When I was young, my parents told us kids that Labor Day was a day set aside for families to labor together. Clever spin. Every year, on the first Monday of September, we were awakened early to start a day of cleaning out the garage… or weeding the garden… or scrubbing floors… or canning peaches… or whatever.
Funny thing—even after all these years…
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Did you catch Paul McCartney’s double performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards? After he finished, Twitter exploded. No, not with messages from praise-gushing fans. Confused twitterers tapped out: Who is this guy? and He sure is old to be starting out! and Must not be much. Never heard of him.
I really didn’t need another thing to make me feel old. Just last week I reviewed a manuscript from a fellow much younger than I. He said that when he was in high school he wanted to go on a mission trip to Russia but his parents said absolutely not. “You can go on a trip,” they told him, “but not to a communist country. It’s too dangerous.” So he showed them another possibility—a trip to the Middle East. “Okay,” they said. “That’s a good, safe place.”
How times change! And how times change us.
Welcome to 2012~
“People change and forget to tell each other.”
Okay, folks, I just got another of those Good Old 1950s nostalgia lists:
- Gallon of gas: 18 cents
- New ’58 Chevrolet Corvette: $3631
- Men’s All Wool Suit: $28.90
- Cotton Dress: $3.29
- Rib Roast: 29 cents per pound
- 1 carat Diamond ring: $399.00
- New house cost: $10,450.00
Well, I remember the 50s.
- We had air raid drills where we kids practiced hiding under our desks to protect us from an atomic bomb attack.
- We wore dog tags to school so our dead bodies could be identified.
- We couldn’t swim in public pools for fear of polio.
- We were terrified of communists
- Everyone smoked their lungs into charcoal
- Sexual harassment in the workplace was the norm
- Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man
- Martin Luther King, Jr. led the civil rights movement, and he and his followers were persecuted mercilessly
- Average income: $3,425
Good old days? Hmmm…
The truth is, every era has its good and its bad, its triumphs and its frustrations. Instead of succumbing to the myth of “the good old days,” let’s make the here and now “the good these days.”
“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”
I was awakened at 5:30 a.m. by the faint boom… pop… bang… of fireworks. Yep, at 5:30! Got me to remembering:
- The year my husband and I nestled together on the White House lawn and watched the most spectacular fireworks of all time.
- The time we went to Hawaii on my husband’s birthday and I cooked a special dinner in our condo and served it on the lanai. Unbeknown to me it was a special Hawaiian day, and just as we started to eat, a beautiful fireworks display lit up the sky. My husband said with awe, “You planned this for me?”
- The olden days (as my kids used to say) when home fireworks were commonplace. My dad used to bring home a bunch of sparklers and those worms that expand when you light them and pinwheels and small rockets, and he’d shoot them off in the street right there in South San Francisco.
At 6:00 a.m., I thanked God for the USA, and prayed for its future. At 7:00 I kissed my husband and told him how much I love him. At 8:00 I called my dad and said “Thanks, Pop, for so many great memories!”
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863