I REMEMBER VIVIDLY making a decision that I was going to head west from Pennsylvania to attend college in Colorado. I know where I was because I bit my lip on a bone-jarring bus ride to a track meet in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Back in the early 70s, the world was doing alright without AltaVista, Yahoo! or Google. Life seemed simpler, even with the innuendos that were part of the backstage action during "West Side Story," a play that my high school was doing. The school play was a big deal and so was going out to the movies--you had to because you couldn't rent DVDs or VHS tapes. They didn't exist--but I had several hundred yards of eight-track cassette tapes to rewind every weekend. My youngest brother would pull the tape out of the cassettes and extend the mess all over the living room. So I sat in front of a black and white television and rewound tapes. Most of the time, the TV had snowy reception, so I read the newspaper. I think about all these things because when I was deciding on a third level education, I made my decision in a totally analogue way. No YouTube, no digital downloads, no websites. Just a little brochure that I read when on the bus headed to track meets.
I remember my mom was over the moon when I was thinking about college because I was locking in my options at the same time that the US was banning cigarette advertisements on radio and television. That made mom very happy. Local campus sentiment was decidedly anti-war as American air and artillery support pointed into Laos. A few years later, I was taking classes from several of the first USAF aviators to fly into Laos and Cambodia. And another lecturer was dabbling with designs for the International Space Station.
Among my collection of 45s, I had the Allman Brothers, the Doors, Steppenwolf, and Deep Purple. A lot of the lyrics from my high school days coloured my personality as part of the "Me Decade", according to Tom Wolfe.
I remember sitting in wrap-around queues for gas. I remember buying several instant things like instant noodles and a two-week supply of macaroni and cheese. In 1971, when I was deciding on going to college, e-mail was just invented, so we used post cards a lot. We were a few years away from a microwave oven and we would never have a computer in the house.
I've taken a more digital path for my life since the 70s but the pile of paper alongside the walls of my study suggests I'm still very analogue
Inspired by the timeline at What Happened in My Birth Year.