WHAT HAPPENED THE YEAR YOU GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL? – BLOG YOUR DASH PART IV

This is another installment of “BLOG YOUR DASH” – by now I guess I should star calling it a “series” since this is part four and it looks like there may be more to come. If you want to read the other installments of BLOG YOUR DASH, here is the list:

      To check on the events of any given year, I go to Brainy History and select the year that I want.


      Here is a short list of the things that happened the year I graduated from high school:

      1. Roberto Clemente gets his 3,oooth hit
      2. 1st scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, introduced for $395
      3. 1st NBA to score 30,000 points (Wilt Chamberlain in 940 games)
      4. 30,000 attend Mar Y Sol rock concert, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
      5. George Wallace shot and left paralyzed by Arthur Bremer in Laurel, Maryland
      6. Chile president Allende forms new government
      7. Bobby Fischer (U.S.) defeats Boris Spassky (U.S.S.R.) for world chess title
      8. Summer Olympics resume in Munich Germany after massacre
      9. President Nixon (R) re-elected defeating George McGovern (D)

      There’s a lot to talk about here so bear with me. I’m from Puerto Rico so things that happen there or to people from there are important to me.

      Roberto ClementeTo this day, Roberto Clemente is a hero in Puerto Rico; he was black as coal, from a poor family and had difficulty speaking English but, he elevated the sport of professional baseball to an art form. I remember him wearing the #21 from the Pittsburgh Pirates making these unbelievable catches and always playing his best when he felt at his worst. Roberto always complained about chronic lower back pain but, the worse he felt, the better he played.

      I only vaguely remember his 3,000th hit but, what I remember vividly was the day he died. When he has not playing ball, Roberto was doing charity work and in December, there had been a large and serious earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. He organized a drive for food, clothes, blankets and such to send there and, from his own pocket, paid for an airplane to take him and the cargo to Nicaragua. On December 31, 1972 the overloaded plane crashed into the sea just after takeoff – Roberto’s body was never found.

      HP-35 Electronic Calculator The first time I saw the HP-35 was in my first year of college. I had heard about “electronic calculators” but, up to that point, never seen one. What we used to do calculations was our trusty old-timer, the slide rule. The slide rule has always been a ‘best guesstimate’ kind of tool and there were even competitions to see how close to an actual calculation result result you could get. For example, what is the most accurate result of π times e (3.1416 times 2.7182) to 6 decimal places? Then along comes this ‘calculator’ that gives an answer accurate to eight decimal places, all you had to do to get this kind of accuracy was shell out four hundred dollars! To give you an idea of what four hundred dollars meant in 1972, a brand new VW Beetle was $1,845.00.

      Richard NixonRafael Hernandez Colón

      1972 was the year that the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and, lucky me, I was going to get to vote for the first time! Of course the local politicos forced me to show my voting registration card, my birth certificate and my parents had to vouch for me because my 18th birthday happened to be on election day. While Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, it cannot participate in the federal elections; however, we do have local elections on the same date as the U.S. Presidential election.

      Share this post :
      Advertisements

      BLOG YOUR DASH – PART III THE ARMY YEARS

      I guess I just can’t stop with the “Blog your Dash” theme which I first saw in Lorelle’s blog Lorelle on WordPress.  Here are the other ‘Blog your Dash’ blogs:

      As with many young men that have gone into the U.S. Army, this was only the second time in my life that I was leaving home on my own to leave the island (Puerto Rico). The first time I was fourteen years old when I flew to New York City to visit my grandparents. This time, however, the trip was much longer even though I was only going to South Carolina. Since the Army was paying for the tickets, they went with the cheapest fare which meant three layovers. A group of us new recruits left San Juan at noon and arrived at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, at three o’clock in the morning! We were exhausted, hungry and very cold – up until that day, the coldest temperature I had ever seen was 70° F (21° C).
      Army Drill SergeantThe first two or three days were spent in the processing center, I remember thinking “hey, this is alright!”, boy was I naïve! After being processed in, we were bussed to our training barracks – and life as I know it changed forever! “YOU HAVE FIFTEEN SECONDS TO GET OFF THIS BUS – MOVE IT!” The yelling did not stop for the next 9 weeks – it went on right up to graduation!

      Of all the things that I did in Basic Training, the one that, to this day, I absolutely hate was having to do KP (Kitchen Police). Kitchen Police is a glorified name for ‘kitchen aide’; the kitchen aide is the one who cleans the pots and pans, washes the dishes, peels the potatoes, cleans the floor and does all the menial kitchen work. The menial work includes cleaning (Yeech!) all the grease traps. As if this were not enough, when you do KP, you start at 4:30 AM and end at 11:30 PM – a very long day! Of course, since I hated KP so, I was stuck doing it twice during Basic!

