The bus is crowded and loud. We are jammed in together and screaming at the top of our lungs, “ …. can’t hear us now so we yell a little louder!” The bus driver is probably kicking himself for accepting the job of transporting teenagers from the train station to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha for a high school football game. This was what we called a “migration.” Once each year the school sponsored a train trip to Omaha for a game. Not being on the football team, but having friends and future basketball teammates who were playing football, and being a loyal Link supporter, I was certainly willing to “shout a little louder.” And it all feels great. This is high school and one of our biggest cares is to cheer our team to victory.

We had spent three years in the cocoon known as high school. The events of the outside world that were forming the world we would face as adults went little recognized. While we certainly took sides in the 1964 Presidential election, the reality was that we couldn’t actually vote, and although some might have worked on a political campaign, most of us viewed it as just a popularity vote and you cheered for your guy to win. And we probably weren’t too concerned as troop numbers in Vietnam continued to increase – after all, Johnson had won and it was Goldwater who was the dangerous one. The Civil Rights Act had been passed, but evidently there were still problems because that march over a bridge in a place called Selma erupted in violence. As we graduated, U.S. troops were ordered on the offensive in Vietnam and by the end of the summer, President Johnson would send an additional 50,000 troops. The southern problem with civil rights would find expression in race riots in Watts, Los Angeles and on the West Side in Chicago.

Had we paid closer attention, maybe those things would have mattered more. What did matter was that we had some great music. We had local bands at the high school dances like The Mods and The Coachmen. And our radios poured out The Beatles and The Supremes. And we got to go to the movies and see “Goldfinger.” And if you really wanted to escape, you could go off to that island with the castaways – what a hoot! If you were looking for controversy, there was that “phantom punch” of Ali’s that knocked out Liston. Hair was getting longer. Skirts were getting shorter. Life was good. We were teenagers. We were in high school.

It’s Friday evening, June 11th, 1965 and we’re standing on the driveway. I’m a high school graduate. Earlier I had stood and moved my tassel over and been declared so. We look at each other and ask what we should do. It seems like we should be having a big celebration, but tomorrow is Saturday morning and we all have jobs to get to. So we shrug and smile – after all we have the whole summer before college starts. But still, there’s a tug of apprehension and a realization falls heavy on my mind. I’m no longer in high school; for three years I’d been a Link and although I had to admit there were a lot of people in that graduate group tonight who I did not recognize, there were a lot of familiar faces who would be going off in different directions. Up until now, the future had always been a pretty clear path – high school. And sure, I had plans, but they didn’t seem as certain as what the past three years had been. When I get in the car and turn the radio on, I hear The Rolling Stones from last fall, “time, time, time, is on my side, yes it is.” That’s so true. I’m only eighteen – lot of living yet to do. Then the deejay comes on: “And here’s the latest from The Rolling Stones … it’s called “Satisfaction.” A voice inside me seems to indicate things might not be as simple anymore. And Mick Jagger sings, “I can’t get no satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction.”
We had high school diplomas, but we might not have been able to identify Vietnam on a map -- we'd soon be much more knowledgeable.
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The Rolling Stones' hit record from November of 1964 expressed the viewpoint of our senior year -- "Time Is On My Side."