1973: I turn 16

I’m OBSESSED with connecting the dots from then until now, OBSESSED with understanding that I’ve been on this earth for almost 60 years, OBSESSED with remembering how I spent the 21,871 days between the day I was born and today, OBSESSED with this quote from Mary Gordon.

She sees that she has before her an important task: to understand that all the things that happened in her life happened to her. That she is the same person who was born, was a child, a girl, a young woman, and now she is old. That there is some line running through her body like a wick.
–Mary Gordon, The Rest of Life

 

1973-06-01

1973: Every day that passes after I turn 16 and can drive myself away from the restrictions that are my family, the happier I am. The Best of Bread comes out, and I play it over and over again. Baby, I’m a want you… The Vietnam War is finally over, but it stays with me. Trying to understand, I read books written by POWs. That summer, camp is not an option–I’m too old. At the beach, it’s the Atkins Diet and getting a tan and listening to Dionne Warwick with the older guy next door who looks like Mark Spitz and has a motorcycle. My boyfriend sends me a letter, and instead of using my whole name, uses only my first name, which I think is weird. I spend a month on the Young Life Western Tour, where I’m all smiles. This photo is standing in our driveway.

44 days to 60

~

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

13 thoughts on “1973: I turn 16

  1. Hi Cynthia, I’ve enjoyed reading your walks down memory lane. I was born in 1969 and have very happy memories of the 70’s as a child. Life seemed a lot more care free, but I wonder if that’s just the mind of a child. The music you mention I know because my mom used to play it or it was on the radio at some point. The Age of Aquarius was and still is a favourite. Thank you, all good wishes…

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    • Hi Karen, welcome to Catching Days. With so many years behind me, it’s more like running down memory lane. And now you have me playing the Age of Aquarius again. Of all the songs it sounds so 1970. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you’ll be back.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You do NOT look happy in that photo! Because you’re home? Wishing you were anywhere else? What is the “Young Life Western Tour”? I was born in 1969 and found the Vietnam War a locked box I could’t open or begin to understand until I saw Platoon. It blew my little mind and has colored my understanding of military action ever since. I see why you’re obsessed with the Gordon quote. I noticed a year or so ago that I have finally begun to fragment. I now feel like the early part of my life happened to someone else. I have recently reconnected with my siblings, and going down memory lane with them has been… very strange. It becomes hard to believe all these things really did happen to YOU and they make you who you ARE. Do you remember having a lot of agency? For me, that’s the other strange part–it really does feel like these were happening TO me, rather than like I was making decisions and helping to craft my reality. I suppose this happens to everyone??

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    • I would consider my unhappiness normal teenage rebellion that was taking place in my head instead of in my actions. Home was great. But I wanted to be in charge and of course I wasn’t. I had responsibilities and consequences and curfews and parents who cared about me and didn’t let me run wild. Hence the face.

      Young Life is a nondenominational Christian group and the Western Tour was a month on a bus that went west and stopped at all the major spots. For ex, at 2:00 in the morning we stood in the street in Dallas in front of the School Book Depository building, looking up at the window marked with an X, the window from which LHO allegedly shot President Kennedy, and we were let loose in Las Vegas and told to be back at the bus by midnight. We went all the way to Hollywood and then started back, spending a week at a YL ranch in Colorado.

      I know what you mean about fragmenting, and I started that way back–in my early 20’s. But you may be on to something. That may be why I’m having to work so hard to find the wick running through all the different me’s.

      I did have a lot of agency in the big sense, and once I went off to college, I was completely in charge. It’s just that I made such traditional decisions–other than making sure I could support myself, which, except for being female, is also traditional. It’s like I was trapped in a bubble of my own making…

      Sorry for the response that was longer than the post!

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      • This is all so interesting. I am exactly the opposite in so many ways–I didn’t get any of the prep and early start you got, my pre-college education was pathetic, and despite being so thankful to get away from my family, I was a trembling, unprepared, hiding-in-my-room college freshman who had no clue what to do or how to behave. But other than going to college and wanting to marry, I’ve made untraditional decisions. Or, like I said, it almost felt like I wasn’t much involved in the decision-making, like I never had much choice. That’s certainly how I felt about not having children–it was always so clear that just wasn’t for me. Anyway, I truly do believe you understood yourself by 15 in a way I didn’t manage until… maybe 35. Seriously. It’s amazing and in many ways I’m SO envious. But mostly just very entertained! Looking forward to more….

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  3. I’m only 22 years old…. sooner will turn 23…. 2010: I was 16 after that my life turns upside down and life’s harsh reality hit me so hard.I start realising what life is all about. I found my life’s goal and still stick to it….. There are lots of things left to learn and experience….I’m on my way to turn 60 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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