Who needs history books when you’ve got old parents? I guess there’s a perk to having been born in the 1950s.
My younger son engaged both the Mister and I in separate conversations the other day about events that took place in the 1960s, which he’s studying in class. This semester he often has talked to us about interesting tidbits he’d learned from his wonderful U.S. History teacher.
Sidebar I: His older brother had the same teacher his junior year. I can’t remember conversing with him even once about what he was learning. Of course, then he’d have to acknowledge my presence.
Sidebar II: This reminds me of why we’re so glad the kid returned to his high school after a torturous semester online. It’s so nice having real, live teachers again!
“Do you think that Robert Kennedy would’ve won the 1968 election if he hadn’t been assassinated?” my younger son asked me.
“Absolutely!” I replied.
“Do you think the U.S. lost the Vietnam War?”
“Yes, I do.”
Sidebar: I wrote a term paper on the Vietnam War when I was in high school (got an “A”). Of course, I had no earthly idea that one day I’d have a son who would be asking me about that very subject. Wonder where the paper is . . . probably in all my clutter.
“The war really wore down Lyndon Johnson, didn’t it? I wonder what would’ve happened if he had decided to run for president in 1968.”
“Hard to tell, but that’s a great question.”
After that, we talked about the different experiences that his dad and I had growing up in the turbulent ’60s. I never witnessed overt segregation in Chicago, while the Mister saw separate bathrooms and drinking fountains in Texas. I told him that because his dad had a high draft lottery number, he didn’t have to serve in Vietnam (but his older brother Mike did).
I could see all the war protests I walked past on the University of Illinois campus come alive in his eyes as I related my college experiences. My life had become his U.S. history.
My younger son’s teacher told his class that most of the parents were too young to remember the 1960s and the Vietnam War. But I guess my kid’s lucky—his mom and dad were singing “Eve of Destruction” in high school (“Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’.”) Hey, I even wrote a song (“Oh, School Board!”) to protest when our high school teachers went on strike for more pay.
Even though the Mister and I have moved from cool and groovy to moldy oldies, it’s nice to know that our pasts can come in handy. I can’t wait for the chance to indoctrinate the kid into that great disco sound of the Bee Gees when his history class moves on to the 1970s!