March 2018

The class of ’70 is turning 70 this year.  I am not making this up. Most people who graduated from college in 1970 were born in 1948, meaning they will officially become septuagenarians at some point in 2018.  Many already have. For those alert readers (ARs) who happen to be Biblical scholars this achievement might appear to be a fulfillment of what is written in The Book of Psalms, Psalm 90 to be precise:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Earlier in the Bible, in chapter 6 of The Book of Genesis, it would appear that the Lord set the upper limit of the human lifespan at 120 years (notwithstanding  the preceding chapter in which it is written that Methuselah lived to 969):

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

I have never actually met anyone who reached the age of 120.  As was reported in this space last month, however, I did take part in the celebration of Lucy Hamm’s 110th birthday.  As some ARs will recall, Lucy attributes her longevity in part to a diet that includes Schlafly Beer.

On that point I need to correct a mistake in last month’s column, in which I wrote that Lucy first tasted Schlafly Beer when she was in her 80s.  That is not correct.  She was in fact introduced to Schlafly in her mid-90s when her grandson Mike Hamm  took her to The Schlafly Tap Room.  According to Mike, she liked Schlafly so much that she asked if she could have another one.  Mike, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Michigan State, told her, “Go ahead, Grandmother. You’re not driving anywhere.”  I am not making this up.  A recognized expert in the field of nutrition told his grandmother ,who was in her mid-90s at the time, to keep drinking Schlafly Beer.  Fifteen years later she’s going strong and still drinking Schlafly.

Back to the Bible, the modern state of Israel was established in 1948, meaning it too will turn 70 this year. (Granted, it has Biblical roots that would make it a lot older than people who graduated from college 48 years ago.)

Those who were born in 1948 turned 16 in 1964, making them old enough to drive in the same year Ford introduced its new Mustang.

These same people turned 18 in 1966 and many started college that fall.  Half of those who turned 18 (i.e. the males) were required to register for the draft and have their draft cards in their possession at all times.  No one born in 1948 was yet eligible to vote in the United States.

This cohort turned 21 three years later, in 1969, and was finally old enough to vote. Some of the young adults in this cohort attended the famous Woodstock Festival in August of that year.  A lot more people later claimed to have been at Woodstock despite not having been anywhere close. This being the 60s, a lot of people could say with total honesty that they had no clue whether they were actually at Woodstock or had simply seen the movie about the festival.

The following spring tens of thousands of members of the class of 1970 never finished their course work for the second semester of their senior year.  And, as they told their parents, it wasn’t their fault.  Their campuses had been shut down. On April 30th President Nixon had ordered an expansion of the unpopular Vietnam War into Cambodia. Demonstrations immediately erupted on college campuses all over the United States, most dramatically at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen killed four protesting students.  At hundreds of colleges classes were canceled for the balance of the semester and the campuses were effectively closed. In some instances graduation ceremonies were also canceled.

Secret to longevity?

While Woodstock may have been the place to be in August of 1969, St. Louis is definitely the place to be in March of 2018, especially the neighborhood around The Schlafly Tap Room.  From March 1 to 4 the Missouri Valley Conference will be holding its basketball championship tournament a few blocks away in the Scottrade Center.  Three days after the teams from the Missouri Valley Conference go home the Southeastern Conference will be holding its basketball championship tournament in the same venue from March 7 to 11.

The following weekend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held downtown    This parade is normally held on the Saturday before March 17th.  In Dogtown, meanwhile, there’s another St. Patrick’s Day Parade that’s always held on the 17th.  When the 17th falls on a Saturday, as it does this year, there are two parades on the same day, one starting in Dogtown at 10:00 a.m. and the next one starting at noon downtown.  There will also be the traditional five mile run downtown at 9:00 a.m.  Someone who’s really energetic (and a much faster runner than I ever was) could do the run downtown; hustle out to Dogtown for the first parade; hustle back downtown for the second parade; and then adjourn to The Tap Room for some well-earned refreshment.

Our Stout and Oyster Festival is on the final weekend in March and may be the best celebration of all.  In addition to almost 80,000 oysters flown in from both coasts, we’ll be serving 15 different styles of stout.  For those who might hesitate at the prospect of downing dozens of oysters at a time, it’s important to remember that they’re very low in calories (about ten per oyster) and loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals.  They might even help people from the college class of 1970 live another half-century to reach the lifespan described in chapter 6 of The Book of Genesis. Barring that, a diet of oysters and Schlafly Beer might help these septuagenarians live as long as Lucy Hamm.

Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery