As I finished reading this article, my mind floated back to that time. I graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, La in 1962. I was in the 3rd graduating class and we had been behind in the Russians as they were the first ones to put man into outer space. So they took all of the kids with a higher IQ and put us into a school with a focus on going to college upon graduating. We not just had science and math, but we learned to appreciate Shakespeare as well. I tried to appreciate Chemistry, but I just could not do it in spite of Ms Hines efforts. Yet, to this day, I will find myself understanding chemical compounds, etc. So, she must have done something for me.
What does that got to with surviving the 60’s? Well we all graduated Ben Franklin, headed out to college, to conquer the world, space and whatever. Some of us went to the US Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and one in my class actually wound up working in the space program in Florida. I hate old age cause I cannot remember who it was now.
My best friend, Chris Smither, is still hoping all over the world, from town to town, with his guitar, and playing music. I used to spend time at Chris’s house trying to escape the chaos of my own house.
The early Sixties for some of us were our families falling apart with our parents divorcing and our classmates were the only things that gave us some sort sense of reality. My senior year was the beginnings of chaos in my life as my home life became hell and when I went for refuge at some of my classmates homes, I discovered that they, too, were looking for refuge outside of their home. We all wanted something to ease the pain somehow…
In the news, the rumblings of “Police Action” in South East Asia were starting to appear and some of our friend went into to the service.
While I was in the at the Naval Academy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, happened with a nuclear threat appearing 90 miles from our shore. Kennedy, while a Democrat, was a strong man and stood up to Khrushchev. There were Naval Officers being whisked away in the middle of the night from the Naval Academy in the process. I began being aware of what I was in now.
I was not ever suited for the life at the Naval Academy, as I had did not even have enough time to finish graduating high school and I was in my plebe year. I chose to resign my appointment to Annapolis. In doing so, I acquired a 6 year obligation to the US Government.
I began surviving the 60’s by drinking. I was in New Orleans and headed to the French Quarter, once the smoke cleared from my mother and father’s separation. When she asked me for rent, my logic was if I have to pay rent, I might as well get a place of my own. And off to the French Quarter I went.
I had joined a Naval Reserve Unit somewhere after resigning my appointment and returning to New Orleans in 1963. Shortly afterward, by not attending meetings and required drills, etc. I received a notice requesting my presence and should I be found physically qualified I was going to be shipped to Charleston, SC.
I would up joining a Training and Administration of Reserves Unit in Belle chase, La. Before it was over I became a Telephone operator and got to meet all the women calling the base first….woo hoo…I traded outside lines for flight lunches…I had a great thing going…
We were hearing more and more about Viet Nam. In 1965 while not on my record, when I finally stopped drinking I started having memories of being in SE Asia. I survived.
I have no clue what happened to 1966. I probably drank myself silly. The war was escalating. The war back home was escalating. It was starting not to be a popular thing to be a serviceman. I had grown up looking up to Soldiers, Marines, and Air Force men. Now they were being abused and starting to travel out of uniform.
I got out the service in 1967 in beginning and moved in with my father who helped me with new suits, and I found a job. I met my first wife at his apartment complex. In 1968 we moved to Washington, DC after 14th Street had been burned. We moved onto 15th Street not to far away and I would have black men on the way to work at a stock brokers asking me for food. I flashed back to the times in Germany when the streets were burned and bombed out.
It appears that the Liberal concept is to burn things down, or get people so angry that they burn things down, then they have nothing. I was in DC. when Nixon was elected and inaugurated. In 1969 we wound up back in New Orleans, while still drinking, I was seeking help by going to church in the Catholic Church.
I survived the 60’s. I was not one of those people who burned it down. I came out bouncing from job to job. I never made enough in nest egg to put away and now am barely able to get by on Social Security and struggling to find another job.
I am not so sure that I survived. I do not like what I am seeing now. I am angry. I missed out on protesting, as I was serving my country. The snakes that were spitting on us as we served our country, have now taken over our country and want to play Robin Hood. They want to pretend that they are the Merry Men and Women and they are looking out for our best interest.
Well this is my way of protesting…. They are NOT Robin Hood and the Merry Men!!!!
Don’t mess with the SCOTS-IRISH or you will have a bloody fight on your hands and you will lose!!!! We helped build this country.