposed to new ways of thinking and the end result was a collective questioning about the status quo. Make no mistake about it, there was a great deal to question as 1965 shifted gears into 1966. Television brought the Vietnam War into our living rooms and dorm rooms and it was fairly difficult to remain passive and clueless when napalm brightened the tv screen during dinner. Monks were setting themselves on fire, prisoners were being shot in the head, cities were burning and what once seemed impossible was suddenly live and in color each and every night, brought to you by NBC, CBS and ABC.

The War and Civil Unrest not only divided a country; it also did a hell of a job of dividing individual families and ours was not immune to this division. I do not blame my father and, if he were alive today I doubt he would blame me. He was a World War 2 veteran of five campaigns in Italy; he saw some heavy fighting, believed staunchly in the government and loved his country. I was doing what I had been sent to college to do: I was learning to think for myself, form my own opinions and defend those opinions with logic and fervor. The stage was set for some serious disagreements and as so often happens in families stubbornness and ego played decisive parts in the split between father and son.

My dad could not understand how I could speak out against the government when friends of mine were dying in the War; I could not understand how he could support such a senseless waste of life. He could not understand why the Blacks complained while living in the Land of Opportunity; I could not understand why all citizens did not live under the same Constitutional rights.

We still had family dinners when I was home from college but they were no longer lighthearted and carefree meals; instead they had become a forum for words that would only widen the gulf between two people who loved each other but could find no way to actually show it.

Of course it only got worse. As the 60’s progressed I took part in protests and dad hung more flags and dug his heels in deeper. My friends reported similar scenarios at their homes as the United States witnesses the greatest division since the Civil War. Each night brought more horrifying news; each day saw more civil unrest and the tension, at times, was palpable and oh so painful to experience. How would it all end? What would have to happen for peace and understanding to rise above the hate and sadness?

THE END APPEARED SWIFTLY

For our household the end came in spectacular fashion. As the final year of the Sixties unfolded my father suddenly died and the turmoil in our home died with him. 1969 would be one hell of a year for the United States and the world in general but for the Holland family it was a year of shock, slow recovery and finally peace. 1970 brought new responsibilities for me, a new reality for my mother and we both moved forward, getting on with the business of surviving and ultimately living. Just as the country slowly licked its wounds and began the recovery process so too did our neighborhood and family.

Our little speck of the world appeared to be the same in 1970 as it had appeared in 1960 but something had definitely changed. The innocence was gone, never to be re-claimed. No one who lived through that decade would ever again look at life in the same way. We were emotionally and psychologically bruised, battered and still standing but moving forward we would always be wary. Our new life came at a heavy cost and it may well be a cost we are still paying to this day.

I regret none of it! To regret is a senseless exercise, to assign blame where none is due. Life happens, we respond to that life and we move on. Hopefully along the way we learn a lesson or two that we can pass on to others. Oftentimes we need to be shaken to our roots to find out exactly who we are and more often than not we become stronger because of it. Is our country stronger because of the Sixties? I truly do not know. I know for a fact that I am and for that I am grateful.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Human-Experience-My-Mom-and-Dad

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Beatles-The-Final-Years-1967-1970

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Day-My-Love-Of-Politics-Died

For a different perspective take a look at:

http://bravewarrior.hubpages.com/hub/What-Has-Happened-To-Our-Voices

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, I do believe in serendipity,and I'm glad I was a part of yours. Pick my brain all you want. Email me if you have questions. Regarding fashion and design...no clue. Everyone I know has no fashion sense at all. LOL

      Thanks for the question. I do have an answer for that one, but you'll have to wait a week for the answer.

      Happy Monday my friend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Do you believe in serendipity? This past weekend I've been poring over my characters trying to establish a timeline and where in all the wonderful time periods since Hastings to place them. I just happened to run across this little gem and after reading it, I've decided the 60s is the place for them. There attitudes don't seem out of place and there is potential for great character development that won't seem contrived or forced. Coincidence? It's like I was meant to find this hub just when I needed it.

