If you were born in 1958.
In 1958, the world was a different place.
There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo.
In 1958 the top selling movie was South Pacific. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.
Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the theatre, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.
Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Gigi. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to My Uncle. The top actor was David Niven for his role as Major Angus Pollock in Separate Tables. The top actress was Susan Hayward for her role as Barbara Graham in I Want to Live!. The best director? Vincente Minnelli for Gigi.
In the year 1958, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?
In 1958… Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic. The word Aerospace is coined, from the words Aircraft and Spacecraft, taking into consideration that the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space is to be one, or a single realm. Gamel Abdel Nasser is nominated as the first president of the United Arab Republic. Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare the patron saint of television. A test rocket explodes at Cape Canaveral. A peace symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. A British team led by Sir Vivian Fuchs completes the first crossing of the Antarctic in Snow-cat caterpillar tractors and dogsled teams in 99 days. King Baudouin of Belgium officially opens the World Fair in Brussels, also known as Expo ’58. The satellite Sputnik 2 disintegrates in space after several orbits. The U.S. Army inducts Elvis Presley, transforming The King Of Rock & Roll into U.S. private #53310761.
That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.
The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Boris Pasternak. The Nobel Peace prize went to Georges Pire. The Nobel prize for physics went to Pavel Alexievich Cherenkov, Il’ ya Frank and Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm from Soviet Union for the discovery and the interpretation of the Cherenkov effect. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?
The 1950s were indeed a special decade. The American economy is on the upswing. The cold war between the US and the Soviet Union is playing out throughout the whole decade. Anti-communism prevails in the United States and leads to the Red Scare and accompanying Congressional hearings. Africa begins to become decolonized. The Korean war takes place. The Vietnam War starts. The Suez Crisis war is fought on Egyptian territory. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others overthrow authorities to create a communist government on Cuba. Funded by the US, reconstructions in Japan continue. In Japan, film maker Akira Kurosawa creates the movies Rashomon and Seven Samurai. The FIFA World Cups are won by Uruguay, then West Germany, then Brazil.
Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Paper Moon. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?
In 1958, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song All I Have To Do Is Dream by Everly Brothers topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.
When I want you in my arms
When I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream
There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.
When you were 8, there was The Man Called Flintstone.
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… it’s 1958. There’s TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is The Donna Reed Show. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There’s The Voice of Firestone on now. That’s the world you were born in.
Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1958. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The Integrated Circuit. The Communications Satellite. The Implantable Pacemaker.
I rolled off the line
In Detroit back in 1958
Spent three days in the showroom
That’s all I had to wait
That’s from the song Rusty Old American Dream by David Wilcox.
In 1958, a new character entered the world of comic books: Mr. Freeze. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1958, Andie MacDowell was born. And Belinda Carlisle. Madonna, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
The world is a different place.
What path have you taken?
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