|Parents' Outlook from the Past|
| 1955 to 1982 was a time period filled with many breath-taking, world-stunning occurrences that left people in shock, despair, and full of memories. Growing up now I'm lucky to say that I have both parents together and teaching me ways, manners, and traditions to pass on to generations to come. My parents were born in the years were bread was only $0.18 a loaf, minimum wage was about $1.00 an hour, and families could buy a house from $17,600- $17,800 for the years 1955 and 1956. Throughout their lifetime before they married in 1980, they experienced many changes both politically and socially.
My mother, Jody Gene Pritchett, was born September 30, 1955 in Lincoln, NE. She was her parents' first born child. She was a member of a family of five; her parents and younger brother and sister. Her father supported the family working for a road construction company where they had to relocate as work took them across the United States. Somewhere between 1955 and 1957 they were transferred to Hampton, VA were her brother, Marty, was born, but by 1958 they were living in Jacksonville, FL were her sister, Melody, was born.. They moved around quite often but ended up settling in Kansas City, MO. She attended Martin City Elementary, Grandview Junior High, and finished at Grandview Senior High School. Being one of three hundred and ninety-three Senior students she graduated in 1974. While attending school she worked as a waitress at a restaurant called The Spagetti Spot and worked part-time for the Internal Revenue Service. She had to keep money coming in to maintain her first vehicle, a 1963 Chevy Impala and for entertainment. Going to movies, roller skating at the local rink, and hanging out at friends' houses was considered her entertainment. "My friends and I used to sit on the corner of Blue Ridge Boulevard (busiest street in town) and wave to cars as they go by to see how many people would honk or wave back" (Shaw,J).
After high school my mother worked for the Department of Agriculture as well as part-time for the Internal Revenue Service. The only thing that mainly changed at this time in her life was raising a child. My older brother, David Joe, was born August 19, 1975.
Months before I was born, one incident that occurred that devastated my mother's family which happened to her father, Joe Pritchett, putting him in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was, at the time, working commercial construction and was working on a retaining wall when he somehow was knocked off ending up on a steel rod down below. He was in ICU for a week and a half and then in regular care for two to three weeks. Recovery was for the rest of his entire life.
"Not even one year old when my mother was just getting over polio she had a black nanny help her take care of me" (Shaw,J). This was one story that was told to her that she'll never forget only because she wants to figure a way to track her down to meet her. She's wanted this for quite some time and thoughts about it are always on her mind.
My father, William Harold Shaw, was born September 16, 1956 in Columbia, MO. He considers being "born and raised" in Columbia. His father was a medical bill collector while his mother was an LPN. Growing up, he shared his parent's love with his younger brother, Jon, and is younger sister, Mary Alice. He attended Benton Elementary in Columbia, but December 12, 1964 his family migrated to Grandview, MO where he went to Grandview East Junior High and then Grandview Senior High School as well as my mother. (My grandmother still lives in the same house they first moved into to this day.) My father graduated in 1975 with 464 other students. During high school he worked for the local gas station called Apco then Jerry's Sport Shop soon after quitting Apco. My father was considered athletic throughout his life. He participated in four sports, starting out playing little league baseball up until high school. During high school he was a member of the football team for three years, ran cross-country for one, wrestled for one year, and participated in many track events for four years. His entertainment included hanging out with his friends at the local park to shoot off his BB gun, make trails, and build tree houses or they would all go to the baseball games. "I used to love to spend time with my Uncle Larry for weeks at time. One year he took me to Silver Dollar City where we went through the caverns when, at the time, tourists had to walk through them. But, we also went fishing down at the Lake of the Ozarks and hunting small game" (Shaw,W). My father's first car was coincidentally exactly like my mother's except his was a 1962 model.
After high school, he still worked for Jerry's Sport Shop but then changed occupations when he went into rough-end carpentry work for about one year. Then later he decided to work in the garage door business in 1976. He bought out and owned Superior Door Service in Raytown, MO in 1981. Ever since then he's worked in the garage door business in sales after filing bankruptcy eight years later.
One family legend originated in 1978 when my father's dad disappeared one day. "He left his office from work...that's where he was last seen... and he never has been found since...seven years later he was declared dead," my father explained in a long story short version. No funeral arrangements made nor memorial service proceeded. "I didn't even go to court when the judge declared him dead" (Shaw,W.).
