Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Story of Me, part 12: The Year of My Birth - 1957

This is my entry prompted by The Book of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesGo to for more information.

This week's assignment:

The continuation of the 15 month, weekly writing project about my life and memories, created by Julie Goucher.
This week’s prompt (week 12) is The Year of My Birth

What happened....
Historical - internation, national & local
Family events

The year of our Lord was a far cry from the world we know today.

On the day I was born, there were a few notable events:

1) The show American Bandstand premiered ("Band from the east, give it at least a 75!")

2) Contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith was born.

3) British figure skater Jayne Torvill (who won Olympic gold) was born.

4) I became the first born in my family, the first grandchild on my mother's side, and the apple of my grandfather's eye.

This blogger, November 1957
Copyright 2013 Linda O'Donnell All Rights Reserved

The high in Chicago that day was 66 degrees; a very pleasant autumn day.  My dad operated a Standard Oil gas station in the city; he was quite an accomplished mechanic.

My parents and I, and (later) my brother, were all born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor.  My parents' families were not acquainted with each other at the time of their births, so this is a somewhat amazing event and piece of trivia.

In the entertainment world, the following was going on:

1) "Around the World in 80 Days," starring David Niven, won the Best Picture Academy Award.

2) Yul Brynner won the Best Actor Oscar for "The King and I." (He was born to play that role, in my opinion)

3) Ingrid Bergman won the Best Actress award for "Anastasia." (She was always one of my faves.)

4) Other notable films released in 1957:

  • Bridge on the River Kwai (Alec Guinness, William Holden)
  • 12 Angry Men (Henry Fonda)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (Marlene Deitrich, Tyrone Power)
  • Old Yeller (Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire and an adorable canine)

New Shows: 
  • Perry Mason
  • Wagon Train
  • Leave it to Beaver
  • Maverick
  • The Tonight Show (Jack Paar)

Popular shows: 
  • Phil Silvers
  • Candid Camera
  • Superman
  • This is Your Life
  • Ozzie & Harriet
  • Gunsmoke
  • Howdy Doody
  • I Love Lucy (the last season)

Music highlights:

  • "Wake Up, Little Susie," The Everly Brothers
  • "All Shook Up," "Teddy Bear," "Jailhouse Rock," Elvis Presley
  • "That'll Be The Day," Buddy Holly
  • "You Send Me," Sam Cooke
  • "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," Pat Boone
  • Elvis Presley registers for the draft.

New Product Introductions:
  • Frisbee
  • Edsel automobile
  • Electric Watch
  • Electric Typewriter

Civil Rights:
  • Despite a record-setting filibuster lasting 24 hours and 27 minutes by Sen. Strom Thurmond, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
  • The Brown v. Board of Education law was passed, regarding desegregation in schools.
  • The governor of Arkansas called out the National Guard to stop 9 black students from entering a high school in Little Rock.
  • A commercial air flight had its first black pilot, P. H. Young.
  • All National League baseball teams integrate.

  • 8.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Andreanof Islands, Alaska
  • Hurricane Audrey kills 416, disrupts offshore oil drilling
  • Worldwide influenza pandemic kills 4 million

Food prices
  • Milk - $1/gal
  • Ground beef - $.30/lb.
  • Butter - $.75/lb.
  • Campbell's Tomato Soup - $.10/can
  • Eggs - $.57/doz.
  • Iceberg lettuce - $.19/head

  • Baseball champions: Milwaukee Braves
  • Hockey champions: Montreal Canadiens
  • Football champions: Detroit Lions
  • Basketball champions: Boston Celtics
  • Indy 500 winner: Sam Hanks
  • Brooklyn Dodgers, NY Giants (Baseball) announce move to Los Angeles.
  • NY narcotics investigator, Dr Herbert Berger, urges AMA to investigate use of stimulating drugs by athletes. (Obviously this wasn't very effective.)

Other Headlines:
  • USSR (Russia) launches world's first satellite Sputnik into space; Sputnik II, a month later, successfully carries a dog into orbit (first living being to enter space)
  • President Dwight Eisenhower pledges defense of nations against Communism
  • The European Common Market is created
  • "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss is released
  • "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac is released
  • Actor Humphrey Bogart dies of cancer

Though the world was different in many ways, the winds of change were definitely blowing.   I'm not sure we're in better shape today than we were in 1957, at least in some ways.  In my opinion, the world is moving and changing at a much faster rate today.  Yet many problems that existed back in 1957 persist.  The "Cold War' may have ended, but there is as much conflict worldwide today as ever.  While many efforts were made to erase racial differences, the derision between blacks and whites seems to have increased in recent years.  Americans are more at odds with each other today than they have been for generations.  Our nation's dominance in many areas, including military, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and technology, has waned and I fear this great country has lost sight of the principles established by our founding fathers.  Our civil liberties, the workings of our government, our sense of morality...these are all things I've been watching erode during the course of my lifetime.  I love America, but unless someone or something alters our course, I fear for our future.  

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