NOVEMBER IS ALMOST HERE, and many of us at Tucker Paving are feeling a bit nostalgic. The 11th month of the year always reminds us about our company’s launch — on Nov. 21, 1994. We started out with two employees and borrowed equipment and have since grown to include more than 150 crew members and a large inventory of equipment and vehicles under title in our own name.
Looking back, it seems nice and fitting that the company got its official start the week Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day 22 years ago. We’re thankful for our humble beginnings and thankful for the growth and prosperity we’ve enjoyed since then. Certainly, the gratitude extends to the customers who took a chance on us in the early days of our operation and all the customers who have helped to fuel our growth since then.
So, who remembers what was life like in the United States and in Florida almost a generation ago, in 1994? When our memories fail us, we can always turn to the vast information on the World Wide Web to help fill in the blanks.
The president, of course, was Bill Clinton, No. 42 in the U.S. line of presidents and the fellow between two men named Bush. Florida’s governor was Lawton Chiles, who hailed from nearby Lakeland. Florida’s U.S. senators were Bob Graham and Connie Mack III, and our local congressman was Charles Canady, now a justice on the Florida Supreme Court.
At the movies, “Forrest Gump” was the top-grossing feature film at $330 million, followed closely by the animated “The Lion King” at 313 million. On television, “Friends” and “Touched by an Angel” made their debut in September 1994. “Seinfeld,” “ER,” and “Home Improvement” were the top three TV shows in the 1994-95 season. In music, “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston) was Record of the Year at the Grammys, “The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album” (Whitney Houston) was Album of the Year, and “A Whole New World” (the theme from “Aladdin”) was Song of the Year.
In other pop culture and news items from 1994 — we’ll stick to the more positive side of news column — “The Rachel” (Jennifer Aniston of “Friends) for gals and frosted tips for guys were the top hairstyles, the Nintendo Game Boy was popular, the Sony PlayStation was released, and Donkey Kong Country was among the top video games. Pagers were the best option for remote communication (61 million of those hip-hugging devices were in use), a first-class postage stamp went for 29 cents, a Web page was created for The White House, and best-selling books were “How Late It Was, How Late” (James Kelman) and “The Stone Diaries” (Carol Shields).
In sports, champions included the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), the Houston Rockets (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL Stanley Cup), Conchita Martinez and Pete Sampras at Wimbledon, Go For Gin at the Kentucky Derby, Nebraska in NCAA football, Arkansas in NCAA basketball, and Brazil in the World Cup. Notably, the World Series wasn’t held, and, before college football had an overtime system, Florida and Florida State had to settle for a 31-31 tie in a game that became known as — sorry, Gator fans — “The Choke at Doak.”
And finally, in business, 1994 was the year for two other significant company launches. You might have heard of them — Yahoo! and Amazon. They’ve each become nationally what we at Tucker Paving are working very hard to make our company locally — and that would be a household name.