Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, June 28, 2018


My grandson, Joe, graduated high school this year, 63 years after I did. I got to wondering if he sees me and my generation as irrelevant. But why would he, any more than we 1955 graduates thought people who graduated high school in 1892 were irrelevant.

In 1892, the first basketball game was played, in Springfield, MA [although they referred to MA as Massachusetts back then]. When I was in HS I gave my required speech in English class on the history of basketball, because it had been the Indiana state religion forever.

In 1892, the first working escalator was patented.

In 1892, the Johnson County war broke out in Wyoming, between farmers and ranchers.

In 1892, Ephraim Grizzard was lynched in Nashville, TN.

In 1892, Homer Plessy was arrested, leading to the Plessy v Ferguson court case.

In 1892, Thomas Edison received a patent for a two-way telegraph.

In 1892, “Elizabeth Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” As the Chad Mitchell Trio sings, “You can’t chop your mother up in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a far cry from New York.”

In 1892, the Dalton gang attempted to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas. Of the whole gang, only Emmett Dalton, with 23 wounds, survived a shootout with the town, only to spend 14 years in prison.

In 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited by students in public schools.

In 1892, Grover Cleveland was elected president. Benjamin Harrison lost.

In 1892, William Heffelfinger became the first professional [paid] football player, making $525.

In 1892, The Boston Bean Eaters won the National League pennant, beating the Cleveland Spiders.

1892 was the year Ellis Island started accepting European immigrants, several generations before Donald Trump’s forebears immigrated from Germany, with the name of Dumpf, and 115 years before his current wife and 126 years before her parents immigrated.

I don’t see why anyone graduating in 2018 would think that stuff from 1955 is irrelevant, any more than we 1955ers thought the stuff from 1892 was irrelevant.


If you haven’t bought Katie Kennedy’s What Goes Up, you need to, first because it’s great, and also because it’s just come out in paperback. It’s technically YA, but people of all ages rave about the plot, the action, the dialog, the awful jokes, and the delightful characters. Published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser-known authors, like JK Rowling.

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