      As I was born in 1961, the feelings I had living through that decade are still strong. The memories, eh, not so much. Your reminiscences here brought back the emotions of the time and will come in handy as I begin to place my people within that time frame. Yes, I think I shall pick your brain as I start to do more and more research. You seem a gold mine of information when it comes to the social impact the 60s had on the average Joe. My childhood centred around the city slums and the forgotten people who lived there. I don't suppose you could steer me to some folks who have written hubs about the fashion and interior designs of the time?

      Now that I think about it, here's a question you may want for the 'Writers' Mailbag'. When it comes to establishing a time period and a timeline, do have one already in mind when you start or do you let the characters thought process and voice lead you there? I have a devil of a time when it comes to that and I'm curious how others handle this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosie, as a former teacher,that makes me very happy! Thanks for the visit!

    • profile image

      Rosie Brodie 5 years ago

      Thanks, this will help me a lot for my home life in the sixties assignment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, that would have been interesting growing up during that time on a military base. Thank you for sharing those thoughts and as always for visiting.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very good hub about growing up the sixties and the incredible difference in the beginning and end of the decade. I remember it very much like you except that I was a few years younger and so I was just into high school when most of the protests began.

      The only other major difference in our experience perhaps is that my father was in the Air Force and we lived on bases. So I was more aware of the military and war and the politics of Viet Nam than most people my age, but life in the housing section of a medium sized military base was surprisingly similar to what you described. :) Nice reminiscence.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Sonya, it's good to hear from you. I hope the move goes well and I look forward to hearing about your new home. Take care my friend and thank you as always.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Bill! Sorry I've taken so long to read this wonderful and interesting article, thank you for writing it! Wow, what a time to have experienced.

      Today is moving-day but I'll be without internet until we get it set up, very hard for me to be without broadband! But I look forward to catching up on all the articles I've missed... Hope all is well with you, take care.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, you are about as faithful a follower as a man could hope for; thank you so much for always stopping by despite your busy schedule. I greatly appreciate you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I think parents would do great in following your example to have teens work at an early age. It does help them to be responsible. I remember being able to ride your bike without having to worry about traffic dangers. Enjoyed the hub and thanks for the smile!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...nothing wrong with the monster from what I can see. Sleep well my dear and have sweet dreams.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I will! I'm getting pissed off enough now to quit posting things I've written over the years and write something new. In fact, you'll be proud... I've already entitled it. If you're anything like me, all you need it the first line and then it just pours.... My hand can't keep up with my mind! And I ALWAYS write everything in a notebook first (yes, I'm old fashioned) - in purple! EVERYTHING I write is in purple, including approving documents at work and notarizing legal documents. Purple is me. Purple is passion. And again, I'm meandering. It's my creativity sparking the ole brain cells that can't keep up with my mouth, let alone my fingers, so I'll bid you a dieur, mon amis!

      (See what you've done? You've brought out the monster! The one I really, really like!)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I believe you echo the words of a great many. I can tell you that when I was teaching I saw a quantum shift in the attitudes of kids over the past ten years....from caring and excelling to not caring and simply not that into life. There has been a major shift in the country over the past ten to twenty years and to me it is frightening.

      Okay you, get busy on that hub!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      If I may put in my two cents... Today's generation speaks via email, twitter, facebook, etc. They do not believe enough in their voice to come out loud to the populous. Hell, I don't even think they know what they think. They're too concerned with wearing pants down to their knees so we can see their tacky underwear, wearing hoodies in the heat of Florida, blaring their boomboxes in their cars with sexually, violent "music".... They are followers. They don't have minds of their own because they don't think they need to form their psyches to lay their dreams. Today's generation is about things. Not morals, not mores, not faith, not conviction (unless convicted! ha ha). They just don't get it. The parents of today's teenagers haven't taught those things because the parents are too drugged out. Most of today's teenagers are an inconvenience to their parents. It's very sad.

