Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Prairie Sunrise

Prairie Sunrise
Prairie Sunrise

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where Were You In '62

The music is what I remember most, lively songs filled with story telling lyrics about the emotions of young
teenage love. It was music that defined an era, an era when the hot rod came of age along with a generation of searching youth. I was just ten years old, but I do remember the times, the songs, the look, the feel of the day. It was a time when I first began to notice the power and boldness of the muscle cars and can remember the distinctive styling family cars possessed back then.

In 1962...I was there filled with fascination and wonder of what life was like back in the day when cruising the main drag with the AM radio blaring away was the boss thing to do. Gasoline prices hovered around 30 cents a gallon back then and a person could cruise all night on a couple dollars of gas. Even today every time I hear the music again, the melodies of those magical songs cast a spell across my memories.

It was a time when one of the greatest high school basketball teams I've ever witnessed played their games to a rousing crowd. The Eagles of Hobbs, New Mexico where my dad was a journalism teacher and yearbook sponsor. I was able to attend most of the home games because he would be there taking pictures of the games for the school. That first year if memory serves me right, the Eagles averaged over 100 points a game...and this was long before the shot clock and three point shot became the norm. Man they were good...full court press the whole game and often scored 20+ points before the other team made their first basket. They were coached by the legendary Ralph Tasker, one of the winningest high school coaches of all time. It was great fun and created wonderful memories...back then in 1962.

Down the street from our small but comfortable home a young married couple pulled into their driveway one day with a brand new classic black 1963, split window Corvette. Within 5 minutes we were all down there hovering over it. It was my first taste of what owning a muscle car could mean. From that moment on I relished the thought of cruising the main drag and could not wait until I could drive.

Oddly enough, a few short years later, that is exactly what I and most of the high school kids did on Friday nights after the football game. It was another town in another state, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, but on Friday nights the main drag turned into cruise city and during the cool of the summer nights cars of all shapes and sizes could be seen cruising Wood Drive along with the inevitable drag race between stop lights.

 In 1974 when the classic movie American Graffiti came out, I was surprised at just how much it resembled our Friday nights. In our fair city you could find one of the best technical schools in the country, the technical branch of Oklahoma State University where future auto mechanics were taught their trade. Because of that it wasn't unusual to see jacked up hot rods cruise the streets, some as classic as the American Graffiti cars.

The decade between 1962 and 1972 saw America change. Those of us who lived through that decade remember well the sometimes tumultuous and often revealing shift in society. Even so, we can also remember with fondness the classic cars, the lights, the music, the sounds, the flavor of the times. Wherever I was in 1962 remains locked into my memories with great affection. When a classic tune triggers a certain memory, when a classic car jump starts the old rumblings to cruise the main drag, when I stop just long enough from my often dull routine to remember those times, well those are memories well worth hanging on to and well worth recalling. 

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