There are a lot big anniversary dates for some pleasant memories that I have here in November. Some are just a wow, that is so much a part of my generation and identity of who I am (and collectively who we are ). A couple of the others are just a wow, I can’t believe that is actually happening and thinking I will have to remember where I am when that happened and how it all came about it. The kind of things that as we move through history will likely be major points of reference. Being nostalgic makes a lot of sense, as they are playing mid 80’s music in here in the coffee shop anyway.
Forty years ago in mid-November Sesame Street launched an incredible idea on public television. The idea was basically make things so fun on a television show that we might not even realize that we are learning things while watching it. Granted it started a few months before I was actually born, but clearly I can count myself in the first generation of Sesame Street watchers who truly grew up with the show itself. And while we maybe missed a few of things, like “where the air is clean” almost all of us know that the show was brought to us today by the letters “C” and “K” and the number “2”. I think for the most part my two favorite characters were Oscar and The Count. Oscar was just funny and of course The Count was all about numbers, which just made so much sense to me even then.
Thirty years ago was a bit harder for me to think of something that would compare on such a scale as the one for forty and twenty, but if I skip just one year over to November of 1980 one of my fondest things comes to mind. The first election of Ronald Reagan occurred in 1980. I recall this vividly, as despite only being in fifth grade I was actually paying attention to politics. And truth be told, most of the platform of the 1980 campaign is fairly similar to my general believes politically today – however well it was actually enacted and some of the issues that arose in the second term. In particular fondness, for whatever reason I got to give a rhetorical speech in favor of Mr. Reagan to my fifth grade class and from that he won our in class mock election (whether by my influence or otherwise, I was on cloud nine). Imagine how I felt when few years later I was a finalist for the Ronald Reagan Scholarship at his Alma Mater.
Twenty years ago and perhaps somewhat because of the that fellow in the almost thirty year mark is the Berlin Wall actually did come down. I recall this one vividly, as I was in college at the time. Recall seeing the images on the television the common areas over in Foyer Hall back lobby. It was actually one of those things that took awhile for the impact to sink in totally. Think about it though and all the things that have happened either because of or in relation to that action. The opening of Eastern Europe and the warming relations, though still far from perfect, between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union are all things that in some way can point to this huge November act of twenty years ago. And just as so many things before that I have at times a hard time understanding the impact, I am sure current generations wonder what the big deal is all about. I am also sure that another twenty years and there will be a small group that will deny it ever existing – and as proof they will offer up that NOTHING remains where it supposedly once stood.
Ten years ago in November is an extremely easy one. This was just after leasing the farm that would eventually become home in the mountains of Virginia. At the time it was just the barn and surrounding land and later the farm would be added. But the awesome views could not be beat, the crisp air – though there was a major warm up later that allowed a lot of work to get done around Thanksgiving and onto December with getting the barn cleaned and such. But the most awesome thing of all was sitting out on the hood of the car watching the Leonid Meteor Shower. I have never seen so many shooting stars of such brightness and pure clearness. It was purely awesome and that is all that can be said about it. I have seen it from other places, but never has ever compared to what you could see and the volume you would have in that location, far from so much of everything else. It was definitely one of those experiences of which I will always recall and am extremely thankful for having gotten to experience it.