Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to share her thoughts about how we view the past.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.
My 50th class reunion is coming up in 4 months. I’ve already bought an age-appropriate dress (I consider a low V-neck age appropriate) with sleeves to cover lumps from 5 years of dialysis. I’m nervously looking forward to the event.
While I’m looking forward, the trend now is to look back. There’s a show on TV titled “1969,” my graduating year. I realize the ‘60’s are being lauded as a time of hippies, flower power, peace symbols, free love, LSD, communes and rejecting our parent’s ideals. But was it really a time of innocence and idealism? Hippies became the homeless, peace was never achieved, free love produced welfare children, drugs produced addicts. However, many were brought back into the fold to become computer geniuses, stockbrokers, religious leaders and Republicans.
My recollections of the 1960’s is vastly different. I came from a military family in a military community. We were dubbed “Hawks.” The draft was on and sailors on base painted peace symbols on the bombs being sent to Vietnam. I joined the Navy instead of going to college where my peers were protesting the war. Was it a popular decision? Absolutely not. Even my recruiter tried to un-recruit me.
When people wax eloquent about the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I think Vietnam, Nixon, J. Edgar, assassinations, Angela Davis, The Black Panthers and Tommy Smith from my hometown of Lemoore, standing on the highest platform at the Mexico Olympics with his fist in the air. In that second a hero turned into a threat.
The era I believed in was the ‘50’s. As a child I fantasized about pretty dresses and poodle skirts, proms and the perfect husband. I only knew one woman who worked for a living and only because she was divorced (another foreign idea). I expected the perfect marriage, a fully equipped house and well-behaved children.
I blame the ‘70’s for dashing my dreams. Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem demanded that we achieve. All of a sudden women were encouraged to get a job and not settle until you broke the glass ceiling. I refused to burn my pretty bras but scuttled off to the Armed Forces until this new era blew over.
My best friend, who is 94, bemoans bygone days. I asked what decade she’d turn back time. She decided she liked the ‘40’s. I reminded her that the Depression was barely over and WWII was going on. She doesn’t like technology, especially when she wants a person on the other end of the phone and all she gets is a robotic voice telling her which button to push.
I’m on the fence about technology. I hate cell phones but love my computer. I need cable TV in my life. I don’t listen to Rock and Roll stations, I want to hear what’s popular today. I applaud the decriminalization of marijuana but can’t indulge because of medical reasons.
I suppose it’s human nature to want to remember the good parts of past years. But it’s like trying to cover a black and white photo with a water painting. The reality is stark, but it’s there. And change, good or bad, will come.