There is barely any color left in this 54 year-old 3.5×5 inch photograph of me and my brother.

Original Photo

Photos of that era had a tendency to start fading after a few years. Our Dad snapped this shot but I can’t remember what type of camera or film he used, probably Kodak or Polaroid. A few years ago my brother scanned this photo producing a digital image which I tweaked using photo editing software to bring that moment back to life. A little bit of color is all you need if your editing software offers a large "color saturation" adjustment.

I remember how dry and crispy the grass was on that day. It must have been late summer. I know it was hot. The shrubs had a perfume and I recall the faint odor of freshly painted shutters on the windows. Mom and Dad were proud of our place and kept it spic n span.

Mom kept a watchful eye on newspaper ads. Occasionally, Sears or Montgomery Ward would offer a 2 for 1 deal on boys clothing. My friend Jerry says we looked like Mormons in training . Mom and Dad taught us what it meant to be frugal and thrifty. Dad’s DIY burr haircuts and home maintenance projects showed us how to save money. I still cut my own hair. It ain’t pretty but it feels good when I think of the money I’ve saved over the years.

We received those bikes (Huffy Cheater Slick) the previous Christmas and spent the summer of ’69 polishing our fenders with Dad’s Turtle Wax. I used my allowance to purchase a speedometer for my bike at the local Western Auto store and I’m not exactly sure why 😜 since I never reached more than 20 mph. I guess I thought it was cool. Back then, our world consisted of a few blocks within our neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky. We would meet with our friends and see who could lock their brakes and lay down the longest skid-mark, or ride down to Southland Shopping Center to get an ice-cream cone, a comic book and some bubble gum.

I never watched CBS News-man Walter Cronkite (or Waller Crank-Tight as Dad called him) who appeared each evening on 1 of our 4 TV channels, but I remember watching Neil Armstrong plant his feet on the Moon.

As I grew older I began to realize how much news made history that year, how time has changed the world, and how some things never change.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins performed the first successful moon landing and Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The Mariner 6 Mars probe was launched from the United States and Soviet space probes Venera 5 & 6 arrived in Venus’ atmosphere and were able to transmit information about the planet for 50 minutes before the Soviets lost contact.

Project Blue Book, the United States Air Force’s investigation into unidentified flying objects known as UFOs, officially came to an end on December 17.

The Woodstock Festival was held near White Lake, New York, attracting 350,000 music fans. Woodstock featured some of the top rock musicians of the era including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Joe Cocker, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. In England, the Isle of Wight Festival attracted an audience of approximately 150,000 to watch 26 performers including Bob Dylan, The Who, Blonde On Blonde, Joe Cocker, The Moody Blues and Free. A free concert organized by the Rolling Stones was held at Altamont Speedway in Livermore, California with problems caused by the use of Hells Angels as Bouncers resulting in a number of deaths.

The Beatles released their Abbey Road album and gave their last public performance from the roof of Apple Records in London. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married at Gibraltar, and had their honeymoon "Bed-In" for peace in Amsterdam. The John Lennon Album "Two Virgins" featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the nude were confiscated at Newark Airport. Brian Jones, former Rolling Stones Guitarist drowned after a drinking and drug binge. Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin II to critical acclaim, Pink Floyd released their Ummagumma album, The Rolling Stones released their Let It Bleed album and The Who released their Tommy album featuring the hit classic Pinball Wizard. Elvis Presley scored his final number one hit with the song Suspicious Minds.

Popular Songs: The Rolling Stones — " Honky Tonk Woman ", The Beatles — " Get Back" and "Come Together ", Johnny Cash — "Daddy Sang Bass", Zager and Evans — "In The Year 2525", The Archies — "Sugar Sugar" and The Fifth Dimension — "Aquarius".

Richard Nixon was sworn in as the 37th U.S. president and Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel. Moammar Gadhafi, a military captain at the time, deposed King Idris and assumed control of Libya. Charles de Gaulle Resigned as French President. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower died after a long illness at the age of 79 and Ho Chi Minh, the president of North Vietnam also died at the age of 79.

US Senator Edward M. Kennedy drove off a bridge into a tidal pond after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy did not report the accident for nine or ten hours.

While campaigning in Leary, GA Jimmy Carter and several other guests at a Lion’s Club Meeting witnessed an Unidentified Flying Object. Carter later filed the incident with the International UFO Bureau and in 1977 he became the first U.S. President with an official record of a UFO sighting.

Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail around the world solo without stopping. Donald Crowhurst’s sailing trimaran Teignmouth Electron was found drifting and unoccupied in mid-Atlantic; it was presumed that Crowhurst committed suicide (or fell overboard) at sea earlier in the month having falsified his progress in the solo Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

John Fairfax landed in Hollywood Beach, Florida near Miami and became the first person to row across an ocean solo. The SS United States, the last active United States Lines passenger ship, was withdrawn from service and the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was entered into service.

The Australian light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne sliced the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half killing 82 of her crew.

The Boeing 747 "jumbo jet" was flown for the first time, taking off from the Boeing airfield at Everett, Washington and also made its first passenger flight carrying 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, from Seattle to New York City.

In Toulouse, France, The Concorde made its first successful flight with a maximum cruising speed of 2,179 km (1,354 miles) per hour, more than twice the speed of sound and The Hawker Siddeley Harrier known as the "Jump Jet" was entered into service with the Royal Air Force.

Despite temperatures of -43C at altitudes of 29,000 ft. 22-year-old Cuban refugee Armando Socarras Ramirez survived in the wheel well of a DC-8 from Havana, Cuba, to Madrid, Spain, wearing only light clothing.

Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first temporary artificial heart and a teenager known as ‘Robert R.’ died in St. Louis, Missouri, of a baffling medical condition. In 1984 Robert R’s condition was identified as the earliest confirmed case of HIV/AIDS in North America. Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, made medical history on April 22nd, when they performed the first human eye transplant on 54-year-old John Madden. Because the donor eye had not been preserved enough to keep it viable, the procedure failed to restore Madden’s sight.

Mother Nature
During the last week of February a snowstorm hit the Northeastern U.S. region. The storm had a Regional Snowfall Index (RSI) of 34.03 making it a Category 5 storm. Mt. Washington in New Hampshire had over 8 feet of snow during the storm. On February 25 alone, Mt. Washington had over 4 feet of snow: 49.3 inches, which is still the one-day record.

Category 5 Hurricane Camille, the most powerful tropical cyclonic system at landfall in history, hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and left $1.5 billion dollars in damage (1969 dollars).

Michael Mageau and Darlene Ferrin were shot at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vellejo, California. They were the second (known) victims of the Zodiac Killer. Mageau survived the attack but Ferrin was pronounced dead-on-arrival at Richmond Medical Center. Two months later, The Zodiac Killer stabbed Bryan Hartnell and Cecilia Shepard at Lake Berryessa. Hartnell survived but Shepard died. During the following month, The Zodiac Killer shot and killed taxi driver Paul Stine in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, marking the infamous serial killer’s last known slaying.

Members of the Manson Family invaded the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski in Los Angeles. The followers killed Tate (who was 8.5 months pregnant), and her friends: Folgers coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring. Also killed was Steven Parent, leaving from a visit to the Polanskis’ caretaker. More than 100 stab wounds were found on the victims, except for Parent, who had been shot almost as soon as the Manson Family entered the property. The following day the Manson Family killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, a wealthy Los Angeles businessman and his wife.

Police raid Stonewall Inn on June 28th a gay club located in New York City ending The Stonewall Riot.

In a Los Angeles court, Sirhan Sirhan admitted that he killed presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pled guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. (he later retracted his guilty plea). The trial began of the "Chicago Seven" accused of inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Boxing champion Muhammad Ali was convicted of evading the draft after he refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Arrest warrants were issued by a Florida court for Jim Morrison on charges of indecent exposure during a Doors concert.

The first automatic teller machine (ATM) in the United States was installed in Rockville Centre, New York. Samsung Electronics was founded in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Donald and Doris Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco and Wal-Mart incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Dave Thomas opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in a former steakhouse in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Captain D’s was founded as "Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers" by Ray Danner with its first location opening in Donelson, Tennessee. The Long John Silver’s restaurant chain opened its first store on Southland Drive in Lexington, Kentucky (I was there) and Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips was founded by S. Robert Davis and Dave Thomas with its first location in Columbus, Ohio.

Dan W. Evins opened the first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store on Highway 109 in Lebanon, TN. By 1977 he had opened 13 stores from Kentucky to Georgia. In 2020 there were 664 stores in 45 states.

