Saturday, January 24, 2015

Were They Really "The Good Old Days"?

My View from the Front Porch

Scrolling through headlines tonight, I was like, "Yeah, yeah, tell me something new". And then I had a thought. Maybe I could write headlines about my childhood and my neighborhood. I laugh every time I see a Facebook post, or a chain email, about "the good old days", and how great it was that children had so much freedom back then, and how different things were. 

The facts expressed in each of these mock-up headlines are true. I was that child. I was that younger cousin. I was that granddaughter. I was that classmate. It was my mom, my school, and my neighborhood park. 

Most of the time I had a pretty good childhood. My mom showed her love with her cooking, and took good care of me when I was sick; and my dad loved to support us, and to build and repair for us. 

I went to church, and I read the Psalms, and I loved nature; and I found God in all of those. But please don't tell me that yesteryear was better than today. Life is really pretty universal. Or, as Dickens said, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."

Here are my "mock-up" headlines:

Local School to Serve as Bomb Shelter for Community

10 Year Old Boy Sexually Abuses 5 Year Old Cousin

Mother Warns Young Child Not to Unlock Car Door to Men from Tavern While Waiting for Her to Shop

Couple with Party Line Worries, when their Visiting Granddaughter Calls Home to Parents, Because of Teen Boys' Lewd Talk

Mother Tells Child to Sit on Porch if she isn't Home after School, Not to Go to Neighbors: "They will think I'm a bad mother"

Estranged Husband Kills Kindergarten Teacher at School, Shoots Himself, and Flees into Woods

Hurricane Destroys Roof over 5th and 6th grade Classrooms; All 4 Classes being Held in Gym

School Bullying Commonplace, as Children Ridicule, Put Lipstick on Back of Classmate's Coat on Bus

Children Warned Not Safe to go to Leverich Park except for Organized Large Group Activities

Let's remember as we read headlines, that just as the ones I created here covered six or seven years time, that the ones we see every day often cover many areas of the country and world. Sensational things, hurtful things, sometimes horrifying things will always be with us. They are nothing new. 

And sometimes we can help, or pray; but let's also remember to live in the life we are in, not in another area or another time. 

May we be at peace, and may we find some joy in each and every day. 

Important Follow-up Note:

I want to clarify something. I have great respect and love for my late mother. She wasn't perfect...and neither am I...but she lived in the times she was in.

I have learned from talking to people my age, over the years, that my mother leaving me in the car while she shopped was a fairly common practice at the time. 

Even as far as my sitting on the porch, she always expected, of course, to be home when I got home from school; it was just that sometimes she was  running late. And adults worrying about what the neighbors thought was a way of life that permeated the society I lived in as a child. 

Some years later, when my youngest was a baby, my husband and I went to a neighborhood watch (in a different state), where someone asked the speaker something about children alone, and he said they are safer alone outside than alone inside the house. I don't agree, nor am I sure it should be an "or", depending, of course, on age and maturity. But I just wanted to clarify that it wasn't so much about my mother, but about a general way of thinking during, perhaps, a fairly wide span of time...a time period that some people look back on as having been perfect. 

For those for whom the "good old days" really were (almost) perfect, I'm really happy for them...for you, if you were one of them.

Some of us looked back in adolescence and saw some flaws in our childhood, and over the years came to believe that there is no perfect world. 

But there is much good in the world, and so much love and, with our eyes open to all of it, we to try to embrace the good. 

Peace to you, and all good.

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