      OK, I'm getting myself in the tither I need to be to write that hub, my friend Bill! Keep on me!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True, Jama, it is a slow process. We'll see what the warmer weather brings. I am cautiously optimistic.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      If memory serves, the civil rights and war protests didn't explode in one day as full-blown, organized movements. They, too, began as small events here and there. Give it time. Besides, it's not summer yet.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, they are showing signs of rising up...there still is no coordinated movement that will make a difference. I'd like to see the old days of serious civil disorder, good old fashioned riots, some sign that there is an organized movement with one central message. My fear is that people are too complacent in today's world and a protest is fine as long as it doesn't cause them any inconvenience.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Don't know what to tell ya about stayin' alive for another 30 years, but the 99% ARE rising up. (You really need to get away from HP for awhile. lol!)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, it would be interesting to witness....now I have to find a way to stay alive for thirty more years. :) Without a doubt the next big uprising will be economic...when will the 99% rise up and say "enough"????

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, I just had to come back and tell you I agree that, sadly, we HAVE lost our musical identity. Also, I suspect in 20 or 30 years, kids born between 1995 and 2005 will look back on the current decade, the twenty-teens, as another "split decade", only this time around we aren't protesting a far off war, but a war on the Average American, the 99%. Will be interesting to see how THAT turns out! (Anybody have a VW bus for sale? Preferably covered in flowers? lol!) ;D

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gypsy! I remember it all as if it were yesterday! The horrors on tv were too much to handle at times. War became very real for all of us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Cyndi! There are some gaps in generations that can never be bridged. The best we can hope for is that the discussions don't turn into arguments. Have a great day and thank you as always.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 5 years ago

      Very relatable hub billy, being that we are the same age! Riding bikes all day, leaving your windows open, doors unlocked and family dinner every night. I remember it well. Being a military brat, the Vietnam war was a hot topic. Watching Walter Cronkite every night with the latest death toll on our soldiers was heartbreaking. If I would have been born a boy I would have been drafted. Many school friends never made it back, very senseless war. Great read billy, brought back tons of memories!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Oy vey - I'm actually seeing this a bit in my own family: my dad was a career Air Force enlistee. I admit I am far on the other side of the spectrum and would not entertain the military as an option - for all the reasons you stated above. Don't get me wrong - I respect their work and service, including my Dad's. But our clashes of ideology make for some interesting discussions, for sure. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, though. But this is a great enjoyable read as always. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rebecca, it does my heart good to know that others get something out of my story. Thank you so much for being so kind.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This was a highly enjoyable read, billybuc. You told your story so well. The times sure did change. Family dynamics has changed so much! Just the fact that everybody waited on everyone to get home to dinner says a lot. Thanks for sharing your life story.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, Fogelberg died about four or five years ago if memory serves me correctly. I was fairly sad considering I didn't know him and normally I don't get choked up when a celebrity dies. He was a huge part of my early adulthood and he sang songs that spoke to me.

      Good luck at work tomorrow and I really do look forward to that hub!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, it's funny you say that because I have no desire to let go of that era either. My son has grown to love the 60's because of my constant stories about it; he's also somewhat of a firebrand and I think he feels cheated for not having lived then.

      Yep, great times! Thank you for that last compliment and I truly do appreciate who you are.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I go to many, many concerts and have raised my son going to concerts of my era. At age 20, his peers and my peers wonder at his knowing the words to songs of our age! (Yay me!) I've never seen Dan Fogelberg. I've seen Bob Dylan 4 times and the last two (I hate to say) were a disappointment. He's lost his voice and he doesn't relate to or engage the audience. So sad to see the true musical poets lose why we grew to love them.

      I've written myself a sticky (yes, I still use sticky-notes!) and pasted it to my monitor as a reminder to write that hub!

      Time for bed, now. Gotta go to work (ugh!) in the morning....

      Sweet dreams to you and Bev!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill...this was OUR time. Personally, I can never let go. Don't know if this is good or bad.....it just IS.

      Gosh, how many times I have seen those last 3 photos through the years.

      Excellent choice of music. Dan Fogelberg...such sweet, soothing music....and the slides on the video, take my breath away.

      Not that you've EVER written a bad one, but......Excellent hub!! UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, that would be a great hub! I love your comments; a true believer you are! Dan Fogelberg has been one of my all-time favorites since the early Seventies when I first heard him and thought he had the voice of an angel. I finally got to see him in concert in 2001 but by then he had lost part of his voice and could not hit the high notes. Still, it was a thrill to see him and to feel young again.

