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A forum for the exchange of creative and progressive ideas. A place for free thinkers to share their thoughts and visions.
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I was a teenager in the 50s. I pretty much thought I knew exactly what was happening in the world around me. And I had a vague uneasy feeling at a very early age that something wasn’t quite right with the world. I wondered about a lot of things I was too young to fully grasp at the time, but the one thing I did know for sure was that the 50s was a great time to grow up. It was also a confusing time too. It was barely 10 years after the end of WW-2 when I was in Junior High school and I began to figure out that the world was not really such a nurturing wondrous place. I was one of the kids who came to terms early on that “Everything You Know Is Wrong”
It was also a time of tremendous energy and innovation. Growing up on Long Island in the 50s was simply great. My youngest child still feels that same spirit. It was a great place to grow up with spirit of invincibility that made the nation great. It made us drunk with power, and slowly, while we weren’t looking, the rules were changing in ways we never fully grasped until much later. ….and the seeds were sown.
When I was very young, we liven in Massachusetts in a big old victorian styled house that bordered a national forest preserve. That part of my life surrounded by nature is imprinted on my soul forever. After that, we lived, for a short time in Queens N.Y. This was an unendurable experience for the country-boy in my soul. We moved to Long Island about the time I finished 4th grade – where I remain to this day. For now.
The spirit I felt growing up on LI has evolved, but in many ways has stayed a lot the same, for better and for worse. Back in the day, we were a kind of new breed of “townies” with a kind of new age conservative outlook. The recently arrived nouveau riche, townies & red-necks all had to get along. And in spite of it, and maybe because of it, life would change in ways we couldn’t imagine.
The Migration from the city in the early 50s underscored the differences between city-people and those of us who grew up in what was becoming the suburbs. Through the years, the political and moral values of the area began to form and crystallize. In the Fifties, I remember the McCarthy era and being frightened by the fanatic dogma I would see on TV. Through the 60s, we co-existed with very different social and political agendas. It was a weird time for me. It was the first time I sensed such strong polarity all around me,Then
Viet Nam happened.
I joined the navy right out of high school, I needed to see the rest of the world – fast. I was guaranteed a special services school and great duty. I was on one of the first ships to go to the Viet Nam Theater. I learned more in those two years in the Far East than most people learn in a lifetime. It formed a big part of who I am. I learned things about military life and living on board a ship for almost two years. I experienced different cultures, values and some very vibrant history.
In those few years overseas, I discovered that people were the pretty much same everywhere I didn’t see things quite so much in black and white anymore. I stayed in Calif. & went to college for a while. Southern California hadn’t quite started to boom, so I came back to L I and went to work in New York City. In the late 60s NYC was a resonant slice of history. There never was, and never will be, another year like 1968 for me. After making enough money in the communications business to buy a house, I started making my living in the music business, a place where I learned more than most people learn in ten lifetimes! By then, I had a child, long hair and wasn’t such a rigid conservative any more.I found an agreeable, mellower perspective for that part of me that demanded it. I had a boat, was into camping, lived my life with passion and thought I was bullet–proof.
Fast forward to 9-11
I was in NYC that day. It was the worst day of my life. As I sank to my knees on 5th Ave seeing the horror for the first time, I instantly understood everything that this day would mean. It meant that life would really never-ever be the same again. None of us were bullet proof, and we all knew exactly where to draw the line that day. That was easy.
So, now it’s 2017 and we are more divided than ever. Today, a “You’re either with me or against me” mentality rules the day. Life is more complicated than I ever imagined it would be at this point in my life, and everything we learned WAS wrong!
So what else is new?