Thursday, January 19, 2012

It is 1955 and....

It is 1955 and
it is a week
or two
after my second birthday and
I am standing in long pants
in the dark green water
of the Atlantic Ocean
with my mother
and Marian Anderson is the first African American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera
and the game Scrabble debuts
and the Pentagon announces a plan to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons
and President Eisenhower sends the first U.S. advisors to Vietnam
and Claudette Colvin, a fifteen year old black girl, refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white woman after the driver demands it and is carried off the bus backwards while being kicked and handcuffed on the way to the police station
and Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister
and the Salk polio vaccine receives full approval by the FDA
and Disneyland opens to the public in Anaheim, California
and the first nuclear-generated electrical power is sold commercially
and James Dean dies in a car wreck
and Christopher Mayhew ingests mescaline and allows himself to be filmed by the BBC
and Vladimir Nabokov publishes his novel Lolita
and the Mickey Mouse Club TV program debuts on ABC
and the Reverend Sun Myung Moon is released from prison in Seoul, South Korea
and the Brooklyn Dodgers finally win the World Series
and a time bomb explodes in the cargo hold of United Airlines Flight 629 killing everyone on board
and racial segregation is outlawed on trains and buses in Interstate Commerce in the United States
and Bo Diddley makes his television debut on Ed Sullivan's Toast Of The Town
and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge to become the AFL-CIO
and the Montgomery Improvement Association is formed in Montgomery, Alabama, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other Black ministers to coordinate a boycott of all city buses
and General Motors Corporation becomes the first American corporation to make a profit of over one billion dollars in one year
and we are anchored
into a
history that swirls around us
like some living
and we're not in Kansas anymore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My mother was then recovering from polio, contracted in 1954, shortly after my brother's birth. I went to school with a guy who had one of the last recorded cases of polio before the vaccine was available. It's always seemed like such cruel timing. My brother and I held the local record for number of vaccinations throughout our childhoods.
Also being two at the time, I was photographed,wearing less, pushing my toy lawnmower across the dirt around the new tract house we moved into. Kodak moments.
Kodak is now going bankrupt.