      Vietnam was a blight on this nation that just won't go away. Maybe, after all the veterans who served in that ugly war are dead, we can finally put it behind us. I would hope that sooner or later this nation learns a valuable lesson from one of our transgressions.

      Thank you dear one and it's so nice to see you on Facebook. I hope you are having a wonderful evening and I can't wait for that hub!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dim, you are cracking me up. Feel free to write as much as you want...I love that my hub created that kind of reaction in you. Thank you so much and may we always have clear memories of our past. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow! Where do I begin? Bill, this hub so touches my heart and my true soul! I have a lot to say, but let me begin my commenting on your choice of song. I love Dan Fogelberg, but have never heard this song. The choice of accompanying pictures is amazing!

      Again, wow! You're so right about the 60's replicating or mimicing, for lack of a better word, "split personality". I, having been born in 1957, was definitely a part of the 60's, but when the mood shifted, I was too young to participate, although my "flower child" soul was right there!

      Let me back up a bit to the early 60's when families did just about everything together. I remember my mom popping up popcorn (on the stove with oil and kernels) and filling a paper grocery bag with the delectible treat. She'd don us kids in our pj's and off to the drive-in we'd go! One of my favorite sounds, which you hear no more due to the demise of the drive-in, is the sound of the Pontiac's tires driving over the gravel, finding your perfect spot at the drive-in. (Weren't those speakers aweful?!) Life in the early 60's was all about family. Even divorce didn't eradicate family togetherness values.

      Then, the VietNam war hit. Actually, it hit sooner than America was told, as with all military conflicts. If you've read my hub "Haunting Memories", you know my natural father is a retired Air Force Fighter Pilot. He flew in Nam. At this point, mom was divorced from him and remarried. When I saw "Gone With the Wind", not knowing movies weren't real and Daddy looking like Clark Gable, I thought for sure I'd found him! But that just exemplifies the naivete of little girls in the 60's!

      Once the (undeclared, yet ugliest!) war was announced, as you say, the times they did a changin'!

      Music took a turn. America spoke out through song. In fact, given today's dissent to the current situation, I have made a note to myself to write a hub about America no longer having a musical voice. I don't understand why, other than we've left our roots. We no longer hold freedom and the earth and all it means as sacred.

      Anyway, back to my point: the 60's definitely had an A and B side. I was too young then to voice my opinion, although I had one. My mind and soul, however, were formed in that decade, regardless of my age. (To this day, many call me a "left over Flower Child", and frankly, I'm very proud to be considered such!)

      Those of us who were fortunate to live in that era, have one up on today's generation who takes everything for granted. However, I truly feel for the Veterans of the VietNam war. It was very ugly and has messed with a lot of minds, to this day.

      On another note, and to refer back to my comment regarding music, there never has been, nor will there ever be a better musical era than the 60's.

      As Forrest Gump says, "that's all I have to say about that!"

      I tell a huge lie. That's not all I have to say about that!

      Kudos to you, my friend. Now, I think I'll write that hub....

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

      Oh my goodness, Billybuc, this was amazing for me to read. I was with you every step of the way. My dad being brought up in the 30s .... the work ethic... then Vietnam war, although We are British, I can still remember the sick feeling I used to get watching the t.v. and seeing boys my own age... drafted or escaping to Canada.... O dear I could go on , but it´s YOUR hub. Sorry. I just felt I was there.. Well I was, but in England.

      I´ve pressed everey single button as well as vote up. Brilliant ..!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, I really do appreciate your words and you. I respect you greatly! If my hub helped you in any way then I am happy.

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      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I am glad Sonya suggested you write about this topic. Good reflections on an era that helps me understand more about the environment of my parents. Well written Bill, again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Handymanbill, thank you for your kind words. I doubt any of us who lived at that time will ever forget.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Perry, speaking for Paul, George, Ringo and John, I thank you!