During my parents generation up until 1980 I asked my parents, "What events or historical occurrences became a memory of when the world stood still?" The answers ranged from wars to famous people to scientific experiments.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a moment in history my father told me that no one growing up and living in the 1960s would ever forget. "I remember I was in first grade...I remember all of the teachers crying...but I don't think that I was sad because I really wasn't old enough to know what was really going on. I did know that Mom and Dad were saying that it was 'bad' while they watched on television all the news flashes going across every channel" (Shaw,W). Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady, held the nation together as she showed Americans no loss of courage and pride would take place during this tragedy. "President Kennedy represented unyielding idealism and confidence that existed in America...he aroused a sense of volunteerism in America's youth...he will long be remembered as one of the great excitement and youthful leader..." (Kennedy).
During the Presidency of John F. Kennedy one famous war took place. During the 1950s the United States began sending troops over seas and into Vietnam. This war took place over two and a half decades ending on July 2, 1976. This war was also known as the cold war. The US battled for South Vietnam while China and Russia fought for North Vietnam. When Kennedy was assassinated Lyndon B. Johson replaced his position with his Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. "Johnson, who was always concerned about his image, and as president, held the power to halt the war in Vietnam, could not face the thought of being regarded as the first president in US history to loose a war" (Vietnam). The pressure on him was too much for him to handle so he handed the duties over to Richard M. Nixon. The war ended when the US withdrew and started leaving Vietnam for good on January 27, 1973. The North conquered the South in 1975 and ignored to cease fire. July 2, 1976 North and South Vietnam were united as a unified communist state.
Neil Alden Armstrong was the first human United States astronauts to step foot on the moon July 23, 1969. He was also the first commander to land the Apollo 11 on the moon. Two other astronauts joined Armstrong on this mission, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Allen Collins; all three were assigned to the mission in 1968. "The mission objective for Apollo 11 was simply to take humans to the moon and return safely. Both NASA and the crew recognized the mission's significance for all humans, and reflected this in several ways" (Armstrong). At 10:56 p.m.. Eastern Daylight time Armstrong was the first human to set foot quoting, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Apollo 11 held a memory in history in 1969 but in 1970 Apollo 13 hit the news and captured the attention of people around the world. April 11, 1970 Apollo 11 was launched. Before the spacecraft was launched, a helium tank showed a higher pressure which was watched closely and with concern from the beginning of the mission. For one, Thomas K Mattingly, was exposed to German measles and had to be replaced by Jack Swigert, member of the back up crew. For two, a liquid oxygen vent did not close on the first command and had to be recycled many times before it would finally close. Within 55 hours and 53 minutes the crew was instructed by Mission Control to turn on the cryogenic system fans and heaters because the alarm was stating that it had a lower pressure. During this procedure, Jack Swigert performed the mission leaving it in a big bang when the master alarm sounded the main volt. James Lovell stated, "Houston, we have a problem..." (Apollo13). Two goals of the flight were getting home quickly and safely and conserving consumables--power, oxygen, and water. The whole mission was considered the first failure in 22 manned flights. "But, in another sense, as a brilliant demonstration of the human capability under almost unbearable stress, it has to be the most successful failure in the annuals space flight" (Apollo13).
August 16, 1977 marked a day in history my mother will never forget along with many music listeners. The King of Rock 'N Roll, Elvis Presley, passed away. "Shortly after midnight Elvis returns from Graceland from a late-night visit to the dentist....he was to fly to Portland, ME that night to do a show on the 17th, then continue the tour...He went to his master suite at Graceland around 7 am to rest....by late morning, Elvis Presley is dead of heart failure. It was announced mid-afternoon. In a matter of hours the shock registers around the world" (Presley). In 1956, the year my father was born three of his hit singles became top songs; Love Me Tender, Don't Be Cruel/ Hound Dog, and Heartbreak Hotel. "I was at home because it was a weekend...newsflash came on the television....I was glued to the television all day long when it was televised. Then on the 18th of August the funeral was televised and I watched that as well" (Shaw,J). My mother is one of Elvis' biggest fans today. She says that her father resembles Elvis in looks; both of American Indian tribes. After touring Graceland it fascinated her even more to be one of his fans. Over the years ever since his death she has collected many memorabilia from records, tapes, stamps, books, pictures, and movies.
From deaths to failures, shocks rang around the world many times over the twenty-seven year span of 1955-1982. April 20, 1980 my parents married in Kansas City when along came their first born one and a half year later. (ME!)