On Saturday afternoon I picked Linda up at 5:30 (after she got home from working Penny’s at the new Meadowbrook Mall) and we headed to Argentina’s for a spaghetti and meatballs supper before stopping for a couple bucks worth of gas at the Hudson Station on north Broadway. Then we caught the first show at the Fox — “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Last week we did much the same thing, only stopping at Ned’s for a burger and, this time, going to the Cinema to see “Midnight Cowboy.”
Anyway, after the show we drove, singing “Raindrops keep falling on my head,” west on Country Club Road out to The Roadhouse, arriving halfway through the Gass Company’s first set.
We danced till midnight. I took Linda home with WHB cranked up on the radio, singing along with Marvin Gaye “I heard it through the grapevine … and Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”.
Back in Frontenac, I got scrutinized through the Idle Hour door by Ray and then buzzed in to have a drink and visit with my late night friends. When Ray did last call, we decided to grab some breakfast at Ace’s Truckstop Café’ out on 69.
Earlier in the day I had worked the kilns at Pittsburg Pottery until noon, had a pork tender for lunch at Barney’s Drive-In, and dropped by the Guy’s Shop to pick up my sport coat – the one I’d bought for homecoming – that had been getting the sleeves altered. If it got cold I was planning to wear the new, belted suede coat I’d bought at Anshire’s.
Linda was going to wear a new dress she’d bought at the Clothes Horse rather than the one she was considering at Seymour’s. I’d already paid for her corsage at Wright’s Greenhouse.
I’d spent the summer working as a hod carrier (at the incredible wage of 3.25 hr. when minimum wage was $1.60) building the new Holiday Inn, but I was still working 20 – 30 hours a week for college expenses. Enrollment was soon to be jumping from $170 to $224 a semester.
It was Linda’s first year at KSC. I’d helped her navigate the enrollment process, which we all said, “If you can figure out how to enroll you can figure out how to graduate.” After she enrolled we went to eat lunch together at the Hotel Besse coffee shop.
We’d had a small Vietnam War protest that week on the oval but the big news was the protest march in Washington that was coming in November.
Earlier that summer Woodstock drew 500,000 fans to listen to some of the country’s best bands and artists on a farm in New York. Also there was the Chappaquiddick tragedy in which a young woman with Ted Kennedy died when he drove off a bridge, and the horror of the Charles Manson murders unfolding on TV.
Speaking of TV, although I didn’t have a lot of time to watch, I made sure to catch Star Trek, Laugh-In, and The Smother’s Brothers every week; sometimes, if I was visiting grandma around noon, Melody Matinee.
Also this past summer, as the passenger service would be ending, I took my last round trip ride on the KCS Flying Crow and Southern Bell to K.C. to see ‘Ice Station Zebra’ in Cinerama at the Empire Theatre on Main in downtown Kansas City.
We did not get our KSC candidate elected Miss Kansas in ‘69. If we had, it would have been a three peat – with ‘67 being Debra Dene Barnes (who went on to become Miss America) and ‘68 Jain Bair.
Nixon was inaugurated president at the beginning of the year. Spiro Agnew, his vice president, just this week attacked the TV network commentators as being unfairly critical of Nixon, calling them the ‘liberal elite.’
Also in the news, Boeing just rolled out the incredible jumbo 747 jet (amazing something that big can fly), the Beatles did their last live performance, Sirhan-Sirhan was convicted of killing Robert Kennedy, and Reagan declared martial law in Berkley, California. Also in California, the Zodiac killer was still on the loose.
This year’s biggest news, though, is that Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. A close second is that the FDA released a report that birth control pills are safe.
Well, gotta’ go. My friend, Walter, is coming over to watch the Chiefs play the Raiders with dad and me. Looks like a return to the Super Bowl might be possible as we’ve got Len Dawson, Mike Garrett and Otis Taylor on offense and Buck Buchanan, Bobby Bell and Johnny Robinson on defense.
Then I probably call and talk to Linda on the phone a while — that is, if can get through on her party line.
— J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and celebrant. He also operates Knoll Training, Consulting & Training in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 620-231-0499, email@example.com, or 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, KS 66762