– KYA – San Francisco – Bwana Johnny – June 20, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
If you were turning 18 anytime between 1965 and 1973, you were preoccupied with the Draft. In case you missed it – The Draft was involuntary induction into the Military, and once you turned 18 you had to register for it. And that usually meant hovering over your mailbox every day, waiting for the letter that inevitably began with “Greetings . . .!” If you wanted, you could avoid all that by going down and enlisting, and a lot of guys did (contrary to reports). But it was also during the time of the Vietnam War and it was losing popularity by the day in America. Richard Nixon ran for President promising he had “a plan” to end the war. But in April, Nixon gave the go-ahead to invade Cambodia – and that got a lot of people angry and upset – and it got nasty on campuses all over the country. Even your High School got into it.
So, if you were going to turn 18 this year, and you were in your Senior Semester, you were nervous. You pretended you weren’t, and you had friends who were going down to enlist when School was over for the Summer. 1970 was a new decade, and so far it was pretty scary. You are convinced the Draft Board will be looking for you the second you have your birthday – and that’s supposed to happen in July. You turn the radio up very loud and try to forget about it – and firing up a few doobies doesn’t hurt either. Your life is going to get complicated and you know it. You heard it happens to everybody. They say it’s part of growing up. You’re not so sure you like that idea.
1980 feels like a century away, and on this day it is.
Here is an hour’s worth of Bwana Johnny from KYA in San Francisco from June 20, 1970.
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