Otis Redding's Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay was at the top of the music charts, and the original Star Trek was in its second groundbreaking season on TV. LBJ was in the White House, and the United States was still reeling from the shock of the deadly Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. Pierre Trudeau was set to become Canada's most flamboyant Prime Minister, and in Québec, the Quiet Revolution was shaking the very foundations of Canadian identity. The Cold War chilled, and its coldest front was the icy wall that split Berlin down the middle. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were under construction in New York. The Black Power movement was in full bloom, and Martin Luther King, Jr., had less than two weeks left to live. Israel and Egypt were batting back and forth over possession of the Sinai Peninsula. Student unrest was erupting around the world, as young people everywhere began questioning the rules and mores and norms of the dysfunctional world they were inheriting.
That was the flavour of the world at the moment I decided to join it: Disillusioned, and Idealistic, and Optimistic, and Rebellious, and Experimental. I think it flavoured me in the process, for I am certainly a child of that time.
I was healthy baby, and after a short hospital stay, they circumcised me (without my consent) and sent me to my first home, a tiny apartment on brick-paved Juliette Street in Manhattan, Kansas, aka "The Little Apple."
Even though I was actually born in Topeka, I've never actually lived there. Manhattan is my hometown. My mother was an OB-GYN nurse who was putting my father through school at Kansas State. She worked at the OB ward at St. Mary's hospital, and to hear her tell it, there was no way she was going to have her baby where she worked. So when she went into labour, she said "Francis, get the keys to the car, because we're going to Topeka."