June 18, 1983: Lucky Seven

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(Pictured: astronaut Sally Ride at work aboard the space shuttle Challenger, June 1983.)

June 18, 1983, was a Saturday. At 7:33 AM Eastern time, the space shuttle Challenger blasts off with a crew of five, including Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut. President Reagan salutes Ride in his weekly radio address and announces the re-appointment of Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker. In Texas, the Corpus Christi Midget Ocean Racing Fleet adopts its bylaws, and the Lubbock chapter of the American Cancer Society holds its first annual Cattle Baron’s Ball benefit. Martina Navratilova reaches the finals of the BMW Grass Court tennis tournament; she will make the finals of the next 22 events she enters, which is a record. Seventy-eight winners will split tonight’s $1.75 million Illinois Lotto jackpot, also a record; analysts credit the public’s love of the number seven: the winning numbers were 7, 13, 14, 21, 28, and 35. Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, holds its 125th spring commencement. Superman III, which opened around the country on Wednesday, is expected to be the top-grossing movie of the weekend, dethroning Return of the Jedi.

The current edition of Rolling Stone features Men at Work on the cover; inside is a tribute to Muddy Waters, who died in April. The Grateful Dead plays Saratoga, New York. KISS plays in front 0f 137,000 fans in Rio de Janeiro; it is one of the final shows they will play in their iconic makeup until 1996. Rod Stewart plays Glasgow, Scotland, Mike Oldfield plays Darmstadt, West Germany, and Wayne Newton plays Toledo, Ohio. At KHTR in St. Louis, Irene Cara’s “Flashdance . . . What a Feeling” and Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” hold the top two spots on the chart again this week; it’s the fifth straight week at the top for “Flashdance.” The hottest record on the chart is “Every Breath You Take” by the Police, zooming from #16 to #4. Other major movers include “Our House” by Madness, “Is There Something I Should Know” by Duran Duran, and “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard. Among the new records on the KHTR chart is “Hot Girls in Love” by Loverboy; the video features a blonde girl dodging random rolling beer kegs in a car she seems to have stolen from ZZ Top, in a universe where people also have to dodge random TV sets that fall from the sky.

Perspective From the Present: The Mrs. and I were newlyweds in Dubuque, Iowa, in the summer of ’83. I worked for a radio station and she worked for the local newspaper, and in June we moved to a new apartment, where we’d live for only four months. We didn’t have a plan, really. We weren’t dreaming of houses and babies and the future except in the haziest and most general sense. We were making up a life as we went along, in blissful ignorance of things we’d have been better off knowing, as young married couples do.

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