DAILY DIRT: From those early drive-in movies to mini-skirts, a boomer’s memory is filled with many great things 

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You can still head to Springfield, Ill. if you want to catch a movie at a drive-in.

Daily Dirt for Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Not all of those memories are good ones, however, due to the deaths of MLK and JFK … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 948 of The Daily Dirt.

1. My first recollections of life, or at least the first ones I remember at this point in time, came around 1961 when I began grade school. 

Growing up in the 1960s was a great experience, as I think most baby boomers would agree. At this point of my life, just about all the memories are fond. If you are in my age bracket, see if you agree with some — or all — of my top memories from that amazing decade.

The following choices are in no particular order, because they are all equally important:

  • Watching the first U.S. venture to the moon on network TV: I can remember that day in the summer of 1969, watching on my family’s relatively small black-and-white TV when we all took one small step for mankind. That historic event still ranks as the most-watched viewing on network television — ahead of nine Super Bowls that fill out the other nine positions in that all-time top 10. Many kids at that time dreamed of being astronauts, but I wasn’t one of them. I’ve always been scared of heights, and the moon was way-y-y-y up there. My dream was to either play for the Cleveland Indians or be a member of the Monkees.
  • The Monkees: Speaking of those zany mop tops, every self-respecting junior high teenager was glued to their TV sets on Monday evenings to enjoy the latest hijinks of Mickey, Davy, Peter and Mike. And the music was pretty good, too.
  • Pop-Tarts: The world was introduced to Pop-Tarts in the fall of 1964. Since Cleveland was the home base of Pop-Tarts at that time, and Cleveland was just up the highway from where the Eighinger family was located in Ohio, we had all the Pop-Tarts we could ever want. At the time of the rollout, there were only four flavors: Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Apple, Strawberry and Blueberry.
  • Hula hoops: Believe it not, every self-respecting kid had at least one of those things in the early ’60s. The only problem with your basic hula hoop involved a certain amount of coordination, or lack thereof. Those who were coordinated enjoyed the hula hoop. Those who were not coordinated, did not. Safe to say, I thoroughly hated the hula hoop.
  • Mini-skirts: Hey, I entered junior high in the fall of 1966. I soon discovered how wonderful the female fashion point of view would be in my formative years.
  • Saturday morning cartoons: They started early and wound up shortly before the NBC Major League Baseball Game of the Week. My favorite cartoon from that period was the Beatles Show (1965-67) on ABC, which was complete with plenty of music from the Fab Four. “Beatlemania” was far-reaching at that point in history.
  • The Etch-A-Sketch: Remember how frustrating it was when you — or someone else — would accidentally move it, sabotaging long periods of work to make a specific design, picture or series of letters? The Etch-A_Sketch sent many a kid over the edge.
  • Drive-in movies: When my parents took me to a drive-in movie I felt like the king of the world. I also felt like the king of the world years later when I asked Lynn Marie Parr to go to the drive-in with me on the first official date of my life.
  • Transistor radios: Many a night I fell asleep in bed listening to a west coast game between the Indians and California Angels.
  • The JFK Assassination: I remember my third-grade teacher crying and how the world seemed to come to a complete halt for several days. 
  • Impact of Martin Luther King: Looking back, there may have been no more important individual figure to emerge from this decade. From his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 to his death in 1968, King left a legacy that continues to impact us more than half of a century later.

2. Daily Dirt world headquarters continues to be swamped with nominees for our third annual Great Plate Debate.

The following license plates were the latest and greatest to be entered from across West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, but none, in the opinion of the Great Plate Debate Board of Control, were worthy enough to knock off the reigning leaders:

This week’s top entries

  • RTE 66
  • LYRICP 1
  • US BOX 1
  • NC GIRL 1
  • BLU RYD
  • RESQ 5
  • BRASS 33
  • HAZRD 5
  • UZUMBA 2
  • THE CRW 5
  • KATZ 14

The medal holders remain:

  • Gold medal: CO XIST 
  • Silver medal: S-EVAN
  • Bronze medal:  US-MALE

3. Be sure to drop a birthday card to this week’s celebrating celebrities:

  • George Brett, who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1999, turns 71 today. Brett’s career average was an impressive .305.
  • NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, who is the league’s all-time leading rusher and second on the league’s all-time touchdown list with 175, will also be opening presents today on his 55th birthday. 
  • Irish-born actor Pierce Brosnan, will be 71 on Thursday. Brosnan was fifth actor to portray secret agent James Bond (1995-2002)
  • Singer Janet Jackson turns 58, also on Thursday. Her 1993 No. 1 song, “Again,” is my personal favorite in her catalogue.
  • Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard will be 68 on Friday. His career record was 36-3-1 with 25 knockouts.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Those Etch-A-Sketches were major pains in the butt.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He went to drive-in movies with dates to actually watch the movies.

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