"Can it be that it was all so simple then,
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?"
#1 Song of 1974
Nixon refused to surrender tapes.
Daylight savings Time commenced.
Patricia Hearst kidnapped.
World's Fair Opens in Washington.
Universal Product Code first Scanned.
Ford becomes President.
Ford pardons Nixon.
Hilton Head Bridge struck by Barge.
Charlotte graduates 6th Grade.
It would be the year that our nation would see gas prices raised and speed limits lowered to 55 mph. Watergate would happen. Duke Ellington would die. The Brady Bunch would have their last episode and Happy Days their first. The year I would graduate from 6th grade at Hilton Head Elementary School.
Hilton Head Elementary School could still discipline a student. With a paddle. Named "Smokey Joe Robinson," yeah, I'm talking to you, Mrs. Braxton!" We sang "Faith of Our Fathers" at our graduation ceremony and someone actually said a prayer. We sang "Let there be Peace on Earth," and it meant something.
I was a tom boy through and through. My eyebrows grew together and I was proud of it. I played football with the guys after school and always thought I would play on a team once I made it to high school. I felt proud when heart-throb Frankie Atkins told the whole play ground I was like a sister to him. My best friends were Rosalind Blake, Vickie Vaughan and lots of girls I cheered with in the little league Gator Football Program.
It had been my first year at a public school and it was very different from the open classrooms of Sea Pines Academy that I had been in since 1969. I got in so much trouble because I didn't know to raise my hand to ask permission for things like getting out of my seat, or going to the restroom. Boy was I embarrassed when I walked back into the classroom and Mrs. Aiken asked me where I had been!
Mr. Isaac Wilborn was our Principal, and though I got in a few scrapes at recess I don't think I ever made it to his office, nor did I get paddled by Mrs. Braxton.
I remember a lot about 6th grade. More than I care to share. It is just interesting to look back and think about the world we lived in and reflect on how it has changed. And sadly, only about 50/50 for the better. Hilton Head was about to explode, though none of us could predict how drastically. Our government was about to let us down and decrease our trust - but nothing like the cynical attitudes about government that we see today. We never would have believed that our flag or our anthem would be controversial. We couldn't have imagined that the songs we sang and the prayers we bowed for at our graduation would become banned in a few more years.
Happily, though, Peace really can begin with us. And for me, this was the moment. I sang it and I meant it, I wanted to be different. And in some small way, I think I accomplished that.
"With God as our Father,
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let Peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now.
With ev'ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me."
Jill Jackson and Sy Miller
"If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18
P.S. I am sure no one recognized me when I showed up with that hair - but they posed with me anyhow!