Welcome back. Following last week story which touched on events in the 1960s, I have decided to move on to the 1970s when the peace and love era began to fade. In San Francisco the Haight Ashbury district had seen its heyday. The flower children of the hippie movement were still there but change was coming. The Kent State shootings in 1970 represented the end of innocence for a generation that had believed that change could be brought about with non-violent protest during a peaceful march on the Kent State University campus the Ohio National Guard opened fire on an unarmed crowd, killing four students and wounding nine others. This tragic event triggered a student strike of four million students which closed colleges and high schools across the country and underscored a deep political divide over the role of the military and the war in Vietnam.
1972 brought the Watergate scandal which would bring down a President and many of his associates. In sports Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming at the Summer Olympics in Munich. At the same Olympics terrorists attacked the Olympic Village, eventually killing eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team.
In 1973 the grandson of oil magnate J. Paul Getty was kidnapped and Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office. In 1974 newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped and serial killer Ted Bundy began his killing spree. Then in 1977 millions mourned when Elvis Presley died.
Although the 1970s also brought us innovations such as the floppy disk, the VCR and the Walkman the era was also marked by tragedy and pessimism.
Oklahoma had its own ups and downs in the 70s as well. In 1971 the Oklahoma portion of the Arkansas River Navigation System opened, giving the cities of Muskogee and Tulsa (at its port Catoosa) direct access to the sea. During the 1960s and 1970s, Oklahoma’s economy shifted from agricultural to industrial. Two large electronics plants and an aeronautics center were established in Oklahoma City. Tulsa was the site of a new space equipment factory. Large industries expanded to include automobiles and computers. Several dams were constructed to provide water storage and hydroelectric power and the lakes they created encouraged tourism. Thousands of people moved into Oklahoma during this time.
There was a ten-fold increase in the price of Oklahoma crude oil between 1972 and 1981 as the OPEC cartel drove up world oil prices. Employment in the oil patch grew from around 34,000 in the early 1970s to a peak of 102,000 in 1981.
Oklahoma also had a big impact in the music world as musicians such as J.J. Cale, Leon Russell and Jimmy Webb became famous and the state became known for “red dirt” music, a combination of blues, country and rock & roll.
Another major event of 1970 that made headlines around the country was the death of rancher and businessman E.C. Mullendore III which eventually became the most famous unsolved murder in the southwest. This Oklahoma tragedy has kept people talking for forty-five years as no-one has ever been charged and theories about the crime abound. The case has been the subject of books and documentaries while numerous law enforcement officials and private investigators have attempted to solve it. This is the backdrop for Footprints in the Dew, Chub Anderson and the Unsolved Mullendore Murder.
Last Thursday night I was joined by many friends and readers for a gathering to celebrate the planned release of Footprints in the Dew on September 26, 2015.
If you weren’t able to make it and would like to purchase a first edition all the ordering information is available on this website.
Many thanks to everyone who attended.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..