Monday, November 1, 2010

The way we used to do


Michael and I have been spending time reminiscing about how things used to be and the way life was. We grew up in the late 50’s and the 1960’s, and like many of us, we miss our very own "good old days." It seemed like there was less crime and more compassion. A history of leaving food out for the “hobos” that came through the alley periodically (grandmother used to put food out back at the back shed door the first Thursday of every month).

There was a greater sense of community in those days, a sense that we were all in this together. People sat out on their front porches of an evening – even when those porches were small and we were really sitting on the steps. We knew our neighbors, we walked to friends houses all over. Traffic was much slower, we felt safe walking on the neighborhood streets. We even knew the policemen that patrolled in the neighborhood, and felt perfectly comfortable calling them with questions as well as to ask for help when we needed it. Everyone took time to be patient, to hear each other out. At least that is what it seemed like.

We had a party line on the phone, and knew the phone operators. What a hoot the party line was!

We rode our bikes around all summer long, and late into the school year. Every home didn’t have a basketball hoop – we rode to the park or the school, where there were four that we could share. We all gathered together to play, and the playgrounds were heavily used all the time after school. We even had public swimming pools that we got dropped off at in the morning, then picked up at 2ish on a summer afternoon! We took our lunches and had a blast, and the lifeguards were listened to like the ultimate rule.

We walked everywhere too, to the bus stop, to the school, home, to the corner store. Much more walking, much less driving and getting rides. Lots more exercise. Lots of kids walked the neighborhood all the time to sell magazines (TV Guide) and to handle newspaper routes. We sold sub sandwiches, getting up at 5 to meet at the store to make them and deliver them on Sub-Saturday. We washed dishes at the restaurants – all the plates, silverware, and glasses. Not the pots & pans – that was too much for the young ones. It was wonderful to get a job, have a way to make your own money. Today, I think the only way for a kid to have a job is if their parents give it to them. Why is that? Kids can make a great contribution.

Everyone wrote thank you notes, dressed up for birthday parties, even wore hats and gloves for dressy occasions. Can you believe it? That wasn’t so long ago, you know? I do wish we could go back to those days again. I miss the engagement, the knowing people up and down the street, the roots that we put down and the commitment in our communities. I miss the days of kids earning money and learning social skills by playing with their friends. I miss the human interaction and the honest discussions that taught us how to understand and work through disagreements.

***

I also miss the incredible and amazing belief that we honestly believed that everyone shared - the amazing unlimited unimaginable future -- of the United States of America, and of humanity. We saw all the glorious marvels of science and just knew that the future was going to be incredible! Hover boards, unlimited energy, more leisure time, more health. No one hungry, everyone educated, the incredible promise that science would take us to the moon and beyond while improving life on earth beyond our wildest dreams! A belief that God had given us everything we need to figure everything out and make life the best it could be here on earth for everyone.

2 comments:

Maggie said...

Those you knew weren't hungry, but there was still child abuse...and no one to help the children, and there was alcoholism but no one talked about the help that was available. There were good moments, but there were childhoods that were not at all idyllic mine among them.

I sure do like your word picture tho.

Tabor said...

I think we did walk much more...but then I grew up in a small town. I am sure the city areas still had the crime and dangers and drunks. Maggie is correct in that we didn't talk about a lot of that...or at least the adults didn't. My high school math teacher was fired for pedophilia!

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