I’ve been reminiscing a lot about 1975, which was the year I graduated from high school. In April I’ll have a chance to once again reconnect with some of those classmates when we descend on Oaklawn.
Just in case one of those awkward silences arises (one won’t) due to the fact that we not have seen each other for a bit, I thought I’d refresh myself on the topics of the day from 41 years ago.
We had our fads, like mood rings, but I never got one because KM says I wear my moods like a funeral tent. I also never had a Pet Rock, although I applaud creator Gary Dahl for this lump of genius, which was sparked when he was listening to friends complain about their pets one day. He joked he had the perfect pet, a rock, which led to some marketing, sales and Dahl’s checking account climbing to over a million bucks. He later attempted to follow it up selling “Sand Breeding Kits” and “Red China Dirt,” a plan to smuggle main land China into the US, one cubic centimeter at a time. These failed to attract as much interest as the Pet Rock.
I did have one of those Rubik’s Cubes, but don’t remember ever solving it.
I also had bellbottoms, but never a leisure or disco suit.
And there were plenty of 8-Tracks in my Grand Prix, mainly ZZ Top, REO Speedwagon and Wings. Morley had the good stuff, Mountain and Zappa.
But the song of the year, which I’m embarrassed to reveal, was “Love Will Keep Us Together,” by the Captain and Tennille.
We had great movies in 1975, like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Jaws,” and “Dog Day Afternoon.” And there was that historical event on TV when “Saturday Night Live” premiered.
“All in the Family” was America’s top show for the fifth straight year.
Our president was a Republican, who had been appointed by a former Republican. Gerald R. Ford never won a presidential election. Nelson A. Rockefeller was his VP.
Arkansas actually had three governors in ’75. Dale Bumpers began the year in the mansion but had won his senate race the year before and was headed to Washington. On Jan. 3, Lt. Governor Bob C. Riley (no relation to Jeannie C.) became acting governor, to serve the final days of the unexpired term of Bumpers, whose senate term began before his term as governor expired. Riley served as Acting Governor for eleven days, until David Pryor, who had defeated Orval Faubus in the primary before crushing Republican Ken Coon, took over.
The country’s population in 1975 was 215,973,199. Today it is 318.9 million. Our unemployment was 5.6 percent. A stamp cost a dime, quart of milk: $.46 and a loaf of bread: $.33. So those milk sandwiches everybody loves so much on snow days were cheaper.
On April 30, 1975 the Vietnam War ended. Margaret Thatcher became the first woman elected to lead Britain’s Conservative Party.
In Japan, the VCR was created; a Betamax by Sony and VHS by Matsushita.
Computer hobbyists Stephen Wozniak and Steven Jobs begin working on computer designs.
The Steelers beat the Vikings in the Super bowl, 16-6 and in what some still believe was the greatest World Series ever, the Reds beat the Red Sox, 4 games to 3.
Golden State won the NBA Championship over the Washington Bullets 4-0.
Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King won Wimbledon; afterward, Billie Jean retired from singles.
Famous people born that year were: Charlize Theron (08/07) and Tiger Woods (12/30). People we lost were: P.G. Wodehouse, the great English humorist who gave us, “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” Also passing that year was General Francisco Franco, about whom Chevy Chase often reminded us “is still dead.”
Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.