5 Momentous Events And How They’ve Changed Us

Those of us that are from the baby boomer generation (1946 – 1964) have been impacted by many events, but some just stand out, and have so much meaning that they bear reflecting upon. Selecting such events are a personal thing, so your choices may vary from mine.

1. The JFK Assassination

The majority of people alive today, were not around in 1963, so they cannot comprehend the impact of that event. I will always remember the date, November 22 (the day after my birthday). 

I lived in Canada at the time and was signing my name to a year 12 exam paper, when an announcement came over the Public Address System that the President, John Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. His assassination left me and millions of others in a numb state of disbelief. Suddenly, the person representing strength and stability was gone, and in that moment, the world felt fractured and unstable.

Since that day, I have been to Dealey Plaza (the site of the assassination) several times and the feeling is surreal. The plaza itself looks smaller than how it appeared on TV and there is a mark on the roadway indicating the site of the deadly deed. Being there also makes you realize that you are at the site of one of the most significant historical events of the 20th century. The event is forever imprinted in my mind.

2. Lunar Landing 1969

On July 27, 1969 I was a friend’s, watching the event unfold as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. John Kennedy implored the United States to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade of the 60’s and it was achieved. It was an amazing scientific and technological feat, and showed that when a nation or people put their focus and intent on something, the results can be incredible.

It was remarkable to think that man had set foot on another celestial body. Flights to the moon lasted until 1972 and no one has been there since. In fact, the U.S. currently cannot even launch a man (or woman) into earth orbit. There is an old biblical proverb; “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. It seems that this proverb applies not just to people but to nations as well.

The moon mission for me shows what is possible and how important purpose is in life. It seems that America has lost its purpose. We can all learn from that lesson.

3. Collapse Of The “Iron Curtain”

From the end of the Second World War, the “iron curtain” symbolized the separation between the eastern, communistic, repressive world and the western, democratic, free world. For decades it seemed that it was the way of the world and it would never change until the year 1989.

Because of deteriorating economic conditions, a liberal Soviet President, named Gorbachev and an insatiable desire by people in the eastern bloc countries for freedom, change was afoot. In country after country, the communist regimes fell like a stack of dominos. In Romania, where my family was from, the restrictions under communism were so severe that life was almost intolerable at times. Thankfully, the Romanian revolution changed all that.

This episode in history has taught us that there is an inherant human desire and need for freedom of expression. Many of the people from those countries have gone on to contribute, using their freely available skills for the betterment of society.

4. Invention Of The Personal Computer

The personal computer came on the scene in the late 1970’s. It was really the start of the technological revolution we have today; the internet, smarphones, ipads, all developed as extensions of the personal computer.

Having grown up with manual typewriters, as many of you did, it was hard to imagine devices that could give access to so much, in so many different places and to connect the world in so many different ways. It has given every individual a greater sense of freedom, and an increased ability for self-expression. Today, the mobile phone has much more computing power than the Apollo spacecraft which took men to the moon.

One of the philosophical questions we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we have lost the personal face-to-face communication skills of yesteryear as the result of these devices. As I sit here blogging away, instead of thinking of it as diminishing relationships perhaps it is an addition to them. Only time will tell.

5. Attack On The World Trade Centre

This was another one of those events that seemed incomprehensible. What made it more so was that the attack and its aftermath was televised live. The collapse of the two buildings, after being struck by the aircraft, seemed to symbolize an attack on civilization itself.

It woke us up to the fact that anything is possible. It also was indicative of what can happen when a country or individuals become elated or even arrogant. While no one is deserving of such unspeakable violence, perhaps it showed us that when we are one sided and not humble that we shut ourselves off from the other side.

The attack humbled America. Americans (at least for a while) started to think about what was really important in life instead of full steam ahead thinking only about the next dollar. What it also showed was how a country and individuals could come back against such adversity.

Quilts And Me

At the age of 6, I learned to hand sew. When I look at some of the
small pieces that I still have, I am amazed at what I achieved. 

When I was 16 my mother insisted that I do sewing classes as “one never knew
when the skill would be needed”. After having children, along with my
other creative attempts such as pottery, it was all put in a back

About 15  years ago, a friend invited me to a craft show. I bought a
magazine with a picture of a quilt which was a scene of 2 children in
the shallow pools at the edge of the ocean. I decided that I would
learn how to make one of my own grandchildren. As yet I have not
created the landscape I imagined, however I am continuing to learn the
techniques which will culminate in my landscape masterpiece.

Along the way, each grandchild has their own personal quilt made by grandma.
Most of our beds throughout the family are covered by my quilts. There
is also one of my Australiana quilts hanging in the foyer of the
Rehabilitation Centre in Cedar City, Utah. 

We think of quilting as an American invention. It actually started as
knight’s and warrior’s protection before metal armour was invented. It
was also a cheap way of using old materials to make warm clothing and
blankets. In Australia during the depression era, Waggers, which were
made from used men’s trouser pieces, were sewn together to create warm
bed covers. 

My brother laughs at my quilting creations. He can’t understand why
anyone would cut up perfectly good material then sew it back together
again! He has no appreciation of the pleasure that comes from creating
something beautiful and complex from some simple pieces and yes-there are some men doing it. For many people, it is a community activity and there are many groups in different suburbs where many tricks of the craft are shared and many quilts created for charity. 

Like many crafts, some people have the gift to be able to take
quilting to an art form. We get to see some Australian ones at the
annual quilting shows. In America, there are several quilting museums
where outstanding quilts from around the world are displayed. We had
the privilege of going to the National Quilting Museum in Paducah,
Kentucky a few years ago. Even my husband, who has no interests in the art, was amazed
at what he saw. 

