Thursday, January 9, 2020

Hindsight in 2020 and memories of 1970

Missing certain things from 50 years ago


As we hit 2020 this year, and I started thinking ...
I considered an earlier time, and things I had no earthly use for in 1970 — yet I still miss them now, 50 years later.

One of those things, of course, is pre-1970 Telluride.
Joe Zoline, a Chicago and Beverly Hills based businessman, taking a tip of a friend from Aspen from years earlier who suggested he check out Telluride, decided to create the ski area.
Zoline bought two ranches - Adam's Ranch and Gorrono Ranch, located on the mountain, and  showed up in Telluride for the first time in 1968.

Zoline employed Emile Allais, a French Olympic skier to help configure runs and lifts and consult on the design and layout of the mountain. He also hired Bill Mahoney and Ed Bowers to cut trails, clear slopes, and obtain land-use rights, mining claims, and water rights for the ski company. Zoline contracted ecologists and environmental planners and encouraged local preservationists to protect the Victorian-era town.

The Ski Area started in 1970-71 with snowcat skiing for $10 a day including a sack lunch. Five lifts were built, and the Telluride Ski School was founded in conjunction with the mountain's opening. Zoline's vision finally became a reality when the Telluride Ski resort officially opened on December 22, 1972.

At that time there was no access from town and skiers took a bus to the day lodge located on the western side of the mountain where Big Billie's is today. Proficient skiers could ride the five lifts it took to get to the top of the mountain, ski to town and catch the bus back to the day lodge three times in one day. While you could ski into Telluride, it was not until 1975 when Coonskin Lift 7 was built that the town and ski area were actually connected.

Another thing I miss from those days 50 years ago, is the role of newspapers in society.
Yes, I know there are still newspapers around out there ... But, it is not really the same.
For example: Just consider my newspaper tools at the time. I had a two-sided pack with a pouch in front and one in back, that I filled with Durango Heralds every day at the Post Office in Dolores. I carried with me a blue "Collection" book with tear-out tabs that I pestered customers to pay (at least for last month), on regular basis. I carried, or picked up,  a pocket full of dimes, nickels, and quarters from honor racks around town.

And the news in those days: In March1970, The United State Army charged 14 officers with suppressing information related to the My Lai incident.
Before that in February of 1969, President Nixon and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, discuss plans for bombing the North Vietnamese supply routes that went through Cambodia. In March of 1969, Nixon launches the secretive campaign called "Operation Menu" in which American B-52s carpet bombed the Eastern side of Cambodia. The bombing campaign lasted for over a year and took a great toll on the country as many civilian lives were lost.

In April of 1970, Nixon orders a secret invasion of Cambodia by US and South Vietnamese troops.
News of the invasion reaches the US and further fuels anti-war sentiments. People stage massive protests against the United States' involvement in Cambodia.
Several students are shot and killed by the National Guard at anti-war protests at Kent State University and Jackson State University. Soon after, Nixon withdraws forces from Cambodia. The United States chooses to continue the bombing of the country, which lasts until 1973.

In addition:
  • Jimi Hendrix dies of barbiturate overdose in London
  • Janis Joplin dies in a cheap motel from a heroin overdose
  • Simon and Garfunkel release their final album together, Bridge Over Troubled Water. The Title Track won the Grammy for song of the year.
Also in March of 1970, United States Postal Service workers go on strike.
Then the strike spreads to California and Akron, Ohio, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Denver. A third of U.S. Postal employees walk out. President Nixon assigns military units to New York City post offices. The strike lasts two weeks.

But you have to consider, that in 1970, I am not really that old. I think about things that are probably gone now — but not forgotten.

Things like the Sportsman Center, which was up river from my house, and operated by the Rules at the time, where I could always buy those push-up orange sherbert tubes ... and my dad or mom, could go next door to that tiny liquor store and buy beer.

Or the Pogo-stick that endlessly ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunked on the neighbor's porch across the street at all hours of the day or night. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, Ka-chunk. What the heck is that kid doing on a pogo-stick at 11 p.m.?

And always somewhat-serious for a little kid, I think of the Colorado plane crash of the Wichita State Football team near the Loveland Ski area in October of 1970.
"A twin-engine airliner carrying at least 40 persons, most of them football players and officials of the Wichita State University, crashed and burned high on the east side of Loveland Pass at 1:14 on Friday ... It was believed to be the nation's worst air tragedy involving a sports team," said the Rocky Mountain News then.

But on a positive note, they did remove cigarette commercials from TV that year. And the first Earth Day was announced and celebrated. The "most-trusted man in America" Walter Cronkiet at the time had CBS News Special then, and would celebrate the entire week.   Environmental Protection Agency was established as well.

And On May 17, 1970, Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl and a multinational crew set out from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean in Ra II, a papyrus sailing craft modeled after ancient Egyptian sailing vessels. Heyerdahl was attempting to prove his theory that Mediterranean civilizations sailed to America in ancient times and exchanged cultures with the people of Central and South America. The Ra II crossed the 4,000 miles of ocean to Barbados in 57 days.

Things I had no earthly use for in 1970 — yet I still miss them now, 50 years later.  I guess really do miss that Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, Ka-chunk of that pogo-stick — and other things from 1970.


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