A Thing of Beauty: The Times, 1978 Through 1979

World Events and A Thing of Beauty

While peace among the people Becky loved seemed a distant hope, Jimmy Carter endeavored to forge peace between Egypt and Israel.

 Becky’s detail-obsessed mother and “loosey-goosey” creative sister were engaged in mutually assured annoyance. Likewise, the USA, France and Great Britain were locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. Each side engaged in repeated nuclear bomb tests.

Iran rebelled against repressions of the shah with another force in the wings waiting to take power.  In a similar way, Jessica rebelled against her mother. She finds herself manipulated by peers, and the disturbing attentions of an older boy.

The Viet Nam War ended in 1975, but friends and a family member still suffer in its aftermath. President Carter’s pardon of draft-dodgers is most controversial.

President Carter proposed setting aside Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday, yet Becky still perceived the unease in our diverse society.

The thoroughly unexpected was happening in the world, in Texas football, and in Becky’s neighborhood and school. 

And suddenly popular culture voices from Disco music to outlaw country singer Willie Nelson, seemed more real, more true to both sisters than anything their close-knit family ever said.

Turbulent Times – Events at the Time of A Thing of Beauty


  • January 14 Super Bowl XII Dallas Cowboys beat Denver Broncos
  • January 21 Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever is number one for 21 weeks.
  • February 1 Harriet Tubman is first African American woman honored on a postage stamp
  • March 10 Bill Bixby debut as The Incredible Hulk
  • June 16 Jaws 2 released.
  • July 1 Willie Nelson has his fourth annual Fourth of July Picnic concert
  • September 6 USSR conducts one of many repeated underground nuclear tests.
  • September 8 Iranian army fires on Khomeini followers; the following day Khomeini calls for uprising in the army.
  • September 9 Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin meet with President Jimmy Carter at the Camp David Peace Accords.

1978, Continued

  • October 24 The movie The Wiz is released.
  • October 27 Jimmy Carter addresses chronic unemployment by signing the Hawkins-Humphrey Full Employment Bill
  • November 6 Shah of Iran declares military rule.
  • November 30 France joins the United in States and Great Britain in repeated nuclear bomb tests.
  • December 2 Anti-Shah protests in Iran.
  • December 17 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raises oil prices by 18% and agrees on a 14.5% increase for 1979. People struggled to pay high prices for gasoline
  • Dec. 29, 1978-Jan. 4, 1979 North Texas Ice Storm. On January 1, during the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Quarterback Joe Montana, who had the flu, led Notre Dame to victory.


  • January 14 President Carter proposes that Martin Luther King’s birthday be declared a national holiday.
  • January 16 The Shah flees Iran.
  • January 21 Super Bowl XIII Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys.
  • February 1 Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 year exile. On February 11, he seizes power.
  • April 1 Iran becomes an Islamic republic
  • April 20 A desperate swimming rabbit appears to attack President Carter.
  • June 22 The Muppet Movie
  • June 28 OPEC raises oil prices 24%.
  • July 1 Sony introduces the Walkman.

Other 1978 Statistics

  • Inflation 12.4%
  • Unemployment 7.1%
  • Average income $17,000
  • Gas $0.63 per gallon In 1979, average price was $0.86.
  • 1 gallon of milk $1.71
  • 1 pound of bacon $1.20
  • Dozen Eggs 48 Cents
  • Radio Shack Tandy TRS80 Computer $399.00
  • 8 Track Player $169.00
  • Land O Lakes Butter Lb $1.33
  • New York Strip Steaks Lb $2.39
  • Ladies Corduroy Overalls $22.00

Texas Facts From the 1980-81 Texas Almanac

Texan Sports

Dallas Cowboys had 12 wins and 4 losses and Houston Oilers had 10 wins and 6 losses in 1978.
Not a bad year for Texas professional football! The “other” football team, Dallas Tornado soccer teams had 14 wins and 16 losses. However, baseball fans had to be especially patient and faithful, for Texas Rangers had 87 wins and 75 losses. Slightly less successful Houston Astros had only 74 wins and 88 losses

Famously, Notre Dame played in the Cotton Bowl in both 1978 and 1979. They defeated the University of Texas (38-10) and the University of Houston (35-34) respectively. The historic 1979 game was played the day after the city’s worst ice storm in thirty years. Despite having the flu, quarterback Joe Montana led Notre Dame to a narrow victory in the second half after eating a bowl of chicken soup.

Texan College football rivalries are legendary, and perhaps the fiercest is between Texas A&M University and Texas University.

Texan Pride

In the Lone Star State’s colorful history, six different flags have flown over Texas: Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and United States. The Six Flags over Texas theme park at one time had sections devoted to each flag with informative plaques about each flag and its history. Texas Independence Day is celebrated on March 2 and San Jacinto Day, on April 21. Citizens of the new Texas republic called themselves, “Texians.” Once Texas entered the Union, they retained their Lone Star flag as their state flag.

Emancipation or Freedom Day, honored on June 19, celebrates the day that slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation. People observe this holiday, not only in Texas, but throughout the South.






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