1968

July 9, 2007



My only neice just had her 13th birthday. What an important and special time of life. It made me start thinking about when I was 13… in umm, umm 1968!

The sixties was an amazing yet turbulent time in history. And being 13, I was just starting to pay attention to the world around me. Kids slightly older than me were dying in Vietnam and I did not know why. Teenagers across America were involved in politics, having sit-ins, burning bras, enjoying “free love”. I remember thinking it was all so overwhelming for me. But I knew the power of our generation.

Time has proven that the baby boomer teenagers had a huge and long lasting impact on American politics and culture.

My memory of 1968, a freshman in high school, includes an English teacher, Ms. Rutherford (possibly the first Ms. I had ever known). She was the first to encourage the writer in me.

I remember the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War. Lyndon Johnson was president and he announced he would not seek or accept presidential nomination. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, was slain in Memphis. James Earl Ray, indicted in the King murder, was sentenced to 99 years. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary and died on June 6th. Richard Nixon was voted in as President.

Record of the Year was “Up, Up and Away,” by the 5th Dimension. Album of the Year was (and still is) a favorite: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by The Beatles. The rock musical Hair opened on Broadway in 1968.

Music was amazing then! I guess every generation thinks that their music is the best, but how does one argue with this list:
The Beatles, “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution”
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”
Archie Bell and the Drells, “Tighten Up”
The Temptations, “I Wish It Would Rain”
Tommy James and the Shondells, “Mony Mony”
Diana Ross and the Supremes, “Love Child”
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along The Watchtower”.

And others like:
“Judy In Disguise” … John Fred & His Playboy Band
“Green Tambourine” … Lemon Pipers
“Love Is Blue” … Paul Mauriat
“Honey” … Bobby Goldsboro
“Mrs. Robinson” … Simon and Garfunkel
“This Guy’s in Love With You” … Herb Alpert
“Grazing in the Grass” … Hugh Masekela
“Hello, I Love You” … The Doors.

Not to mention: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell, Jose Feliciano’s, “Light My Fire” and Dionne Warwick’s, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”.

Top Movies of 1968
1. The Graduate
2. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
3. Gone With the Wind (reissue)
4. The Valley of the Dolls
5. The Odd Couple
6. Planet of the Apes
7. Rosemary’s Baby
8. The Jungle Book
9. Yours, Mine and Ours
10. The Green Berets
(They just don’t make ’em like they used to!!!)

Yes 1968 was an important year… the year that the successful flight of Apollo 8 made Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders the first people to orbit the moon.

Johnny Cash recorded “Live at Folsom Prison”.

The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Helen Keller died in her Easton, Connecticut home, just 26 days before her 88th birthday.

Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol as he enters his studio, wounding him.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closes above 100 for the first time, closing at 100.38.

Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control.

Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’état.

The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia.

The Medal of Honor is posthumously awarded to James Anderson, Jr. — he is the first African American U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago, Illinois outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.

The United States Department of Defense announced that the United States Army and United States Marines would send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios.

The White Album is released by The Beatles.

1968, when I was 13. The year itself has helped make me who I am. Peace.

Advertisements

Down Town Rehabbing

May 29, 2007


We are rehabbers. My Dad taught us about real estate and helped me buy my first property… a triplex at auction purchased for $13,000. We rehabbed it, rented it, my mom help manage it and we later sold it for $30,000.

Liza’s favorite rehab was an old victorian in a somewhat questionable neighborhood that was our residence for 18 months. That turn-of-the-century, friendly spirit inhabited, cottage netted us enough profit to make our big relocation to Key West where even in the late 80’s it was difficult to find any kind of little cottage in the historic district for less than $100,000. But after 2 years of looking, we found one and purchased it for $95,000. Three thousand of our own money and a second of $17,000 held by the desparate sellers. Within two years we were able to refinance at better rates and pay off the seller. Fifteen years later we sold this property for over 6 times what we paid for it.  Dad, you were right. The harder you work the luckier you get!

Because property had gotten so expensive in Key West, we went on the week-ends to Ft. Lauderdale (where we have dear friends) and purchased another triplex, fixed it up, rented it, and sold it less than 2 years later for a significant profit. I love real estate. 

Now we are back to my hometown. For several years we have been watching our downtown area deteriorate as the mall, strip shopping centers and the suburbs developed. But as many small towns across America, our little town’s city center is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. The wonderful old historic buildings are catching the eye of young investors, the train station is being renovated, local musicians play in open air gathering spots and new shops are opening.

When we decided to come back to East Tennessee (at least part-time), we decided we wanted to be a part of the refurbishing of our downtown. So we purchased the commercial building pictured above. It was built in 1905. Local historians report that it was first utilized as doctors offices.

