(Fourth in a series; edited to fix Alice Paul’s age.)
July 9, 1977, is a Saturday. Alice Paul, a leading figure in the votes-for-women movement in the early 20th century and author of the Equal Rights Amendment, dies at age 92, as does anthropologist and author Loren Eiseley, age 69. An Illinois woman, Cathleen Crowell, tells police she was raped and picks her attacker out of a police mug book; the man, Gary Dotson, will be convicted two years later. In 1985, the woman will admit she made up her story, and in 1988, Dotson will become the first person exonerated by DNA evidence. At the IGA Foodliner in Cass City, Michigan, round steak is $1.19 a pound, a twin-pack of Pringles potato chips is 69 cents, and iceberg lettuce is 39 cents a head. In the third round of the British Open, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson both shoot 65 to tie for the tournament lead. Future actor Milo Ventimiglia is born. CPO Sharkey star Don Rickles is on the cover of TV Guide. I attend an emotional going-away party for several classmates who will be leaving the next morning for a month in Europe. As I drive back out to the farm just after midnight on that morning, I’m already sure that I will never forget it, and I haven’t.
Ben E. King and the Average White Band play the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, as do Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. The San Francisco Kool Jazz Festival features Natalie Cole, Wild Cherry, and Tavares, and Chicago plays Alpine Valley near Milwaukee. On the radio, WLS is rockin’ pretty hard, with Foreigner, the Eagles, the Steve Miller Band, Boston, Fleetwood Mac, and Heart all placing singles in the Top 20. The top three, however, are “Lonely Boy” by Andrew Gold, Alan O’Day’s “Undercover Angel,” and Shaun Cassidy’s cover of “Da Doo Ron Ron,” which is topping the chart for a fourth straight week.
(The lyrics of “Lonely Boy” are narcissistic nonsense—as I have frequently said over the years, if you want to know why baby boomers are the way they are, there’s your proof—but the record sounded great on the radio back in the day, and it brings back the summer of 1977 pretty clearly, even at the distance of 30 years.)