Tuesday in this blog, I submitted some thoughts about nostalgia. I noted a love/hate relationship about it. As fate determined, nostalgic thoughts have bubbled into my mind since then. This is frustrating because I want to live in the present as much as possible.
Case in point, on a whim I began going through my collection of loose photos. I suppose the idleness of the quarantine somehow prompted me to do so. I came across the slender, small envelope. It contained a small calendar that was given to me as a stocking stuffer on Christmas of 1969. The quaint little calendar hung on my bedroom wall during all of 1970. At year’s end, I returned it to its slender envelope and filed it away into a shoe box full of photos and postcards.
Since then, every time I’ve shuffled through my loose photos, I’ve encountered that slender envelope. I picked it up and set it aside so often that I barely noticed it anymore. However, this week was different. On impulse, I slipped the calendar out of its envelope in order to examine it. I flipped the pages to the current month and discovered that, aside from the year, the dates coincide with those of the current year, 2020.
It’s fun to discover a minor treasure you’ve had for years and years. I felt that same joy at the realization that I could reuse the little calendar. I soon hung the calendar on a kitchen wall next to the emergency flashlights. As I admired it hanging there, I briefly felt as if it was 1970 all over again.
1970 was a momentous year. It definitively spelled the end of the 1960s in many ways. It was in April of that year that Paul McCartney announced to the world he was leaving the Beatles. In May, “Let It Be” was released as the band’s final album. Like other Beatles fans, I was crushed.
Also big in 1970 was the first supersonic airliner flight by the Concorde. The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) was invented. Four students were killed by National Guard troops at Kent State University. Australia fought a then record number of wildfires (another parallel to 2019 into 2020). US forces invaded Cambodia in 1970. That was also the year of the Apollo 13 accident. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect after its ratification in the United Nations.
In early June of 1970, I graduated from high school. Shortly afterwards, I enrolled in college. Also, during the summer of that year, the neighborhood grocery store hired me as a stock-boy. It was my first bona fide job. I also discovered that I enjoyed the responsibility that came with the position. The paychecks would help to defray the costs of college tuition and textbooks. My adult life was beginning to fall into place that year.
Of course, that September, I began college attendance. Right away, I found out that college is nothing like high school. I really had to buckle down and work for my grades.
All things considered, 1970 was a major year of personal growth and changes. As I pondered the little calendar now hanging in the kitchen, I remembered that 2020 is turning out to be an earth-shattering year. It’s much more a year of major shifts than 1970.
The defining event has been the Covid 19 global pandemic. Everyone’s lives have been affected by the virus. Who knows exactly when our lives might return to some semblance of normality? Some of the ramifications of this crisis have yet to be realized.
In my personal life, I bought the house I have been living in as a tenant. This event was a milestone almost as important as being hired as a seventeen year-old stock-boy was in 1970. Just as I was beginning to adjust to the status of homeowner, the pandemic interrupted the home improvement plans by restricting how and when I can obtain supplies. As is the case for most of us, shopping for food and absolute essentials are the only times I leave home.
Now that the 1970 calendar is on display again, perhaps I can develop a more balanced opinion about nostalgia. Hopefully some of the good things about 1970 will be reflected during the rest of 2020.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes artist and novelist, Douglas Coupland. “I’m pro-forwards. Do I want the Seventies to come back? No. The haircuts were terrible. Everyone stank. The food was awful.”