The Tooele High School Class of 1975 left Junior High School in May of 1971 at the top of the Junior High food chain and entered HIGH SCHOOL three months later at the bottom of the heap. It didn’t matter. We were going to HIGH SCHOOL and that was a big deal! We had hazing to look forward to but, back then, we had the good sense not to die from it. After all, weren’t we those intrepid sojourners that had survived so many dangerous acts already – riding bikes without helmets, playing after dark, many of our parents had even smoked with us in the car and drank alcohol while they were pregnant. We were vaccinated and played Slug Bug.
We were a generation of daredevils but we did not know it, yet. That was pretty much how things were back in the early ‘70’s.
We likely were the first freshman class to enter high school without the probability that many of us were going to end up in the rice paddies of Vietnam, Republic of. Acne was probably the strongest four-letter word that we used with any regularity.
Some new words were entering our vocabulary such as Weather Underground, Amtrak, Walt Disney World, Bangladesh, My Lai and Northern Ireland.
We might have viewed the half a million protesters marching in the streets and marveled that there were half a million people anywhere – Utah only had a million or so people back then (if that).
We did, however, understand the importance of ‘The War on Drugs’.
We might have missed the announcement by an unknown company called Intel when they heralded the first microprocessor – the Intel 4004. Probably not, all we needed was 8-tracks.
During that summer of anticipation, we were justifiably proud that America had driven the first four-wheeler on the moon. Nobody would have thought to make a joke about the BLM trying to ban RV’s on the moon.
Nobody much cared that Norway began to produce oil in the North Sea – we had Texas and Oklahoma. No worries.
Finally, high school begins and the Class of ‘75 journey began with it. Exciting times. We knew we were important when the 26th Amendment was passed, giving us the right to vote in the 1976 elections!
We shook our heads at the audacity of D. B. Cooper and wondered if he lived to spend his ill-gotten fortune. The stuff of legends.
We were proud that America had placed the first successful orbiter around Mars because, after all, isn’t America the best at everything?
Darn-tootin! John Wayne told us so.
Frank Zappa survived the Montreux Casino fire and we were glad for that, We probably did not give much thought that someday, when we heard those epic first three chords from Deep Purple playing ‘Smoke on the Water’ we would tell our children the story behind the song (and experienced the exact same look we gave our parents when they spoke of Tommy Dorsey).
We might have marveled at the first-ever hand-held calculator that Hewlett-Packard sold that year (1972) – or at least the price of $395! Rote on, dude! I kept my slide-rule.
We either cheered or booed the Dallas Cowboys winning Super Bowl VI – doesn’t seem to be a middle-ground there.
President Nixon launched the Space Shuttle Program. Sapporo, Japan launched the Winter Olympics.
Charles Manson was given a reprieve from Death Row when California removed the death penalty.
At the box office, we met The Godfather and Fritz the Cat. Walter Eugene O’Reilly and Benjamin Franklin Pierce began their electronics and chemistry series.
Nixon went to China. North Vietnam left the Paris Peace Conference (unrelated events).
Good news from the Cold War was the ban on biological weapons and SALT I. Bad news from Vietnam was the Easter Offensive. Operation Linebacker was not Walter Cronkite talking about sports.
NASA set a new land-speed record on the moon as America’s second Lunar Rover is clocked at 18 kph. We had a few speed records of our own to try.
We survived being freshmen of Tooele High School. Look out world, here come the sophomores!