40 years to the day

Last night I had dinner with an old friend from high school, Chuck Grapes and his wife, Dinah. Chuck and I were in Rocket Club together in junior high and high school. We played on the chess team (I was board 4, he was board 5). Our friend David Gregorek (board 6) had just died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May, and that July I ate pizza at his house while we watched Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon. I remember everything, including the little 13-inch Philco B&W TV we watched it on.

The next school year, Chuck became my production assistant and often travel companion as I produced my first slide show, an emotional journey through environmental destruction set to popular songs from our era: Metamorphosis for fish kills;  Good Time Living by the Three Dog Night for dramatic air pollution shots of power plants in Wheeling, West Va. and Beverly, Ohio. [“Air pollution. Revolution. You know I’ve had my fill. Advertisin’, computerizin’ · Don’t understand it and I never will”] 
For strip mining of whole counties near Cambridge, we accompanied shots of devastation that ran from horizon to horizon with nothing but the sound of wind. And the Three Dog Night classic, Mama Told Me Not to Come, brought the “movie” to a very emotional close. 
Chuck and I together with George McCoy, the blind friend who cut together the sound track, showed our presentation and spoke at numerous high school assemblies and civic group meetings leading up to the first Earth Day. I’ll never forget a gentleman at a Kiwanis meeting say, “Maybe we should send all our garbage to outer space” and 16-year-old George rebuking him: “A hundred years ago, everyone thought the Mississippi River was a great place to throw their garbage. Now it’s a cesspool”. 
Sometime I’ll dig up some of the slides and the soundtrack. For now, here’s a shot of Chuck and Dinah today. After high school Chuck went on to become a petroleum geologist who today is convinced we’ve passed Peak Oil. I got involved in advertisin’ and computerizin’…

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