Sunday, October 30, 2016


As I begin this Thought my mind is going through turmoil. In one flashing moment I go from not being one who spends a lot of time being nostalgic and dreaming of the good old days to thinking about yesteryears and the wonders of my youth. I am not totally positive, but I think writing about the vision of the world I grew up in has won the moment.

My father made a beneficial professional move from American Falls, Idaho, to Long Beach, California, I was just starting my 10th year of life so I joined with my mother and sister in this family relocation.

As any who have had a sans agency relocation in their lives will readily attest, even if the move is from a windy wintery gorge along the Snake River to a sunny/beach hamlet on the Pacific Ocean, it is still troubling and traumatic.

In the few lonely weeks before school started, I found the local Bixby Branch Library and became a rabid reader of biographies based on the heroes of our nation. Just a few of the people I remember reading about were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Davey Crockett, Eli Whitney, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Franklin D. Roosevelt along with a whole library shelf of the orange hard bound hero histories.

There have been many moments during my life when the unsophisticated, simplistic words of these heroes I read about as a young boy, have been revealed to have had warts and failings by authors telling the real story.

I am not sure my world is better because the king’s nakedness has been revealed.

While we were in Long Beach, we lived in a quiet neighborhood where all the streets were name after trees. Halloween was a delightful day celebrated with costumes and candy. Most of the costumes we wore were of fairy book characters or sports heroes. Once you arrived at the age of 10 or if you had a brother or sister who was of that age, parents never accompanied you on your race through the neighborhood with you pillowcase dragging behind. (Taking a pillowcase was mostly just an indicator of hopefulness, because the candy we collected would have easily fit in a lunch sack.) Upon returning home there was some bartering with siblings in an effort to expand on the supply of your favorites. I remember my mother and father enjoying some of their favorites from our stash, but I don't ever remember having them examine the loot to make sure it was safe.

I am not involved with what Halloween has evolved into in the technologically enlightened age of the 21st century, but if what I see reported as the celebratory rituals of today are accurate, I don't feel a great loss. Costuming has become a contest in how creative gruesomeness can be portrayed. My zombie must be scarier than yours. My bloody characterization of a slaughtered and mutilated face and body must be more horrifying than yours. Even my fairytale representations have to be more revealing than yours. Neighborhoods are patrolled by police and parents watch every step their children take as they go from store to store in a well-lighted mall. Candy must be collected in a pumpkin designed by Gucci. No child is allowed to eat anything which is not triple safety wrapped and anything homemade or fresh will be thrown in the garbage can before entering the house. The booty which remains will be taken to a hospital to be x rayed and then and only then will I be able to have one piece of candy before going to bed. As the one piece of candy per day limit continues, by Thanksgiving the remaining goo is sent to the same fate the apples and brownies went to on Halloween night.

I am not sure my world is better because Peter Pan has to glance away when Tinkerbell flies into the room.

If my father lived today and still had the same level of character and integrity he had when I was growing up in my parents’ home, I suspect he would think he had been transmitted to another world. Not only was the profane not used in polite society, but it was even indelicate to speak of a women’s condition in mixed company or when children were present. It was a time when your word was a bond and trust was the foundation of all relationships. It was a day when we expected leaders to be examples of morality, people who would seek for the common good for the majority of the populace.

I don't have room in this thought to enumerate all the things which would shock my father if he were thrust back into our world today. (I don't even dare think about the list which my mother’s shocking’s would require.) I will venture to say that among the list would be the equal right women have acquired to be just as vulgar and profane as the proverbial dock worker. Also, the number of words required to safeguard any transaction, even among the best of friends. (I was about to say paper work required, but then I realized most of our words are now stored in cyber space.) Not far from the top of his list would be the state of leadership, where the loss of common sense is almost universal, being elected or retaining positions is more important than integrity, party line is more important than the welfare of the community and truth is what I say today, but not necessarily what I might say tomorrow. I guess if you really want to don the scariest costume this year you would have to be portraying a politician.

I am not sure my world is a better because censorship has become universally uncensored.

I know that the vision of the world I lived in when I was a lad is full of Pollyanna colorings and will easily be labeled, by those living in the sophisticated world of today, as unrealistic tripe. Never the less, I am grateful to still hold George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Davey Crockett, Eli Whitney, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Franklin D. Roosevelt in my memory as heroes in my mind. (This is one of the advantages of long term memory lingering while short term memory shortens.) I am grateful to have had my wonder year Halloween celebrations. I am grateful to have had parents who enlightened my mind with values such as integrity, honesty and proper use of words.

I am not sure the world is better because Happy Days has been replaced by Reality TV.

No comments:

Post a Comment