February 1964. I was in the seventh grade at Homewood Junior High School in Birmingham, Alabama. President Kennedy had been killed just 3 months before, and the Civil Rights battles were still raging full blast in Alabama and all over the South. It was not a fun time in America. I had to take a week off from school to ride out what used to be one of the standard childhood illnesses, the "mumps" (the other ones were chicken pox and the measles). Those days for me were really a lot like that TV show "Happy Days", or "Leave It To Beaver", or one of those other old 60's shows that seem so goofy now to younger people. That's kind of the way a lot of America was then, for better or worse.