This is a timeline of stuff from the 1960's. Click to see it bigger.
My awareness of mass culture began here. Prior to this I was mainly sequestered in a hollow down a long gravel driveway off Sand Hill Road. Our house was one of five down there, and the core of it was a two-story log cabin, one room square with a side kitchen, that once belonged to wheelwrights named Flinchbaugh. They made wheels for Conestoga Wagons, no doubt. But by 1960 the wider world began to wash in.
It came in by air. The title card for Channel 8's Covered Wagon Theater and hostess Sally Starr appeared before us on the Zenith in shades of grey early on Saturday mornings. Even earlier in the morning, the Indian and the 1 kilohertz tone primed us to believe in conspiracies. And at anytime of day radio came into our home. Every year's summer and Christmas season had its own songs.
It came delivered. The evening paper showed up 6 days a week, and color comics on Sundays, after church. We knew about jet travel and La Dolce Vita because everything appeared in Life magazine sooner or later.
It was there on bookshelves. I had the World Book Encyclopedia for fun, along with the odd assortment of storybooks, novels, humor and art books that my parents had collected over the years.
Sometimes powerful forces drew us out of the hollow. There were big screen movies I remember parts of, like Ben Hurr and Journey to the Center of the Earth, that we saw at drive-ins from a '56 Pontiac Star Chief.
Cultural trends and world events reached us all the time, but the thing that gave the decade its flow was the space-race. We didn't know the names of the Soviet spacecraft. If we heard them mentioned by Bergman or Cronkite they were quickly forgotten. But we did know the name of the very first man in space, and it wasn't an American name.
I went into kindergarten in 1960 (that's me in the school picture, second from left, middle row) and began to have a social life. What that meant was finding out that other kids were experiencing the same things. We responded by playing games.