Late last fall, our son text messaged me he had registered for his spring classes, one of which was a history class on the 1960s. David was excited about it -- he had taken a similar class in high school and enjoyed it. Plus, he had been inundated by the music of the ‘60s since birth, thanks to his parents.
The texts between us started flying when the class actually began. The professor, a woman in her 40s, who hadn't lived a second in the 1960s, believed the decade was all about women's liberation to the exclusion of everything else.
"This class stinks," David texted almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.
"What is the topic today?" I would text back.
"Betty Friedan." (Gloria Steinem, burning bras ...) It was always a topic relating to women's liberation.
As a child and teen of the ‘60s, I couldn't believe the professor was so narrow-minded. The decade was a hot bed of change, an era in which Americans lost their innocence and naivety. An era that brought Walter Cronkite and the Vietnam War into your living room each night.
The country embraced President John F. Kennedy and his wife and family. Everyone wanted to be like them and live in Camelot. When he was assassinated, we all grieved and mourned his loss like we were family.
The grieving and mourning continued with the assassinations of President Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy and civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
And speaking of King, I can't understand how a professor can overlook the whole civil rights movement -- the freedom rides, the desegregation of schools and colleges, the sit-ins and the marches for equal rights.
There was also space exploration, with Alan Shepard being the first American man in space and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
To say nothing about the changes in the music scene, from the Beatles and the British Invasion to the rise of Motown, was inconceivable because it so mirrored the times. And the hippie/free love/LSD culture ...
"Hey, she mentioned the Vietnam War!' David texted one day.
"What about it?" I texted back.
"The Tonkin Bay incident," he replied, referring to the events that led to President Lyndon Johnson persuading Congress to allow U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia -- but stopping short of calling it a war.
"And?" I asked
"That was it."
That was it? That was only the tip of the iceberg.
"What about the Tet Offensive, the Easter Offensive? What about the My Lai massacre and Lt. William Calley? What about the inhuman war tactics used by the North Vietnam army? What about napalm and Agent Orange? What about the Saigon airlift in 1975?" I shot back. "Ask her how the returning soldiers were treated."
But by then she was back to her feminist agenda.
"Mom, I'm dropping this class," David texted me last week.
"There's only five weeks to go before graduation! You won't have enough credits to graduate!" I shot back.
"I have it covered," he assured me.
It's a pity his professor hadn't had the 1960s covered ... She doesn't know what she missed.
I want to thank Betty Crosier for sending me the recipe for Better than Sex Cake I was looking for from the Northern Berkshire Vietnam Veterans Family Auxiliary cookbook. Thanks also to David and Bonnie Whitney and an anonymous reader for sharing their copies of the cookbook.
So here it is, the recipe for Better Than Sex Cake. Is it really better? You tell me!
Better Than Sex Cake
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 jar caramel sauce
1 8-ounce container Cool Whip
2 or 3 large Skor or Heath bars, crushed
Bake chocolate cake mix as package directs in a 9x13-inch cake pan. While the cake is still hot from the oven, poke holes all over the top of cake (use the end of a wooden spoon). Pour the whole jar of caramel sauce over the top. When the cake cools, frost with the whipped topping. Sprinkle the crushed candy bars over the top. Serve from the pan.
Another recipe I loved from this cookbook was for a main dish called Stuff.
1 large jar spaghetti sauce
1 pound hot sausage, fried and drained
1 pound hamburger
3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 package 8-ounce mozzarella cheese, grated
Chop 3 to 4 cups of the first five ingredients. Mix together and add grated Cheddar cheese and a few dashes of garlic powder, pepper, salt, basil and oregano. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. In the last 10 minutes, sprinkle top with mozzarella.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to email@example.com.