When The Road Began

A friend sent me this link. I went to the site and typed in my birth year. Here are the results. You may find this interesting too. Just go to:
What Happened In My Birth Year

In 1948, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or Us.mg4.mail.yahoo, for that matter.

In 1948, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Easter Parade. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.
Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

Cover of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madr...

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Hamlet. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Monsieur Vincent. The top actor was Laurence Olivier for his role as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in Hamlet. The top actress was Jane Wyman for her role as Belinda McDonald in Johnny Belinda. The best director? John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

In the year 1948, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?

English: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

In 1948… Mahatma Gandhi begins his fast-unto-death in Delhi, to stop the communal violence during the Partition of India. The Italian republican constitution goes into effect. Scientists Ralph Alpher and George Gamow publish the Alpher-Bethe-Gamow paper about the big bang. The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations. Chaim Weizmann is elected as the first President of Israel. Killer smog settles into Donora, Pennsylvania. The world’s first Air Car-ferry service is flown by a Bristol Freighter of Silver City Airways from Lympne to Le Touquet. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicates for health reasons.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to T. S. Eliot. The Nobel prize for physics went to Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett from the United Kingdom for his development of the Wilson cloud chamber method, and his discoveries therewith in the fields of nuclear physics and cosmic radiation. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?

The 1940s were indeed a special decade. World War II continued, affecting people in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. The post war world encouraged decolonization, new states and governments emerged, while others declared independence, often not without bloodshed. The dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is published, picturing a totalitarian Big Brother regime controllings its citizens. The NATO gets established. Iceland declares independence Denmark. Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party is victorious in the Chinese Civil War. Mathematics sees the invention of cryptography. Ballistic missiles are created.

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? 55 Days at Peking. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Walk Like a Man by The Four Seasons. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?

In 1948, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover by Art Mooney topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that grow in the lane

There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie The Pied Piper of Hamelin was playing. When you were 8, there was Around the World in Eighty Days.

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1948. Do you know what was invented in the year you were born? The Long Playing Record. Holography.

It’s a photograph taken in Paris at the end of the honeymoon
In 1948, late in the month of June
Your parents smile for the camera in the sienna shades of light
Now you’re older than they were then that summer night

That’s from the song Come on Come On by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

In 1948, a new character entered the world of comic books: The Mad Hatter. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1948, Al Gore was born. And Alice Cooper. James Taylor, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
It’s 2012.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?

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