Kareem's Memoir & Bio

1980

Going home from school sick 
During thThe Electric Companyose occasions when I had an athsma attack while at school, my father would pick me up from school. My dad would take me home where I would watch channel 9, KQED. I enjoyed Mr. Rogers; Sesame Street; The Electric Company; Zoom; Vegetable Soup,

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and 321 Contact. These were all productions from PBS which was primarily the only place that offered children's programming all day long and on the weekends. I loved watching these shows.

Fourth of July
Fireworks were legal! My family really enjoyed the Fourth of July because fireworks were the "in" Illegal Fireworksthing since they were legal. Every Independence Holiday evening, I would go to my cousins' house. Uncle Jim would have lots of paper bags full of every kind of pyrotechnical paraphernalia. He had flowers, dazzlers, bottle rockets, roman candles, little rocket-propelled cardboard trucks that would move on their own when they were ignited; and of course the infamous "cherry bombs" always ended the night with really loud bangs. We would spend hours in the street setting off all of those fireworks and still managed to save some for the celebration next year.

My Aunty's house
My sister and I were lucky to be able to spend summers and days out of school when we were sick, at my aunty's house. She would always make us a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toasted bread. I still love to eat these today! My aunty also cared for her mentally challenged people and had even raised several of her "clients" as she often referred to them, from childhood to adulthood. Just like we knew she loved us, she also loved her clients and they loved her. Each of them had been assigned their chores around the house. "George" always cleaned the kitchen and "Patrick" would often shave the other clients and help get them ready for church on Sunday mornings. They went with her to church and just about everywhere else. We became very fond of all of them and even played games with them outdoors. They were like her children. My aunty would also take us with her when she needed to make trips to the market to stock up on her food supply. She stored most of her food in her overstuffed freezer that was located in the garage. During our stay at my aunty's house, I came to realize that anything, absolutely anything could be frozen. My sister and I would occasionally catch the frozen goodies that sometimes fell out of the stuffed freezer when the door was opened. We knew that meat and vegetables could be frozen. But never knew that cakes and other pastries could be frozen. Sometimes she allowed us to eat those Hostess Fruit Pies that always tasted of freezer burn.

When we spent the summer days at my Aunty's house, we would also play with our cousin who was close in age. His name is Keyon. Keyon was more familiar with the neighborhood than we were and he would often take us little excursions. Keyon was also fascinated by animals like I was. He and I would go and catch frogs from a nearby creek and then release them in an alley. After we released the frogs, they would try to hop out of danger just as we rolled our empty jar down the path where they were. This is how we played "Frogger". It was crazy and gross - but fun!

Solar Eclipse of the century... 
I remember a total solar eclipse that seemed to be a big deal during the year of 1979. I can't really recall anything specific other than the TV news talking about it and everyone looking at the sky back then. We usually get one of these Total Solar Eclipses in North America at the rate of one per century. The next one is not until August 2017.

Merlin Perkins, Mutual Omahas Wild KingdomTV Shows
Sunday evenings on TV was also a great and memorable experience for me. I never missed an episode of Mutual Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins. It was the best animal show that aired during that time.

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Christmas time was absolutely the best time of the year for me. I loved the whole Christmas Tree thing with Toys R Us Adall the lights and presents and so forth. But television also marked the season by airing seasonal commercials that I will never forget. One such commercial was a Toys R Us Commercial that played only during the Christmas season.

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It featured the animated giraffes as they gathered in their decorated living room next to the fireplace and Christmas tree.

May 18, Sunday morning 
One Sunday morning on May 18, a news bulletin interrupted a TV show that my family was watching. The Mt St Helens eruptionbulletin reported that a volcanic eruption had occurred in Washington State. My mother grew concerned as her parents lived there in the small town of Grandview (42 miles southeast of Yakima). She tried to telephone her parents there to check on their wellbeing. At the time, any time you placed a call to someone who was outside of your state, the PacBell operator in the other state needed to connect your call. When the operator answered the call, she apparently told my mother in a calm but uneasy voice, "maam, you won't believe this, but the sky is literally black right now. It looks like midnight and the streetlights are coming on." My mother was eventually able to contact my grandparents and hear all of the frightening experiences that the eruption of Mount Saint Helens had caused. Later, after we were able to reach my aunt, she recalled when she was driving along the freeway on her way to work when she saw this black cloud approaching. She said that she thought that there was a thunderstorm heading her way. She quickly turnd the car around and retreated for home. Even for months leading up to this day of the major eruption, we kept wAsh cloud approachingatching the TV news and the reports on the volcanic activity that was happening at Mt. St. Helens.

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That Sunday morning, ash from the volcanic cloud began to quietly fall like snow on my grandparent'small town. It covered the lawn, cars, streets, windows, and anything else. Months later, my grandparents sent to me a container of the volcanic ash as a souvenir. The volcano, Mount Saint Helens, blasted nearly 1300 feet of its peak into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding landscape. My fascination with volcanoes had me spending many hours watching the news coverage of the eruption's aftermath.

Video Games and Television 
One of the most popular video games of the time was the emergence of a video game called Pacman. I played this often at any store or arcade in the area. I had my own toy mini arcade that I usually brought with me everywhere I went.

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Diet Pepsi adDuring this year, there were a number of memorable commercials which mahersheyde you remember their tunes rather easily. The first was the Diet Pepsi ad that

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started promoting their newer and less fattening version of the Pepsi. The other musical ad was the one for Hershey's Chocolate Bar. I love this musical jingle.

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Breaking news during game... john lennon shot
It happened when we were watching a game on ABC sports where the host legend, Howard Cossell announced the breaking news that John Lenon had been shot and killed. It was shocking but hard to comprehend. I knew I had heard his name but wasn't sure why it had happened. It seemed like big deal at the time.

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