Every October, my alma mater, Philips Beth Israel School of Nursing has its annual luncheon. The school of nursing has undergone several metamorphoses since I crossed the threshold into what would become an extraordinary ride. This October was no different as several of my classmates and I decided to attend. Graduates from 1954 through 2017 attended. Imagine one attendee graduated 63 years ago; now that’s dedication!
In 1968, 49+ years ago, my classmates and I ventured into an unknown world of nursing. Some would jump ship early on in the process, others, including myself, would threaten to leave after a particularly horrendous day, and others who had dreams of becoming a nurse for as far back as they could remember, continually fanned their passion of becoming a nurse.
As my friends and I reminisced about hanging out at Guy Fawkes, the neighborhood bar, nursing instructors good and bad, writing lyrics for the school musical, which were hilarious and still remembered, pediatric patients whose very beings are still fondly etched in our memories, it is still hard to imagine that those events took place almost 50 years ago.
As we thought about those early days as student nurses, my curiosity began to take hold regarding the world as it was in 1968:
Generation X’ers those born in 1965 – 1984 were just in the process of entering the world, and some would not be born for another 16 years.
Millennials, we speak so often of, were not even a thought!
Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in April of that year.
Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June.
Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act following the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Tommy Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medal winners at the Mexico City Olympics, were the first to raise their fists as a “human rights” protest on the victory stand.
Hair, the musical, opened on Broadway.
McDonald’s Big Mac debuted in Pittsburgh, PA: 49 cents
The Mod Squad debuted on TV.
A new rating system for the movies was born: G (General Audiences), M (Mature Audiences), R (Restricted-under 17 admitted if accompanied) and X (originally it meant no one under 17 admitted but in the 1970’s X rated took on an entirely different meaning and we know what an X rating means!)
The Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, sparked by anti-Vietnam war protests, brutal police vs. demonstrator confrontations, and civil unrest.
Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act)
President Johnson orders an end to the bombing of North Vietnam.
Nixon won the Presidential election
Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison died.
Average yearly salary: $7,850
Average monthly rent: $130
Gas per gallon: 34 cents
Average cost of a new car: $2,822
Average cost of a new house: $14,950
Movie Tickets: $1.50
Federal Minimum Wage: $1.60 per hour
London Bridge sold for 1 million and later erected in Arizona
Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy married.
Celine Dion and Will Smith were born.
Beatles create Apple Records and record “Hey Jude” as the first single on that label.
Emergency 911 system launched and was manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
First Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) installed in Philadelphia by First Philadelphia Bank.
Dr. Christian Bernard performed the first successful heart transplant.
My friends and I entered Nursing School!
Please share what significant events happened in your life in 1968! Looking forward to hearing from you.