Boomers Continue to Live in “Interesting Times”

As this year inches toward its inevitable calendar end, it has certainly been one for the history books. This is nothing new to boomers; the old sentiment of May you live in interesting times appears tailor-made for our generation. Boomers have been eyewitness to history since the first boomers appeared in 1946. Our current historical happenings continue the trajectory.

That got Mister Boomer thinking about what happened 50 years ago. It blows Mister B’s mind to contemplate that the year 1970 was 50 years ago! Here are a few interesting tidbits of history from 1970 –– and especially from November of 1970 — 50 years ago this month. See if you remember:

• The population of the country, according to the 1970 U.S. Census, was 204,765,770.

• The median price of a home was between $22,000 and $25,700.

• Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company) was chartered by Congress.

Midnight Cowboy won the Oscar for Best Picture.

• The final episode of I Dream of Jeannie aired, after a five-year run on TV.

• The first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in the U.S. was unveiled at a bank in Buffalo, New York.

... and in November of 1970 …

• Tom Dempsey set an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal for the New Orleans Saints in a game against the Detroit Lions (November 8). Dempsey was born without toes on his right foot and had a special shoe created, which enabled his record-breaking kicking career.

Layla by Derek & the Dominoes (featuring Eric Clapton and Duane Allman) was released (November 9). Written by Eric Clapton, it was featured on the double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

• Charles de Gaulle died (November 9). He was a general who led the French forces against the Nazis during WWII, and became part of the provisional government of France after the war. Mister B’s only connection was that his family was on vacation, visiting Expo 67 in Montreal when Charles de Gaulle appeared there and said, “Vive le Quebec libre!” (“Long live free Quebec!”) to the assembled crowd outside Montreal City Hall. It caused a great deal of consternation because there was a separatist movement in French-speaking Quebec at the time.

• The Soviet Union successfully launched, landed and deployed a robotic rover on the moon, Lunokhod 1 (Moonwalker 1; November 17). Just one year after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface, it was the first such device employed on the moon. Nicknamed “the bathtub” for its shape and size, its mission lasted ten months. Powered by solar energy, the rover took the nights off, using a thermal energy heater to keep from freezing. The rover was controlled by operators in the Soviet Union, paving the way for future non-manned missions by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the moon and beyond.

• The court martial of Lieutenant William Calley began (November 17). He was the U.S. Army commander during the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam in March of 1968, when Calley and soldiers under his command were accused of killing 300 unarmed civilian men, women and children in the village of My Lai. Calley had asserted his orders to destroy the village came from his superior company commander, Captain Ernest Medina, who was nearby. Calley was the only person put on trial for murder. In all, thirteen officers and enlisted men were tried for war crimes, and another twelve officers were charged in the coverup that followed. After being convicted in 1971 and sentenced to life in prison, his sentence was reduced to twenty years, then again to ten years, following appeals. Calley was released in 1974.

What events stick in your mind from 50 years ago, boomers?

Hey Boomers, How is Your Memory These Days?

The human brain is an amazing thing. As aging boomers now know, you can walk into a room and forget why you went there, yet a flash of an image, sound or smell can trigger vivid memories decades old, and it’s yesterday once more (as the Carpenters once sang). Along those lines, it’s been Mister Boomer’s experience that fellow boomers can recall — at a moment’s notice — the lyrics from songs that they may not have heard since way back when. What’s more, the detailing of these lyrics are not dependent on whether the boomer liked the song or not.

So, in a thoroughly unscientific manner, let’s conduct an experiment to test Mister B’s hypothesis. Click the link below to view/print/download a PDF document that is Mister Boomer’s Lyrics Memory Quiz. Take the quiz and see if you agree that you can recall a bunch of these songs immediately.

Speaking of memory, we can’t forget about our fellow boomers who have been isolated — many for months, now — during these uncertain times. Mister Boomer personally knows several vulnerable boomers who have remained inside their living quarters, venturing out only for doctor visits. You may want to introduce the quiz to them over a video call as a way of increasing interaction in those on-screen visits. It can get them thinking and remembering, and maybe inject a little fun into your next internet social meeting, too.

A note about the song choices
Mister Boomer has selected the songs in this 24-question quiz partially by what has appeared randomly in his brain under his “Morning Jukebox Syndrome” affliction. That’s a circumstance where Mister B wakes up with a song playing in his head, lyrics and music included. Since first writing about it, he has heard from several other boomers who say they, too, possess this morning oddity. Otherwise, he tried to mix up the choices to span the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s to include as many boomers as possible. As a mid-generational boomer himself, Mister B has a real affinity for songs from the ’60s, as regular readers of this blog will know. Late-era boomers may have been born too late to know some of the songs from the 1950s, though they were repeatedly played as oldies for the past 50 years. No matter, it’s not a competition and won’t appear on your permanent record!

Some song lyrics will pop into your head immediately (I can name that tune in three notes!). Others may take a few minutes while your internal search engine sends out its bots to look for the file. Some only need a few words to be identifiable, while others may require a little more set-up to jog your memory. Some of these lyrics start the songs, and some lead into the chorus, while others are pivotal moments within. Each set of lyrics comes with a built-in clue by the indication of the number of words that are in the next line. Mister Boomer suggests singing the lyric to yourself (or to your video chat buddy), and you may find the next line flows effortlessly. Give yourself extra points if you know the name of the song and the band or person who recorded it. Add a thousand more if you can recall the year it was released.

We all need a little fun these days, and Mister Boomer hopes you can have some fun with this. Once you finish your quiz (Mister B recommends printing it to physically fill it out), then click on the answers link below to see how close you came. Mister B is betting you’ll remember more than you thought you might.

You’ll need a PDF Reader:
Click to view/print/download Mister Boomer’s Lyrics Memory Quiz

Click to view/print/download Answers to Mister Boomer’s Lyrics Memory Quiz

One legal note to relay: Please do not repost the downloaded PDFs or attach them in emails to friends and family. Rather, please respect Mister Boomer’s copyright and send a link to this page instead, so your recipients can experience them for themselves at the source. Thank you!