Fifty-six Birthdays

Today I celebrated my fifty-sixth birthday and have embarked on my fifty seventh year here on earth. It got me thinking of the many things which have happened since I was born.

In the 1960’s Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space. Construction began on the Berlin Wall. The Beatles released their first single – “Love me do”. John F Kennedy was assassinated. Martin Luther King Jr moved the world with his “I Have a Dream” speech and, keeping to his belief of peaceful demonstrations, led the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. The mini skirt hit the fashion world. The very first game of the Super Bowl was played. Marin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Richard Nixon became president of the USA. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to arrive on the moon. Woodstock took place. Sesame Street began.

One of my first memories, when I was three, is watching JFK’s assassination on a black and white television in my grandparent’s apartment in New York.

In the 1970’s the Beatles split. The TV show MASH began. Terrorists attacked the Munich Olympic Games. Watergate made headlines. USA brought their troops out of Vietnam. Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from Russia. President Nixon resigned. The Apple Computer was founded. Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin. Elvis died. The Star Wars movie was released. The first test tube baby was born. Margaret Thatcher became the first woman prime minister of Great Britain. Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1970 we emigrated to Australia. We came by ship, departing from San Francisco and stopping at Vancouver, Hawaii, Fiji, Auckland and somewhere else which I can’t remember.

In the 1980’s John Lennon was assassinated. Charles married Di. AIDs shocked the world. Personal computers were introduced by IBM. The movie ET was released. Argentina invaded the Falklands. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Ethiopia suffered with famine. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. There was a nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie. The Berlin Wall fell. Students were massacred at Tiananmen Square.

By the end of the 80’s I was married and had had my first son.

In the 1990’s Nelson Mandela was freed from years of imprisonment. We heard about the Milli Vanilli lip sync scandal. Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive. The Soviet Union collapsed. Apartheid laws are repealed in South Africa. The Cold War officially ended. Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. Rwanda suffered genocide. Ebay was founded. OJ Simpson was found not guilty. The first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, was born. Hong Kong was returned to China. Princess Di died. The Euro became the new European currency. There was a massacre at Columbine High School.

By the end of the 90’s I had had two more sons and was separated from my husband.

In the 00’s – that looks really strange when you write it – we lived through the turn of the millennium. The dot-com bubble burst. Putin was elected president of Russia. The Concorde crashed in France. Sydney hosted the Olympic Games. Four coordinated terrorist attacks in USA became known collectively as 9/11. Michael Jackson died. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Barack Obama was elected the first African American president of USA. East Asia was hit by a tsunami. Pluto was declared to be no longer a planet. The Global Financial Crisis hit. London was bombed.

In the early 2000’s I began a new life in a new place with a new job. It was tough but rewarding.

In the 10’s Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake. Pakistan was flooded. Japan is shattered by an earthquake and tsunami. Osama bin Laden died. South Sudan became an independent nation. London hosts the Olympic Games. The Mayan calendar ends and the world continues. North Korea holds nuclear tests. Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history.

In 2015 my first grandchild was born.

Of course this is just a snapshot of all the important and not so important things which have happened over my lifetime. It’s pretty incredible to think I have been around for so many changes and so many memorable happenings in our world and all while I’ve been living through my own ups and downs. As John Lennon wrote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Alex

Alex de Fircks is a writer of memoir and short fiction. She blogs about family, moments in time, memories and travel. Alex is passionate about history, genealogy and family stories.

Leave a Reply