I remember the first song that I ever heard that really opened up the whole incredible world of music for me. It was "Runaway" by Del Shannon.
I remember slot cars. I had a tackle box with numerous chasses, bodies, wheels, motors with names like Mitsubishi and Pittman, and controllers. I could build a new car on the spot. You'd take your car to the slot car center and race other kids for as long as your quarters held out.
I remember a place where we went and jumped on huge trampolines. There were two rows of four trampolines. You paid so many quarters for so much time. They had loudspeakers on poles playing rock and roll while you jumped.
I remember floating in the ocean below the Redondo Pier with other boys, all of us wearing our masks and snorkels and fins. People up above would toss us down quarters and we would race each other to the sandy bottom, chasing the gleaming coins.
I remember my teacher coming into the classroom crying and telling us that President Kennedy was dead. She sent us home. I remember walking down the hill, looking at the ocean, walking in a large stream of quiet children. I remember spending the weekend watching the services; The horses, the caisson, Jackie Kennedy in her veil, and John John's salute. My mother weeping.
I remember when Martin Luther King got shot. I refused to go to school because I knew the black students would be jumping the white students. I was right.
I remember standing in the sun in the TRW parking lot in Redondo Beach listening to Robert Kennedy give a speech. I have never been so politically inspired. I have never felt so hopeful for my country. I remember on the next night, my birthday, watching Robert Kennedy get killed at the Ambassador Hotel in my hometown.
I remember watching the Vietnam war on TV every night.
I remember when I got my draft notice.
I remember my mother driving me to the Army pick up point and waving goodbye as I got on the bus. I remember her handing me a little sack and saying, "I packed you a lunch."