Sunday, May 25, 2008

An invitation to be part of a great project

Within the next few days, you should all be getting an e-mail from Dale informing you of this project, but I want to spell it out in a little more detail for those of you who are interested.

For the last 30 years, I've made my living as a journalist. Some of you have been kind enough to comment positively on my writing ability, and I want to use my talents as both writer and journalist to write a book about our class.

Some of you may have read Michael Medved's book from 20 years ago or so called "What Really Happened to the Class of '65?" Medved wrote of a California graduating class 20 years after high school, but what I want to do is something different.

We graduated from Woodson in June 1967, right at the beginning of an extremely eventful period in our nation's history. We were early Baby Boomers, the Pepsi Generation, the age group that was convinced we would stay young forever.

The summer that we graduated, the Beatles came out with the Sgt. Pepper's album, maybe the most significant rock album ever (except of course for the Archies). If you're like me, you remember some amazing songs off that album, but one that must have sounded funny to us was "When I'm 64."

Heck, we weren't ever going to be 64.

Were we?

Well, those of us who made it are now 58 or 59, staring 64 -- and the years after it -- right in the face. It has been a long, strange trip from 18 to 64 for all of us and I want to chronicle that. I think it can make for a wonderful book about the Baby Boom and the effect we had on America.

I want to do it in a similar style to what Medved did, with each chapter being about one member of our class -- or two in some cases. So I'm looking for 25-30 people to answer questions and be interviewed about your lives.

I want ordinary people and stars, class presidents and kids who just sat and watched. athletes, actors, class clowns and most likely to succeeds.

This is a non-fiction book, so I will be writing about you as a journalist -- under your own names. So if you're hiding from an ex-wife or safely in the Witness Protection Program, you probably don't want to participate.

One thing I promise you -- Nothing will be published that you don't want to see published. I will give each of you approval of the chapter written about you, including the chance to have it withdrawn from the book.

The chapters will be headed with song titles from 1967, and they will be based on archetypes. For example, a song like "Never My Love" could introduce a chapter about classmate sweethearts -- we've got a few -- who fell in love at Woodson and are still together.

Here are some of the archetypal examples I'm looking for -- volunteer yourself or suggest someone:

The Jock, the politico, the "can't miss" kid, the queen, the outsider, the clown, the dreamer, the dancer, the preacher, etc.

I've gone on long enough. You don't need to post your own interest in this as comments -- I'd rather hear from you via e-mail. But I will tell you this -- some of you who don't volunteer will be hearing from me to ask (cajole, beg, whatever) you to participate. I want you in the book.

I hope you're interested.


Dale Morgan said...

For all of you I have an email address for, you know by now that I did send out that email for Mike. And you should all be stirring your memory pot in anticipation of the questionnaire Mike plans to send out.

Just for your info, within the first 30 minutes after sending out the email, I received at least 10 replies from classmates who are eagerly awaiting the questionnaire.

Sean Kennedy said...

I would like to recommend an old and dear friend, Mike Scott. I've stayed in touch with him for many years. Today he and his wife and son live in Signal Mountain, TN.

While many of us went off to college in 1967-68, Mike joined the Marine Corps as did our fellow classmate Jon Rumble. They both served together in Vietnam, and were CAP Marines (Combined Action Platoon) which made them Marine Special Forces. They lived in the villages of Vietnam.

Jon was killed in action in 1969, and each year I visit him on Memorial Day at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

Mike returned and had some tough years working through that jungle that was the Vietnam War. I think his experiences, and his remembrances would be especially powerful. The War was such a large part of our generation's collective memory.

He was, and remains, a Warrior. But he also is an artist, and has an artist's soul, to be sure. If you wanted to include Jon, I am sure that many of us could provide some fond remembrances of him as well.

Sean Kennedy

Mike Rappaport said...

Sean --

I would like to do a chapter on Vietnam, and focusing on Mike Scott but also including memories of Jon Rumble and Mike Sullivan, would be perfect.

By the way, Sean, I want a chapter on you too.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I'm eager to read your new book!

I read your info in Dale's email several hours ago. In the past few minutes, I discovered I was singing, "When I'm 64" to myself (thank goodness) - and suddenly recalled my first husband and I chose to have it played at our wedding ceremony. A strange memory.

High five on this cool project, Mike. I'm envisioning you being interviewed by Oprah, maybe even webinar-ing with her.

~ Dena

Michael Scott said...

If you want to tell Jon's story I would like to be a part of that.
I shared a few beers with Jon in DaNang and shared a conversation that sent me on a forty year journey. I was the last member of our class to talk to Jon.

Mike Rappaport said...

Absolutely, Michael. Did you know Don Dark? I've been in touch with him. He says he was Jon's best friend over there.

Michael Scott said...

I didn't know Don in Vietnam. I have talked to him a few times thru the Capmarine web site. Our teams were so small and isolated, I found out we had lost Jon through a letter from Ace Tally.

Joe Perszyk said...

Mike, Jon Rumble and I were very close up until his untimely death in Vietnam. I considered him my brother and still do. I remain in contact with a number of individuals who knew Jon very well including members of his family. If you would like some input from me on Jon I would be glad to help.