Mar 31, 2009

Maybe you've said to yourself, "I know there is a specialness about March 31st, but I can't quite put my finger on it." Maybe you even said it today, on March 31st. For instance, did you know that on March 31st, 1889, the Eiffel Tower opened? Or that in 1918 Daylight Savings Time went into effect for the very first time in the US? Those were exciting times, I'm sure. Did you also know that Franz Joseph Haydn died on March 31st in 1809? As did Knute Rockne in 1931 and Jesse Owens in 1980. Those were sadder days, if you were around for them. Cesare Chavez was born on March 31st, as were Al Gore, Rhea Pearlman, Herb Alpert (but not the Tijuana Brass), Liz Claiborne, Christopher Walken, Barney Frank, Patric Leahey, Rene Descartes and a couple of Popes, Benedict IXV and Pius IV. Oh yeah, and me, in 1950, if you were curious. I think I've lived through the greatest period in history. Maybe everyone (except the Popes) thinks that, but look at the evidence. When I was born, almost no one had a TV, radio was the medium of the day. Cross-country travel was mostly by train. Everyone got their news via CBS, ABC, NBC or the newspapers. Black people were not permitted to eat, sleep or go to school with white people. Now a black man is president. Women were mostly moms, now we don't bat an eye at a woman in any job or career. When I first started out at Tedious systems, we had men's jobs and women's jobs, black jobs, Hispanic jobs and white men only jobs. I went from having a boss in 1969 who said that he would never having a "N" working for him, to have a black man as my boss. Times changed for the better, for sure. I was privileged to see Martin Luther King and the other heroes of the civil-rights movement fighting for equal rights for all our citizens. And Cesare Chavez fight for the rights of migrant workers. Fast food? We didn't have no stinking fast food. In fact, in the middle fifties right here in Hooterville, some guys opened a carry-out chicken place and the locals predicted that no one would actually drive somewhere and get out of their cars to get their own food. That restaurant, Lucky Wishbone, is still thriving. In my lifetime the average life span in America has gone from 69 years to 78 years. If I live long enough, I may never die. The world has seen life span increase from 46 in 1950 to 66 in 2001. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama have all been president during my life. That's over 25% of all the presidents that have served. I've seen a president assassinated and another forced to resign. Two guys were never elected president, but became president anyway. Three vice-presidents served without being elected. When I was in grade school we sent a man into orbit and then to the moon and back. Polio was vanquished, along with small pox, measles (mostly), chickenpox, whooping cough and a host of other childhood killers. Cancer is no longer a death sentence. My sister Cathy died of an infection that she could easily survive today. The Black Phone Empire was dismantled and we have had a technological explosion. One that allows me to type this inane post. Ipods, Kindle, Blackberry, Iphone, PC, Mac, you name it, the break up of At&T provided it. So far, it has been an interesting time to have lived. Emphasis on the 'so far' part. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

19 comments:

Nan Patience said...

It's amazing, the times we're living in, and have lived in.

Bella Rum said...

I do believe this is the most optimistic post you've ever written, Merle. I feel so much better after reading it. I didn't even realize that 78 was the average life span now. Where have I been?

tut-tut said...

A great list! Happy belated birthday

Karen said...

Happy belated birthday, Merle!

Megan said...

Hey! Happy Birthday! I liked this very much!

Bella Rum said...

Good grief! I forgot to wish you a happy birthday.

Happy birthday, Merle!

Kurt said...

Let's hope interesting things start happening again, for those of us born after you.

Steve said...

Pope Benedict and Barney Frank have the same birthday?? I'd love to see the astrology on THAT one. Ha!

Nice reminiscence, Merle.

Mariana said...

Happy birthday, Merle! :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic post in every way.

I am SO glad you were born exactly when you were, Merle. If you'd been born a few decades earlier I would never have known you. If you were only now turning 30 or so, it's quite likely I wouldn't be reading your blog.

You're perfect! Hope you celebrated and are still celebrating today!!

Many happy returns and many many more.

dennis said...

Dennis says happy belated, Mr. Birthday sharer...

Dennis was also born on March 31st ( b. March 31, 2000 ~ Kiryas Joel, NY) Dennis got extra hugs, kisses and belly rubs for his birthday. The big catered parties are happening this weekend though.

dennis said...

Dennis is happy to know that Christopher Walken is one of us. Explains a lot, actually.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hippo birdie two ewe!!! hey, you were born in the same year as 'my old man'...twas a very good year!!! a most excellent belated birthday wish to you!! hmmm, I wonder how well a cake would fare in the post!

Julia said...

Happy birthday, Merle!

"Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama have all been president during my life. That's over 25% of all the presidents that have served."

When you put it that way it really puts into perspective how very young our country is.

Megan said...

I don't know that W deserves the II appellation. Just sayin'. He was in a class all his ownself.

alphabet soup said...

And many more March 31st's (??) to you Merle!!
Ms Soup

Coffee Messiah said...

Happy Birthday and those days were indeed something to have seen and lived through.

Cheers!

Squirrel said...

what kind of cake didja get?

sleeping dragon said...

Happy Birthday!
It would be lovely if you could "live forever", but if that doesn't turn out to be possible I hope you'll find a way to keep this blog going :) It's my-after a hard day's work smile!