by Larry Patrick
What do a Corvette, postage stamp, bikini and independence all have in common? Let’s take a look.
This first week of July has many big time firsts. First and foremost is that on Friday we celebrate our independence from foreign rule. I’d hate to do a “Jaywalking” segment like they do on the Tonight Show and ask people who we got our independence from. I’m afraid of the various wrong answers that would come about. The year we gained our independence would likely bring a lot of unique answers too. This was required learning in school back in my day but dates and some other parts of history seem to get lost or forgotten by many of us today. Many of us know that July 4th is a day off from work so we can shoot off fireworks and maybe have a picnic and wave the American flag. (Walsenburg & Huerfano County have a ban on shooting off fireworks because of the dry conditions this year). Actually, a number of brave men and women fought to gain our independence from the British and we were successful in 1776; hence our July 4th celebration.
On another note, the Corvette first came out during this week in 1953. It was the “hot” American car in many people’s minds for a lot of years. Today, 55 years later, most of us still turn our heads when we see a Corvette, be it today’s model or one at many classic car shows.
The postage stamp came about this week in 1847. It was a penny back then. Funny, but the cost of postage went up very slowly the first hundred years. Most of the increases to today’s 42-cents, have occurred in the past 40 years. I best remember the 4-cent stamp though some of you can recall mailing a letter for much less. Considering the costs of goods and services today, I don’t get real excited about the increase in mailing a letter. During the days before computers and the internet and e-mail (yes, children there were such days) the amount of letters I mailed to friends, family and my wife while serving in the Army, would constitute a bit of money based on my pay of $85 per month. Today, our soldiers can use e-mail and cell-phones to call home most anytime they want. It’s almost laughable today to think of soldiers calling home instantly with a cell phone while soldiers (me included) used to have to line up in front of 5-6 pay phones with bunches of quarters in our pocket and wait for 1-3 hours to say hi to mom, wives or girlfriends.
The bikini was first invented in 1946, just shortly after WWII ended. I’m sure it brought a lot of attention to young women daring enough to wear one. I don’t think it got really popular until the 1960’s when the “Beach blanket bingo” movies of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello became popular. (Annette, of the original Mickey Mouse Club, promised Walt Disney she wouldn’t wear a bikini in the movies but many of the other girls did.).
Now to tie all of these events together, the 1960’s brought about a new age of independence separate from the independence of 1776. The women became emboldened to wear skimpy bikinis which many people thought were no bigger than a postage stamp. Then those hot looking girls could be seen with some handsome dude who was driving about in a hot car, a Corvette. I’m not sure that any of our forefathers that signed the Declaration of Independence envisioned a day of hot chicks in bikinis riding in Corvettes going to the post office to mail a letter with a postage stamp on it. I’m not quite sure they would have wanted anyone thanking them for fighting to gain that kind of independence. firstname.lastname@example.org