Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'64 Again: A Visit to the McCain Library Archives

The trip to the Special Archives on Wednesday was a really eye-opening experience. Having grown up in this fast-paced, technology-reliant, internet-obsessed world, the only thing I’ve ever had for reference on the 60s and other pre-90s periods were my parents, who – despite their firsthand experience in growing up – never really had much to offer visually. Wednesday’s trip changed that. The extensive collection of photographs, books, letter transcripts, et cetera gave me a good window to finally see firsthand just what life was like back during the meaty days of the post-World War II era. One thing that interested me in particular – as did pretty much everyone who saw it – was the old Miss Southern handbook for female students. Kids today complain about their parents if they don’t let them stay out past midnight, but they don’t realize just how lucky they have it. Back in ’64, you couldn’t as much as put your clothes on or choose which door to use to enter your dorm without some collegiate bureaucrat breathing down your neck. The restrictions were simply mindboggling, especially when you consider that they were around in 1964, well past the time when women were allowed to vote and were leaving colleges up north by the droves to bang on tambourines in the nude on some convent. Thinking about the way everyone reacted to the book makes me wonder about how people will react to our own time period decades from now. People will be on their moving sidewalks in their Flash Gordon nylon jumpsuits just laughing it up about how restrained life in 2009 was as they make their way to the public heroin den/tire center.

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