Huntington High School

Huntington, Indiana

Class of 1963

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Huntington High School

Class of 1963

Musings of the Last Forty Years

by Les Braun
 

It can't be. It r-e-a-l-l-y can't be, can it? How can we have a reunion celebrating 40 years since our high school graduation? Sometimes, I don't even acknowledge that I have even reached that age, let alone graduated that many years ago. I stopped celebrating birthdays at 39 like Jack Benny (we are the age that remembers him) and started celebrating anniversaries of my 39th birthday. I guess at our age, time flies. It was very interesting to go over the current class list, since I have been out of contact. We are everywhere.

I started to muse over the last 40 years and it became much more interesting. Many things have changed in our world, country, us, etc. I thought I would try to put some of these musings into words for all to enjoy, be bored with, complain about, or whatever . . .

IN THE LAST FORTY YEARS-

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY - where I have worked for the last forty years

American Motors (AMC), Rambler, Plymouth, Studebaker (Studebaker? - why do I remember that one, maybe because I was driving one in 1963), MG, Triumph have all disappeared.

Datsun is now Nissan.

Chrysler Motor Company is now a division of Daimler-Benz (AKA Mercedes).

3 speed manual transmissions - remember those - are gone.

In 1963, Japanese imports were very rare. Now, they are rivaling the "American made" vehicles.

Station wagons have all but disappeared. Oh, that's right, they now call them SUV's.


THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY

Computer punch cards have gone unless there are some of you who are holding on to some for some STRANGE reason.

Computer tapes, which appeared shortly after our graduation, basically are relics.

Computers are now completely part of our lives, even if we don't own one - you mean you don't?

The room to house a computer has shrunk from multiple large rooms to my desktop.

Even automobiles are almost completely computer controlled.


THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD (Yes, it's still round)

In Europe, Yugoslavia is gone - does that mean there will be no return of the Yugo?

The Berlin wall has gone along with East Germany.

The USSR is now Russia plus many independent countries.

But, Elizabeth is still Queen of England.

Asia is still in a turmoil, although the names have changed.

We saw the war in Vietnam escalate and take the lives of some of our friends, and family members. That was a hard time for all of us, whether we were actively involved or not.  At least we have finally recognized the veterans who fought there and given them their due recognition.

China, India, Pakistan became nuclear powers.

Iraq had it's flair-up with Kuwait commonly known to us as Desert Storm and the immediate months after that. Probably our immediate friends did not participate in that one, but some of our children or friend's children did. My wife still remembers seeing our son walking toward her on TV on CNN in Iraq, not knowing that he was even there.

Again, some of our children or friends children may have been in Afghanistan with the most recent conflict in the Middle East.

Africa is another change. When we graduated, there were only 3 or 4 independent nations. Within a few years, most were independent. A couple were very anti-human rights in the way they treated most of their residents. This has gradually - too gradual - began to change.


THE AMERICAN SCENE

8 Track players - Need I say more?

Beta video tapes.

ABC, NBC, CBS are no longer owned by ABC, NBC, or CBS.

MGM no longer is owned by MGM.

Other names that are common but now part of conglomerates - Nabisco, Taco Bell, KFC, Kraft - for just a few.

We survived, for the most part, the Double Nickel speed limit - without to many speeding tickets, I hope.

President Kennedy, Bobbie Kennedy, Martin Luther King were assassinated.

The first bombing of the Trade Center in New York City.

The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  I remember that well.  My job at the time was only 5-6 blocks away, and I, and others lost friends.

The destruction of the Twin Towers just last year.

The Interstate Highway system has improved the speed at which we can visit friends, loved ones, and especially grandchildren who live all over the country.  Although some parts of the system are very b-o-r-i-n-g.


POLITICS

No comments. Not a safe subject to discuss.

PEOPLE

Yes, people have changed in the last forty years, except for me - I haven't changed. Except for the gray in my mustache - and my thinning hair - well maybe I have changed.

As I read the class list, it was sad to see the names of classmates who were listed as "Deceased." These were friends whom we walked the halls together, sat in the bleachers and cheered at the ball games - even cheered for some who have now gone.

We are all over the United States and Canada.  Many have stayed in the Huntington area.  That may not be all that bad.

Of course, there are some people in this great country who want to tear it apart.  However, there are more, thank God, that want to keep it together.

FINAL COMMENTS


Of course, as we celebrate this 40 years of time, we are all approaching that (yuck) 60 mile marker. So I thought I would leave you with some of the perks to which you can look forward.

1.   Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

2.   Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

3.   Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

4.   People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"

5.   People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6.   There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

7.   Things you buy now won't wear out.

8.   You can eat dinner at 4 p.m.

9.   You can live without sex but not without glasses.

10.  You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.

11.  You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

12.  You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

13.  You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

14.  You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

15.  You sing along with elevator music.

16.  Your eyes won't get much worse.

17.  Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

18.  You can't remember where you saw this list.

Author unknown

Hope you enjoyed this, or at least found something that you liked. We can always wonder what the next forty years will bring.


Copyright 2003 Les Braun

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