In the fifties, a group of attorney’s occupied the upper floor while various retail businesses occupied the two small storefronts downstairs. When we first saw the upstairs with the huge skylights, and a room with 60 bookshelves built-in (law library) we knew we had found a new project and home. 

In the eighties, the upstairs was rented by a local radio station. Evidence of this still exists as one bedroom door is labled “studio A, Control room”. We purchased this building last year and have renovated the building with new heating/cooling systems, new wiring, new wood floors, new paint, and new plumbing. We made “studio B, Production” into a roomy and modern kitchen.

We like our downtown loft even with the 25 step walk-up and the parking challenges. We miss a yard and a garage, but are proud of our work and our contribution to preserving something historic and worthy. With the interior almost complete we are now working on the exterior… well, actually, Dave the painter guy is. In Liza’s photo above, Dave is pressure washing in preparation for paint.

Love the idea of taking something old or somewhat forgotten and giving it new life cycle. Our building will be starting over. Starting over as our new home in the city.

Warm wishes.


Hometown Graduation

May 22, 2007



The Stone Castle has played host to the Tennessee High Vikings for over 70 years. With some of my own dear granddad’s labor, the atheletes there still, today, have a terrific stadium, a one-of-a-kind historic sports palace known as the Stone Castle.

Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal, the Stone Castle is currently still in use. This stadium is a reminder of the post-World War II era, another time when high school football received top billing around the state.

Situated on the campus of Tennessee High School in Bristol, the Stone Castle Stadium opened on October 8, 1936. First known as the Bristol Municipal Stadium, the Stone Castle is constructed of coarse rubble limestone from another WPA project at nearby Beaver Creek, the stadium seats approximately 6,000 and features most of the original Medieval Gothic details. Its unique corner towers, arched entries, and crenellated walls clearly make the Stone Castle the most architecturally significant stadium in Tennessee.

Seeing the Stone Castle again makes me remember my own years of high school and MY senior year. Our football team was state champ that year, I ironed my hair to make it straight and my favorite music was soul plus Neil and Eric, Bette and Elton. (Still is.) It was an exciting time. 

My grandad help build it, my brother was a starting football player within it’s stone walls, and now my keeper nephew just graduated. MVP. Soccer. Honor Society. Good Person.

Only nephew, class 2007, is product of his own hard work plus effective and loving parents, caring grandparents, hardworking great grands, and so far back that records are scarce being near the beginning of our very country.  So many generations choosing these very hills and valleys for their home.

So much of which to be proud. Like being hugged by your roots. And now only nephew will be starting over. Starting over as a graduate from a castle in Tennessee where the spirits of generations before him will forever be his support.







PS. Nephew’s graduation presents included (among others) the newest Blackberry and a hand made quilt from his grandmother (my mom). Appropriate mixture of the old and the new technology!

Warm wishes until next post!


Rebel Barn, Pride or Hate?

May 15, 2007


My Liza came home with this disturbing photo today.  What is this rebel flag suppose to be saying to us?  Is it “southern pride” or is it “state’s rights” or is it some kind of backward racial comment made by someone clearly still residing in another time?

As a white female boomer born in the south, I am very proud of most things southern. Love my Mama and my family and my southern musical heritage. Love Tennessee Pride sausage gravy and homemade biscuits almost as much as a nice thick authentic southern accent. I call everyone “Y’all”. I love the climate: the four seasons of the Applalachian mountains, the tropical flavor of South Florida, the historical architecture of Savannah and the diversity of New Orleans and Atlanta. And I like the weather too.

I decided a long time ago that I would travel everywhere, but would not reside west of the Mississippi River nor north of Virginia. I am a southern girl. This doesn’t mean I am proud of every page of my southern history book.

Having said that, I am also a product of the sixties. I beleived Mr. King. Racial bigotry is the same to me as any other hate based thinking involving discrimination. Whether against women, gays, minority races, or religious/secular groups, it is all the same. I have always beleived that a lack of mutal respect for other humans and/or a lack of education must be behind this kind of narrow (if you are not like me then you must be wrong) thinking.

I am a product of Key West’s ONE HUMAN FAMILY philosophy.

So what does this rebel flag emblem suppose to mean to me? Or should it exist at all?


urbanmoon

April 2, 2007


.


.

Our small town is enjoying a rebirth, having “bottomed out” as have so many downtowns across our nation. It is starting a new life with the renovations of historically significant buildings, new shops and loft conversions.

We wanted to be a part of this restoration so we purchased a two story brick building on a side street only a few storefronts from the main street of town. Two storefronts downstairs and a roomy upstairs city home made for the perfect arrangement for us. For now.

Last night Liza was prawling around the neighborhood when she noticed this urban moon peaking between two city buildings. Oh Liza!

Tennessee moonshine!!!