So, I continue to sew, learn and sew some more. I describe it as
applied geometry. Whether it is hand or machine quilting, I start to
twitch if I can’t get to material and needles for more than a week. Maybe
it is an addiction? I doubt that I will ever be a true artist, but
enjoy being “crafty”. I hope that I can continue learning and creating
quilts. After all, I still have a wardrobe full of material which
needs to be used.   

10 Great Movies From The Past

I have to admit – I’m a bit of an old movie buff.

There have been so many great movies over the years and it is difficult to pick out a 10 best list. It is highly subjective and you may come up with your own list. If you do, let us know. While there are no Australian films on the list, there have some great ones such as Gallipoli, Breaker Morant and Lantana.

The movies which I have selected are over 40 years old; most are readily available at video stores or online. What I appreciate about these movies is that they tell a story without in-your-face violence, sex and swearing as is the case with so many of today’s movies. They teach us about life, make us think and can often be a source of inspiration.

So here we go.

1. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

This movie by the great director, Billy Wilder is told in flashback. The opening is quite unusual. William Holden’s character has been shot dead and is lying in a pool with the camera looking up at him from the bottom. He narrates how this all unfolded. This dramatic opening hooks you from the beginning.

The other star of the film is Gloria Swanson the great silent film star in a case of art imitating life. The movie explores the relationship between age and youthfulness, male and female, and codependency. The dramatic final scene is one of the great closing scenes in cinema.

2. The Graduate (1967)

This was the first major starring role for Dustin Hoffman. In the film he plays the son of an affluent family who gets seduced and has an affair with a family friend, Mrs Robinson, played superbly by Anne Bancroft. To complicate matters, he is interested in Mrs Robinson’s daughter.

There is a great soundtrack, courtesy of Simon and Garfunkel and plenty of humour with the final church scene an absolute hoot, blending religious symbolism.

3. All About Eve (1950)

What stands out about this movie is the crisp, witty and intelligent dialogue. The movie concerns the rise of a young starlet (Anne Baxter) who schemes to supplant an aging actress, Margot Channing played by Bette Davis.

All About Eve is one of those classic films that never ages, primarily due to its classy, all star cast .

4. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

Of all the epic movies produced in the 1950’s and 60’s, this one tops them all. Produced by the great English director David Lean, it was filmed in the Jordanian and Saharan Deserts, taking 2 years to complete. It chronicles the life of T.E. Lawrence (brilliantly played by Peter O’toole) who led an Arab rebellion against the Turks during World War 1.

The movie has been restored and is on bluray with the photography in the desert so rich and striking that you forget it’s 50 years old. There are many standout scenes, but one in particular is embedded in my mind. This is where two camels are racing towards each other silhouetted against the vastness of the expansive desert.

5. Vertigo (1958)
Alfred Hitchcock made many great movies. Vertigo I feel is his most special. He weaves a story with intrigue, mystery and with twists and turns that has you gripped right to the end. Hitchcock was a master manipulater; you know it, but you are compelled to go for the ride.
The movie is about a detective (James Stewart) who is hired to follow the wife (Kim Novak) of an old friend because of her strange movements every day. From that point on not only are we hooked, but so is the detective.
6. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970)
This Italian movie won a best foreign film Oscar. It is a hard film to come by these days, but I managed to see it recently online some 40 years after I first viewed it. It does have subtitles, but nonetheless that doesn’t hinder its impact.
The movie concerns the head of a police department who murders the woman he is having an affair with when he finds out that she is having an affair with someone else. He then sets out to investigate himself. It’s a fascinating premise.
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
When this movie first came out I saw it 3 times in the first 6 months, trying to grasp its message. It is a thinking person’s sci-fi movie by director, Stanley Kubrik. The movie has very little dialogue and the most interesting character is a computer named HAL. The visual effects in the movie are brilliant, particularly as this was before the advent of computers in movie making .
The movie explores man’s place in the universe, life, birth, rebirth, man versus machine, divinity and a whole host of other profound topics.
8. Citizen Kane (1941)
Rated as the number one movie on many best lists, it follows the rise and fall of a newspaper mogul, Charles Foster Kane. It had a close ressemblance to the real life William Randolph Hearst who tried to have it banned. Kane was played by Orson Welles who also directed and co-wrote it at the age of 26! The thematic anchor of the movie is the word “rosebud” and the ending really packs a punch.
What gives the movie it’s uniqueness is the photography by Edward Toland. He used deep focus lenses (whereby the foreground and background are simultaneously in focus) and oblique camera angles to great effect. This black and white classic is now available in high definiton.
9. Anatomy Of A Murder (1959)
A small town lawyer takes the case of an army sargeant accused of murdering a man who raped his wife while in a state of “irresistable impulse”. There are great performances by James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick and George C. Scott.
A good portion of the movie takes place in the courtroom and the movie has a real feel of authenticity with a real-life judge playing the judge in the movie. The movie for its day, brazenly explored sexuality with language and some subtle visual imagery.
The Third Man (1949)
Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles starred in this drama of postwar intrigue in Vienna. This is a great British movie by the director, Carole Reed. The plot surrounds Cotton, an American writer searching for an old friend, Harry Lime (Welles) with various other wonderful characters.
The movie is imbued with atmosphere created using dark shadows, strategic lighting of faces and many angled shots. I have seen this movie many times and never tire of viewing it.

Adele & Ely

Passionate Retirees®