France leaves, Algeria independent. JFK stared down Nikita Krushchev during Cuban Missile Crisis. The young president also sent a federal Marshall and 3,000 troops to make sure black student James Meredith safely entered the University of Mississippi. Mariner II reached Venus. John Glenn orbited earth. Pat Brown (Jerry Brown’s father) became California Governor, beating Richard Nixon. Marilyn Monroe died reportedly of a drug overdose. Jack Paar left “The Tonight Show,” replaced by Johnny Carson. Fidel Castro was ex-communicated. The Boston Strangler began his spree. Three prisoners (the only ones ever) escaped Alcatraz. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game, 4,000 in one season. Jackie Robinson was the first black player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mickey Mantle hit four consecutive home runs. Record label Decca turned down The Beatles. Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best as Beatles’ drummer. The Emmy Award for Album of the Year went to Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall. We also listened to “Strangers on the Shore” by Acker Bilk, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles, “Roses are Red” by Bobby Vinton, “The Stripper” by David Rose, “Johnny “Angel” by Shelley Fabares, “The Locomotion” by Little Eva, and “The Twist” by Chubby Checker. The Nobel Prize For Literature went to John Steinbeck. The Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor. The Mystery Writers of America awarded Gideon’s Fire by J. J. Marric (John Creasy) the Edgar for Best Mystery Novel of the year. We also read The Tin Drum by Günter Grass, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, In the Clearing by Robert Frost and Another Country by James Baldwin as well as One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. Westside Story picked up the Academy Award for best film of 1961. Other movies we watched were To Kill A Mockingbird, Dr. No, The Longest Day, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Manchurian Candidate, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Cape Fear. Arrivals include John Stewart, Craig Ferguson, Jodie Foster, Tom Cruise, Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Wesley Snipes, Axl Rose, Paula Abdul, Matthew Broderick, Sheryl Crow, and Jim Carey. Departures included: Charles Laughton, Thomas Mitchell, Frank Lovejoy, Ernie Kovacs, Lucky Luciano, Hoot Gibson, William Faulkner and Eleanor Roosevelt. If you were around, what were you doing during this year of the water tiger?