Leaving on a Jet Plane

My 50 (!) year high school reunion is this year. Thinking back to high school……

I was a sophomore in high school when the class of 1969 graduated.  At the senior assembly at the end of the year, the cool senior girls (who also happened to have a bit of a mean girl rep) sang ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’.  These girls always dressed well and were decidedly cool from my vantage point as a sophomore.  But their end of the year performance iced their coolness for me.

That song launched my summer of ’69 and the first time I really felt like a teenager.

There were a lot of momentous events that summer.  Here is a CNN link to just a few:

  • The moon landing
  • Senator Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick
  • Woodstock music festival
  • Manson murders
  • Stonewall riots

I definitely remember the moon landing and tuned in a bit to Woodstock.  The Manson murders were huge news, as was Chappaquiddick.

But I was in my Great Falls bubble that summer. My girlfriends and I worked at the Recreation Department.  That was THE summer job to have.  I was a pool attendant and had a loose job description that involved lockers, nickels, hoses, and a squeegee.

We had Aileen brand knit short outfits.  I am sure mine was olive and turquoise (still my favorite combo).

Our radio station was KUDI. We loved the Supremes and put together a number of dance routines to our favorite Supremes’ songs. My meilleur ami took the Diana Ross role.  One of our all-time favorite movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was the number 1 movie in 1969.  Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the song from the movie, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.

For us, one of highlights of the summer was the State Fair.  Bob Hope was one of the headliners at the Night Show that year. Each year, there was a Pet and Doll Parade as part of the fair events. As Recreation Department employees, we had a big job to make sure the parade went off without a hitch.

My husband had a very different summer that year.  He was a Marine and had been wounded the year before in the Vietnam Tet Offensive.  He was stationed at Camp Pendleton in CA and was finally discharged in late July 1969.

I guess this quote turned out to be true for both of us that summer:

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Alan Watts

I look back and often think that 1969 might have been the end of an era.



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