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      Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Great hub. Its as i remember it too. Thanks for a great hub

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      I never get tired of the B word ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Perrya, I never said I didn't agree with you; in fact I do agree with you and that is why I devoted three hubs to The Beatles and the impact they had on our culture. I had limited space to say what I wanted to say in this hub and chose not to re-visit that which I had written about three times in different hubs. I'm not sure how many times I needed to praise The Beatles to satisfy the reading public. They were a huge influence on my life and thus the received three hubs devoted only to them.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Billy- well, maybe you don't agree with me on the impact of the Beatles on society, which lasts until today. In the 60's, there were divisions based on music in jr.high and high; hicks, hippies, jocks. Long hair was not always accepted and that was a major change for men. That was only one result of the beatles. There is no direct connection between music and youth in the article. That was a driving force for anyone between 10-18, all brought on by The beatles and subsequent british invasion.Evenn those who long resisted long hair, would have by the late 60s or early 70s.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No we didn't, Ruby, and that is, indeed, the sad part of this tale. Thank you from one flower child to another!

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You brought back some good memories plus some bad ones. I guess you could call me a flower child, I spoke out ( loudly ) against the Nam war. The sad fact is that we didn't learn. Thank you, very interesting...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, YES! I'm by no means a flag-waver nor am I usually pro-war, but I am pro-military precisely because soldiers are you and me and the guy up the street, and they deserve to be given the entire military machine if they are expected to fight in a war.

      I love your line! And I really enjoy you!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, we didn't make a "total effort" in Nam PRECISELY because the war was being micromanaged from Washington. Military officers on the ground had to send every request for the tiniest requests "up the chain", which back then meant delays of days or weeks before they could be implemented. The Viet Cong weren't under the same constraints.

      The premise of my paper was that we'd paid big bucks to train military commanders at the academies and the War College on how to fight wars, so they should be left to do what they were trained to do and elected officials should stick to making sure they have the resources to do it. One line I remember from the paper: "There's a reason we send our generals thousands of miles away but keep our elected officials close to home".

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suzette; it still seems like it was yesterday to me. I don't believe I have ever met someone who lived near Kent State at that time. What a horrible tragedy that was; that one photo of the girl kneeling over the shot student is embedded in my mind forever.

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      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Your retrospective of the 60's is outstanding. You might want to sent this to a magazine for publication - it is that good! I can identify with so much in your piece. Your observations and memories are so spot on, I can't believe it. It is exactly how I remember that decade also.

      I had an interesting experience - from 1959-65 I lived in NJ and from June 1965 on I lived in Ohio. That split, right in the middle of the decade, really emphasized the split of the decade for me. Life was one way in NJ and then an upheavel in Ohio with all the protests, civil rights concerns, the VN War and the Kent State University shootings just seven miles from my house. I can't tell you how life looked so black and white to me.

      This piece is really amazing and I can't believe how you have captured the essence of that upside down decade. Voted up up up!!!!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, I was either too young or too clueless when Kennedy was assassinated; for me the loss of MLK and Robert Kennedy were the end of my innocence.

      Interestingly the arguments I had with my dad about Vietnam were not about our involvement; I had no problem per se with our being over there; my problem was that we didn't commit the total force of the United States military for that war. If we were going to be in a war then I wanted us to make a total effort and then end it so nobody else would die. My dad believed the government was making every effort and I thought that was just so much bull!

      Great comment and quite frankly I would have prepared for that paper exactly as you did. That was my style for papers...wait till the last minute and then just let it flow. It has served me well over the years.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, your comment about Vietnam is common; I don't think most of us knew we were even involved over there until 1965 or so and then we couldn't escape it if we wanted to because of television coverage. Thank you for taking the time to leave a meaningful comment.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I loved living during that time and wouldn't trade those memories for any other decade. Thanks for stopping by and now I need to go see that new hub of yours.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annart, it's great to have you back. I had no idea you had gone to France but I'm certainly happy that you have returned. I hope you had a fabulous time there and now I look forward to reading the hubs to come from one of my favorite supporters and Hubbers.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, for sure they were simpler times at the beginning of the decade; younger friends of mine can't believe how safe we felt, how we never locked our doors, etc. I miss those days and often think back to them.

