Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanksgiving in the Sixties

In the late sixties, many young people suffered major transformations at Freshman year at college. Happy go lucky, polite, well groomed young people the previous June, they went off to college and contracted bad cases of college-itus. Their hair grew long, they sported beards, they smelled like pot.

As was the tradition at my school, the previous senior class wandered the halls of high school the day before Thanksgiving. And look at them! Enough to bring many a high school teacher to tears. "All that work we put in on their educations and three months at State and look what happened to them!"

I was recently listening to the Beatles' Revolver and can see a similar transformation. Young clean cut men, previously loyal to their Queen and Capitol Records, smoked a joint and got sour outlooks on life. It sounds like they ate a meal that didn't agree with them. (Or got their tax bills).

Editor's note: One of the icons of the sixties, the cartoonist R. Crumb, has an interesting show of original ink drawings at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art at on the Penn campus. Throught December 7. Wed-Sun. Free.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Route 80

Northern New Jersey was late in getting the major interstate highways. For years anyone wanting to go to the Pocono's had to take Route 46 through Hacketstown, which was always crowded. Hackensack finally got Route 80 in 1964.

One Sunday afternoon I was traversing my way through the comics in the Herald Tribune. I was past "Peanuts" and entering the more parochial world of "Miss Peach" when my father asked if I'd like to take a bicycle ride. This was a new development in family life up to this point so I said, skeptically, "okay".

I rode my trusty bike and my father rode my older brothers'. He was at college and would never (until now) be the wiser. We headed onto Route 80. Scheduled to open the following day, the highway was magnificent and empty. It had a wonderful view of New York and the Empire State Building. We went as far as Bogota.

In Bogota we visited my father's friends. I had a coke and he drank a few beers. On the way back he swerved a bit on the road but I held up the rear. The next day Route 80 was opened up to the trucks and traffic jams for which it would become famous.