A 60-year journey

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 1, January, February 2018, page(s) 7 Editorials
David R. Richardson, MD

If longevity is a sign of quality, then the BCMJ should be proud as we enter our 60th year of publication. Our humble journal started its journey as the voice of the doctors of BC in 1959.

Looking back at 1959, John Diefenbaker was prime minister of Canada, and Dwight Eisenhower was president of the United States. This was quite a monumental year for our southern neighbors as the states of Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union. At the same time the cold war and the space race were in full swing. Also, Fidel Castro had just come to power in Cuba, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet. Finally, the St. Lawrence Seaway joining the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean was completed.

Rawhide, Bonanza, and The Twilight Zone were TV highlights in 1959, while Ben Hur and Some Like It Hot were taking the big screen by storm. Music died one day in February as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the “The Big Bopper” perished in a plane crash. Also, for better or for worse, Mattel released Barbie in 1959, and she quickly established her longstanding doll monopoly. Not to be outdone, Mr Potato Head, Play Dough, and the Hula Hoop were still going strong. Toy-shopping parents could be seen in drainpipe jeans, pedal pushers, and white T-shirts.

The scientific community had their own breakthroughs in 1959. A litter of rabbits was grown from an ovum that underwent in vitro fertilization, and for all of you lab geeks out there (you know who the two of you are) acrylamide was first used in gel electrophoresis. In medicine, mercury was discovered as the cause of Minamata disease, and the first allograft was performed. The first bone marrow transplants were done on five Yugoslavian men with radiation damage, but unfortunately all of them were rejected (the bone marrow, not the men). Also in this year, the first known case of human HIV disease was identified in the Belgian Congo.

In 1959 a new house would have set you back about $12 400, while you earned $5010 per year. You would have shelled out $2200 for your new car, and paid 25 cents per gallon to fill it with gas. A loaf of bread cost 20 cents, and a movie ticket was a dollar.

Many things have changed since 1959, but not the BCMJ. It remains a valuable educational voice written primarily by BC physicians for BC physicians. The current Editorial Board is committed to producing a quality journal that honors the legacy handed down by those whose roles we now fill. To celebrate our 60th year, keep your eyes open for little reminders of the years that have passed sprinkled throughout our 10 issues of 2018.

Here’s to 60 more.