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      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, ditto on doing such a great job making this hub equal parts documentary and personal experience! For a lot of us, though, Innocence died as early as November 1963 on a sunny morning in Dallas. Far as I'm concerned, it was all downhill after that, because I remember every bit of the Sixties. Which means, of course, I wasn't a Flower Child or participating in protest marches, or even getting high on pot and LSD.

      When I (finally) started college as a non-trad student in 1981, Freshman English courses were "themed". Much as I hated that decade, I chose "Sense of the Sixties" because the other choice promised to be a total snoozer. Kids fresh out of high school made up half the class, the other half was mostly Viet Nam vets.

      But being a single mom taking a "full load" wasn't the reason I kept putting off writing the term paper for "Sense". By luck of the draw, mine had to be about the Viet Nam war. Naturally, I couldn't write it from the perspective of a vet, but neither did I want to be reminded of the horrific scenes beamed into our living rooms every night on the evening news.

      The semester flew by...the paper was due in TWO DAYS. OH CRAP!!! I grabbed a stack of books including Westmoreland's account of the war from the library, went straight home, and in a little under 2 hours cranked out 20 pages on 'Why elected officials should never micro-manage a war from 10,000 miles away'. All without opening a single library book until time to do the bibliography. The words just flowed! Not only did I get an A+, the instructor used the paper in subsequent "Sense" classes. Alas, my copy was lost in one move or another, else I'd update it and publish it on HP as a hub. ;D

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Perrya, the points you mentioned are covered in detail in other hubs I have written about this time period. Thank you for your comments.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Spenser, thank you for your comments. I'm so glad I grew up at this time; it was a wonderful learning experience for the remainder of my life.

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      Ronnie Sowell 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub! I graduated in 69 and the times did change during those years. I too worked from 15 on and I believe that was a good thing. Keep sharing, there's something universal in your take on this time period.

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      perrya 5 years ago

      I think the whole story is missing a major, key point: How the Kennedy assassination brought America to great sorrow and how The Beatles so greatly impacted tween and teen culture. They were more than music, that band plus the British Invasion afterwards created the seeds of "trust no one over 25" that would remain until 1971. To minimize the impact of pop culture\music is missing what the 60's were all about.

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      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      I graduated from high school in 1960 and life did seem safer, saner and less complicated back then. So much of what you describe: the mandatory family dinners, the freedom that children experienced, the absence of fear, were all part of my childhood and early adulthood. I think that life did change for a lot of us in the later 1960s because of the war, the Kennedys' deaths and other major events that tarnished our innocence. Thanks for a look at your life in the 1960s and a reminder of how things were! I enjoyed it immensely!

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      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Hi Billy! It's great to be back in the world of hubpages; France was great but I missed the ability to go online when I wanted to (out in the stix!). What a great hub; you've managed the balance between documentary and personal so well. What surprised me were the similarities between my life and yours, despite being across the pond. Of course the politics were different but the freedom, the simplicity of life, the home entertaining and the playing with friends and getting into scrapes etc. was just the same. The family was also a much stronger and secure unit maybe because it was well-disciplined but loving at the same time. I think computers and mobile phones have changed life, especially childhood, more than anything (not totally for the worst but not always for the better!). Thanks for jogging the memory and thanks for sharing it all.

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      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Wow, imagine us both writing hubs about innocence on the same day! By the 60's, I was deep into raising children and teaching school. I hardly knew the Vietnam war was going on -- at least that's my memory. But as I read about that turmoil today, I am astonished at how devastating it was, and still is. Loved your hub.

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      cleaner3 5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      great hub bill. my time of life, no worries, free as a breeze.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Shimmering, I just paid you a visit. Thank you my dear; I love concentrating on the similarities rather than the differences. I appreciate you greatly and have a wonderful afternoon.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kelley. Sharp mind? Sharp like a doorknob! :)

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      shimmering Dawn 5 years ago

      I think our family still lives in the sixties:). It is good to know we have much of the same values and life here. Thanks for share. It is wonderful to read about life so far away and still see the similarities. Have a blessed day.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Hi Bill, you have a sharp mind and a cleaver sense of humor. I loved this take back to the 60's. Take care, Kelley