Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good Thing I Am Old


Summit County, Colorado
Gary Lindstrom gary@garylindstrom.com

This semester I am teaching Sociology II, American Government and a new course for me Contemporary World History. It covers the time period from 1900 to today.

I really enjoy teaching times and events that I have actually experienced. I can teach from my own memory rather than relying on some boring historian. I can be boring enough without their help.

Tuesday night we were talking about changes in music, dress and culture in general. We talked about the Roaring Twenties, the Busby Berkley musicals of the 30's that were intended to make people happy and the advent of Rock and Roll in the 1950s.

I first moved to New York City from Iowa in 1960. I bounced around between New York, Georgia and England for a few years and came back to the city in 1964. In 1965 I was a private detective in New York and had the good fortune to be asked to work security for the Beatles on their first American Tour. I was at the concert in Shea Stadium. You can watch it on You Tube and if you knew where to look you can see me standing on the dugout where the Beatles came onto the field.

Later I was in the New York Police Department and one evening I was detailed to work inside the Broadway Theatre where they were holding the Tony Awards. That night I was able to talk to Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, Paul Newman, Joann Woodward and have an extended conversation with Carol Channing as she was practicing her speech near the door. As they were all leaving Groucho Marx actually asked if I would carry him out on my shoulders as he was very short and could not get through the crowd. Of course he was joking but it is a memory I have of that night.

I tell these stories in my class and sometimes my students do not have a clue as to who I am talking about. When we were talking about dance fads I mentioned "The Lindy Hop." No one had ever heard of it or had seen it. I found it on You Tube also and they really enjoyed how hard the dancers had to work. I told them it was named after Charles Lindberg. No one knew who he was.

Good thing they have an old teacher who remembers this stuff. g

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