March 06, 2004

A Lighthearted Look at Another Time

This arrived by email. I think it conjures up a childhood that many wish could be summoned up for their own families today, somehow. It a time that, generally, was good for children. Women were expected to actually do the mothering when they chose to have children; it was the responsibility of both parents -- though, because the men went out to work, the bulk of the child rearing was done by women, but when the Father arrived home, his word meant something. Mothers were supported in their efforts by Father's word and actions. Mothers knew their job was valued and did it.

It is so different today. I hate the very idea of daycare although I have talked to someone who seems to know a bit about the research which shows that, for the poor and those whose children would suffer if left at home, it is positive.

Of course, anyone can have children in our world; you might need a license to drive but reproduction is a free-for-all. Pity! NJC

It Was Good

Were you a kid in the Fifties or earlier? Everybody makes fun of our childhood! Comedians joke. Grandkids snicker. Twenty-something's shudder and say "Eeeew!" But was our childhood really all that bad? Judge for yourself:

In 1953 The US population was less than 150 million... Yet you knew more people then, and knew them better... And that was good.

The average annual salary was under $3,000... Yet our parents could put some of it away for a rainy day and still live a decent life... And that was good

A loaf of bread cost about 15 cents... But it was safe for a five-year-old to skate to the store and buy one... And that was good.

Prime-Time meant I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, Gunsmoke and Lassie... So nobody ever heard of ratings or filters... And that was good.

We didn't have air-conditioning. . . So the windows stayed up and half a dozen mothers ran outside when you fell off your bike.. And that was good.

Your teacher was either Miss Matthews or Mrs. Logan or Mr. Adkins... But not Ms Becky or Mr. Dan... And that was good.

The only hazardous material you knew about... Was a patch of grassburrs around the light pole at the corner... And that was good.

You loved to climb into a fresh bed... Because sheets were dried on the clothesline.. And that was good.

People generally lived in the same hometown with their relatives.. So "child care" meant grandparents or aunts and uncles... And that was good.

Parents were respected and their rules were law... Children did not talk back.... and that was good.

TV was in black-and-white... But all outdoors was in glorious color....And that was certainly good.

Your Dad knew how to adjust everybody's carburetor.. And the Dad next door knew how to adjust all the TV knobs.. And that was very good.

Your grandma grew snap beans in the back yard.. And chickens behind the garage... And that was definitely good.

And just when you were about to do something really bad. . . Chances were you'd run into your Dad's high school coach.. Or the nosy old lady from up the street... Or your little sister's piano teacher... Or somebody from Church.... ALL of whom knew your parents' phone number... And YOUR first name... And even THAT was good!


Send this on to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Sky King, Little Lulu comics, Brenda Starr, Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows Nellie Belle, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk as well as the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and summers filled with bike rides, playing cowboy, playing hide and seek and kick-the-can and Simon Says, baseball games, amateur shows at the local theater before the Saturday matinee, bowling and visits to the pool...and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar, and wax lips and bubblegum cigars.

Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that! And was it really that long ago?

It certainly was that long ago -- olden times But it delineates so much safer a world for a child to grow up. I love the feeling of security for children that this conjures. Sometimes, I look at old text books from my grandmother's home -- readers with uplifting stories that were actually intended to be uplifting -- meant to make children strive to become their very best. It presents a time of idealism -- that must have been good for children to be exposed to before they became so knowledgeable about the worst of the world -- before their world engendered cynicism and children became jaded -- as they appear to be today -- and so early. I often wonder if the benefits of the world wide web and instant communication outweigh the negatives for families in bringing up children. NJC


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