On one hand it really doesn't seem like 1964 was all that long ago.

On the other hand when I see that little boy in my imagination sitting on that linoleum floor in that little farm house eating a bowl of Wheaties and watching Captain 11 after school, well, it seems closer to Laura Ingalls Wilder than to today.

1964. What a year.

1) It was a Sunday evening, the cows were milked, the pigs were fed and we're all in front of the black and white TV, my dad, my mom, my brother and me. It was time for the Ed Sullivan Show and that's when it happened. The Beatles. My dad's jaw didn't break when it hit the floor, but I'm pretty sure it was well bruised. My mom just shook her head. Me and my brother? We loved it.

2) Jake Eernisse would rumble that 'ol school bus down the gravel roads around Leota, stopping at the Wynia's, the Dooyema's, the Kroontje's, the Vasenhout's and Vander Linden's. If there was a farm around Leota and that farm had little rug rat's runnin' around it, Jake would stop. I think he liked me best. He always had me sit right up front with him.

3) The United States didn't have a Vice-President that year. Nope. We still walked around Leota with heavy heart's thinking about what happened last November. The letters changed, from JFK to LBJ, and no Vice-President. But the next year Hubert would be Vice-President.

4) Church was always full in 1964 in Leota. And the men and boys wore suits and the women and girls all wore dresses. Mom would put a little of that special Mama saliva on her hankie to get that last patch of hair to sit nice on my head. And we ate in church, my brother and me, my Dad made sure of that. What was on the menu? Peppermints.

5) A stamp cost a nickel. So whatever it was you were going to send in the mail, it doggone well better be important. Money doesn't grow on trees ya know.

6) When the phone rang at our house, the neighbors would also pick up the receiver. And when the phone rang at our neighbors houses, my Mom would pick up our receiver. It was called a party line kids, and a bunch of neighbors were on it, all with different 'rings'. Our's was '3 shorts'. When our phone rang 3 short times, that would be Grandma from Edgerton calling. Your's might have been a 'short and a long' or '2 longs' or something else. For you younger folks, a party line was kind of like the internet...only it didn't reach quite as far.

7) The New York Yankees didn't win the World Series! Yea! But then neither did my Minnesota Twins. Oh well, always next year. (Which, by the way, they did go to the World Series! But...those dastardly Dodgers!)

8) Dad turned 44 in 1964, Mom turned 38. I can see them at that age still. Good American timber, those two. I miss them still.