It happened on the 10th of this month.
It was a Friday. On that day 71 years of sand in my ‘This is Your Life Steve Moseley’ hourglass finished trickling away.
I find birthdays, particularly these near the end of my time on earth, more and more evocative of memories past. Both good and bad.
I well recall when most mothers remained at home to raise the kids. That parenting style was long ago done in by economic necessity and single parenthood. Believe this or not, I cannot recall a single friend in my youth who did not have both parents in the home.
How dramatically that family dynamic has changed.
I have first-hand knowledge of dial telephones. Years and years when black-and-white was the only television and many Nebraskans didn’t even have that. Three channels, at least one covered in snow or wavy lines most of the time, was the in-home entertainment standard. That and the radio.
When I compare the options Good Wife Norma and I have available today it’s hard to believe. And we don’t have live streaming or Netflix, Hulu, DVR or the slew of leading-edge-of-technology options that are taken for granted these days.
Cars did not have air conditioning … or if they did I was never lucky enough to see one with my own eyes, let alone feel its cooling touch on my skin. Our family of five tent camped to the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962 packed into a Ford Ranchero station wagon … windows down, road noise roaring all the way there and back.
We had Google, but in our day its name was Encyclopedia Britannica.
The experience of JFK being gunned down in Dallas was very personal to me, just a kid at the time. GWN and I got to visit the Texas Book Depository on a Fun Club trip last summer. We stood next to the window from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that changed our world forever. I don’t ‘move’ easily, but I was moved that day.
I very well recall when segregation was a way of daily life in the south. I was looking on the dark and shameful day Gov. George Wallace of Alabama called out National Guard troops to ‘protect’ the University of Alabama from two black students seeking admission. Even worse, in an arrogant and unapologetically racist publicity stunt, Wallace personally stood at the door to block them. His well-documented 1963 gubernatorial inauguration rant – “Segregation now! Segregation forever!” - tells us all we need to know about furious George.
That actually happened. I know because I watched it on television.
“But Mose,” I hear you say, “Terrible stuff that happened way back when in far-off Dallas and Tuscaloosa has no relevance for Nebraska folks, then or now.”
Keep that thought in mind as I speak of two things that happened in 1967: (1) young and clueless Steve Moseley graduated high school among the corn fields of Nebraska and, (2) for the first time in history mixed race marriage became legal in our sleepy little state.
Didn’t know that, did you?
It took no less than an earthquake U.S. Supreme Court decision to make it happen all across America. I not only experienced this monumental social leap, when it happened I was already on the cusp of adulthood. Not that long ago was it?
Now for the part I cannot understand. How is it possible for society to have come so far since those ignorant and intolerant days, yet obviously have millions of miles still to go?