San Francisco Giant Willie Mays became the first major league baseball player since Babe Ruth to hit 600 career home runs. The New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles four games to one in one of the greatest World Series upsets in baseball history. The Montreal Expos became the first Major League Baseball team to be founded outside the U.S., Mickey Mantle retired from baseball and professional footballer Pelé scored his 1,000th goal.

Mario Andretti won the Indy 500, the only victory in the "Great American Race" for the legendary Andretti family as a driver.

The Battle of Dong Ap Bia, also known as Hamburger Hill, began on May 10th. Although the heavily fortified Hill 937 was of little strategic value, U.S. command ordered its capture by a frontal assault, only to abandon it soon thereafter. U.S. losses during the ten-day battle totaled 72 killed and 372 wounded.

Persons who were born during the years from 1944 to 1951, and who celebrated their birthdays on September 14, marked the occasion without being aware that their birthday would be the first date selected in the new U.S. draft lottery on December 1.

Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre story, the mass murder of unarmed South Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops in the Sơn Tịnh District of South Vietnam. Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States met in Helsinki, to begin the SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides. 250,000 people marched on Washington in protest of the Vietnam War and the very first U.S. troop withdrawals were made from Vietnam.

Several blockbuster and now classic films were released in 1969. 20th Century Fox released Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katharine Ross. Columbia Pictures released Easy Rider starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. Paramount Pictures released True Grit starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby. Midnight Cowboy starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight was released and won three Academy Awards.

Other notable film releases of 1969: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Funny Girl, The Love Bug, Hello Dolly!, Where Eagles Dare, and Paint Your Wagon.

At 24 years old, a young and nude Helen Mirren established her first major film role in Age of Consent starring James Mason and directed by Michael Powell.

Best known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, American actress and singer Judy Garland died while in London of an accidental barbiturate overdose less than 2 weeks after her 47th birthday.

The first episode of Hee Haw aired on the CBS network with guest stars Loretta Lynn and Charlie Pride. Scooby-Doo also aired its first episode on the CBS network. The Brady Bunch was broadcast for the first time on ABC. Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired on BBC One and Sesame Street aired its first episode on the NET network. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was established and The Galloping Gourmet with host Graham Kerr debuted in the U.S.

NBC aired the last episode of the original Star Trek series "Turnabout Intruder" Starring Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and Majel Barret (Nurse Chapel) the only actors to appear in both the series finale and the first pilot Star Trek: The Cage (1966).

The first message was sent over ARPANET, the forerunner of the internet and the first ARPANET link was established (the progenitor of the global Internet). The Microprocessor ( a miniature set of integrated circuits ) was invented opening the door for the computer revolution that followed. UNIX was developed by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs. Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith developed the charge-coupled device (CCD) while working at Bell Laboratories, producing the world’s first solid-state video camera just a year later.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am the epitome of the American muscle car was introduced. Ford offered the new Capri in everything from the basic 1.3-litre to the meaty 3.0-litre V6. The Plymouth Road Runner captured the spotlight as Motor Trend’s Car of The Year. Engine options included the standard 383 and optional 426 Hemi with the mid-year introduction of the 440 A12 Six Pack performance option.

U.S. Cost of Living 1969 vs 2021 (updated 8/19/2021)
yearly income 1969: $9,400 (2021 dollars: $67,868)
yearly income 2021: $53,490
new house 1969: $25,600 (2021 dollars: $184,832)
new house 2021: $408,800
new car 1969: $3,400 (2021 dollars: $24,548)
new car 2021: $39,000
1 gallon of gas 1969: 35 cents (2021 dollars: $2.53)
1 gallon of gas 2021: $3.01
1 loaf of white bread 1969: 23 cents (2021 dollars: $1.66)
1 loaf of white bread 2021: $1.98

The average U.S. consumer of today has less buying power compared to 52 years ago however, automobiles are far more efficient and safer. Homes are bigger and more efficient. But the average person today has a 21% lower income by comparison.

Posted by Late Boomer on 2020-05-21 15:23:32

Tagged: , 1969 , Bicycle , Lexington , Kentucky , News , History , Childhood , Neighborhood , Larry Yeiser , Space , Music , Politicians , Sea , Air , Medicine , Mother Nature , Crime , Business , Restaurants , Sports , War , Film , Television , Technology , Cars , cost of living , Huffy Cheater Slick , Hollywood

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