Jan 10, 2014
The 1960’s changed the cultural fabric of America. All eyes focused on the youth of America. Change was in the air. The 70 million children born post-World War II (hence the phrase “baby boom” and ultimately the name “boomers”) became teenagers and young adults. I thought before we discuss our book “Cruising Though Retirement,” it might be fun to take a moment to look back at the wild ride of the 1960’s as shared by my co-author Katherine Motley.
The 60’s brought us the peace symbol, the smiley face and “Have a Nice Day,” Twister, the miniskirt, the Etch-A-Sketch, pantyhose, the first Super Bowl, and flower power. Did you know that G.I. Joe came on the scene in 1963, but due to the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, the military figure was discontinued in 1969 and an “adventure series” was launched in 1970? The military figure did not return until 1982. The hippies wanted to “Make Love, Not War,” and young people decided to go to California to “find themselves.” Our hair went from bouffant to teased-up beehives to long and straight.
Our music was all over the place – rock and roll, R&B, soul, California surfin’ songs, and Motown. The 60’s saw the end of “rock and roll” and the beginning of just plain “rock,” with the British invasion of the Fab Four, and that eventually led to “hard rock.” We were introduced to the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Emerging in the 60s were such groups as the Beach Boys, the Dave Clark Five, the Supremes, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Mamas and the Papas, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Temptations, the Drifters, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Three Dog Night, and such performers as Neil Diamond, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel – and the list goes on. For the most part, our music pointed to endless summers, young love, and dancin’ in the streets.
At the movies, we saw The Apartment, Lawrence of Arabia, The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Easy Rider, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Doctor Zhivago, Mary Poppins, Psycho, To Kill A Mockingbird (my favorite), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (I still don’t get this one!). The hills were alive with The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Hello Dolly. Disney brought us 101 Dalmatians and Pinocchio. And fans enjoyed six James Bond films! Many of the books and films of the 1960s were among the most acclaimed in history and continue to be considered classics.
On television, we were watching The Andy Griffith Show, The Flintstones, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Big Valley, Lost in Space, Star Trek, Th Jetsons, American Bandstand, Gilligan’s Island, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and Route 66.
We saw great things happen in the 60’s. The Peace Corps was created by President John F. Kennedy. Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech. John Glenn became the first man to orbit the earth, and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. the Freedom Riders and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came on the scene. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, setting a record that would not be broken for 37 years. There were a total of six Olympic games in the 60’s (winter and summer 1960, 1964 and 1968) and such names as Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Carol Heiss, Otis Davis, Bob Hayes, Don Schollander and Peggy Fleming took home the gold, just to name a few.
We saw great things invented, including the first computer mouse (1963), the first hand-held calculator, the first cash dispensing machine (ATM), and the first artificial heart. Other inventions included acrylic paint, permanent press fabric, non-dairy creamer, bar-code scanners, the halogen lamp, AstroTurf, audio casse!es, and compact discs. And what about ARPAnet, the grandfather of the internet!
What were we driving? Most of the cars were American-made from the Big Three. Chevy brought us the Corvair, and Chrysler the Valiant. There were the Mercury Comet, the Rambler Classic, and, of course, the VW Microbus (not American-made). We had the Ford Mustang, Falcon, Thunderbird and Galaxie; the Plymouth Road Runner, Fury and Barracuda; the Dodge Charger; the Chevy Camaro and Corvette; the Pontiac GTO, Firebird and Catalina; and the Cadillac DeVille, Fleetwood and El Dorado. The cars of the 1960’s, like the movies, are truly classics.
In the 60’s “bad” became a good thing, a “blast” was a really good time, “crash” meant going to sleep, “far out” was not a measure of distance, and “cruising” sometimes indicated looking for girls or guys.
Life in the 60’s was too large to be explained and too remarkable to be fully appreciated in a few paragraphs. But let me say, I believe you’ll find answers in our book “Cruising Through Retirement” that will “blow the doors off” other books on the subject of planning for your retirement – and that it will keep you cruising (though not for chicks) through retirement.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.
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