      Share this post :

      What happened the year you were born? – Blog Your Dash Part II

      This is part of the “Blog Your Dash” series that I have been writing.  Below is a list of the other blogs in the series:

      If you want to know what happened the year you were born, go to Brainy History and select your birth year.

      Here is a short list of the events that happened the year I was born:

      1. 4 Puerto Ricans open fire in U.S. House of Representatives injuring 5 representatives
      2. TV Dinner was 1st put on sale by Swanson and Sons
      3. Robert Oppenheimer accused of being a communist
      4. School desegregation law, Brown vs. Board of education
      5. President Eisenhower put forward a plan for an interstate highway system
      6. Air Force One, 1st U.S. Presidential airplane, christened
      7. Ellis Island, immigration station in New York Harbor, closed
      8. Nobel prize for literature awarded to Ernest Hemingway

      Being Puerto Rican, the event that clearly sticks out is the assault on the house of representatives. The plan was, at the same time the assault was taking place on the house of representatives, other members of the group would assault Puerto Rico’s governor mansion and take it over. Unfortunately, the Puerto Rico part of the plan never came to fruition because one of the members ran a red light.

      As cliché as it sounds – it is very much true! The members of the group that were going to do the assault in Puerto Rico were moving the weapons by car and it ran a red light. The police stopped them and, upon inspecting the car, found the stash of weapons. Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the United states and anyone born there is a U.S. citizen, this one event threw the local government into a panic and they proceeded to implement one of the strictest (if not the strictest) gun control laws in the nation. To this day, if you want to legally purchase a handgun in Puerto Rico, it requires a license that can take up to three years to obtain. If you want to be able to carry the gun, that is another license that can take another three years to get.


      I suppose that a lot of people would have found the decision on ‘Brown vs Board of Education’ a more memorable event but, we never had segregation in Puerto Rico so this just was not an issue for us. The races had been mixing in Latin America since the arrival of the Spaniards 500 years before so, by the year I was born, and to this day, you literally cannot tell what is the race of a Puerto Rican.

      Blog Your Dash – My School Years

      I found this article (Blog Challenge: Blog Your Dash « Lorelle on WordPress) browsing WordPress and it sounded like a rather interesting challenge. When you go to a cemetery, the headstones usually read “Born date” – “Died date“. The dash “-” is everything that you did between “Born” and “Died.” The challenge is to blog “your dash” or, what have you done with your life?

      As I think about it, I’m amazed at how I can organize my life in my mind!

      From birth to the 60’s – these are my school years. What I remember of this time was the outrageous clothing, the awesome music and those things that were happening in the mainland. I was raised in the Caribbean so, issues concerning the races were pretty much alien to me. Some events that really stood out and I still remember were:

      1. The Cuban missile crisis – Although I was a little kid when this happened, I still remember the sheer terror I saw in the faces of the adults (all of them) around me. At the time, everyone really thought that we were going to go to war, a nuclear war.

      2. The Kennedy Assassination – I clearly remember that Sunday afternoon. I was playing on a mound in front of my house when I saw our next-door neighbor run out of her house calling my mother at the top of her lungs. “They killed Kennedy, they killed Kennedy!” she kept saying over and over again. At first it did not register but, by the time I got home and turned on the local TV, I started feeling this sad heavy feeling as if a part of the weight of the world had just been placed on my shoulders.

      3. The Prep School – I went to a Jesuit prep school from 7th to 12th grades back in the days of having to wear a tie every single day for six consecutive years. This in a place where the temperature fluctuates between 75 and 95 degrees F (24 to 35 C) and a dry day was 70% humidity. Did I mention, no air conditioning in the classrooms?

      4. The Music – These were the years of The Beatles, The Doors, Motown, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Etc. These were the years of music like hasn’t been heard before or since. The kicker for me is that, being Hispanic, I was also enjoying the music and the new sounds in Spanish!

      5. The Clothes – The bell bottoms! Those miniskirts! Those micro skirts! The bikinis! The advantages of living in a tropical island in the Caribbean! Nuff’ said !!

      6. – 1968 – What a defining year! The TET offensive in Viet Nam, Martin Luther King is assassinated, the riots all over the country (The Watts riots), Robert Kennedy is assassinated, Czechoslovakia is invaded by the Soviet Union, Richard Nixon wins the Presidential Election. By then, I was old enough to understand what was going on and I remember thinking that the whole world had gone out of its mind.

      7. 1969 – We land on the Moon! For a space geek like me (Yes, I admit it, I was a trekker), it was an incredible experience. When you think about it, what was even more incredible was that the whole world was watching it on television in real-time.

      8. 1972 – Nixon wins the elections by a landslide… Then the real trouble began….


      What do you think?What has your “dash” been like?
      What about your school / formative years?
      Were you a geek or a dweeb in school?
      If you were to blog your dash – what would your blog title be?