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Things that I remember

By Ralph Hood

I remember polio. We were all terribly afraid we would get polio. Then the miracle occurred. Dr. Jonas Salk saved us – and much of the world – from polio. He worked on it for seven years before he came up with a successful polio vaccine. He did not patent his discovery. He wanted it to be available for the world.

I well remember the first dose of Dr. Salk’s vaccine.

Now for the more frivolous memories…

I remember seeing my first television in the window of Rich’s store in Atlanta. We didn’t have one in our home for many years thereafter.

I remember Elvis. Don’t tell me that he wasn’t important. He was. He took the world by storm. The girls loved him. The boys liked him and many adults feared his influence on their children.

I tried to meet Elvis once in Florida. He and I were in the same hotel. I took the elevator to his floor and stepped out. Two men were sitting there and one of them told me – politely – that this entire floor was full. I asked him if I might meet Elvis. He said no, and one of them whistled. Next thing I knew, I was facing four men who explained the situation AGAIN. I realized that they could – and probably would – trounce me badly.

I decided I didn’t really want to meet Elvis.

I remember when The Beatles flew from England to the USA. They were good, and many of their songs are still being played. I didn’t like their long hair. Evidently a blue zillion did love the long hair. And they thrived. I got bald.

Ah, and I remember when I parachuted out of airplanes for the fun of it. I landed one day in a cow pasture. The cows scattered when I landed among them. I laughed while folding up my parachute – then they came back and scared me!

Oh, and I do remember my first cell phone. It truly changed our lives. At the time I was making professional speeches throughout the USA (and later in Canada, Spain, Bermuda, England, et al.) Before the cell phone, I often couldn’t call wife Gail nor could she call me. The cell phone changed that immediately.

I vividly remember racial integration. I interviewed Harvey Gantt, the first black student at Clemson University; and I wrote a news column for the Clemson Tiger newspaper about him. My fraternity brothers thought I was crazy. After graduation, Harvey Gantt was a respected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

That’s enough for now, but I do want to mention one early wonderment – girls wanted to be kissed by boys!

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