Is it me or Has Everyone on Planet Earth Lost Their Mind?
It’s pretty well accepted we are born into one world and leave another.
Although this has always been the case, I believe Baby Boomers are leaving the strangest world yet.
It’s truly amazing that anyone born shortly after World War II spends a great deal of time talking about how different life was back then and it’s been my experience my generation is quite confused by the insanity which we have suddenly found ourselves a part.
This planet is bats..t crazy.
After the war America was suddenly in a new world position. We were the cowboys in the white hats that had swept in and saved the planet from the bad guys. We were Gary Cooper and John Wayne combined and had cleaned up Dodge City.
The evil axis had been destroyed and now life was moving forward with a whole new attitude except…
Yep, even as a child I remember there were problems to deal with.
Russia and China. Okay, sounds familiar right?
I guess some things never change. We took cover in the school basements to protect from atom bombs. Heard tests of air raid sirens and watched as neighbors dug holes in their back yards to build fallout shelters.
To say I was terrified of Red China would be an understatement. But I’m twice as scared now.
Politics aside and that’s where they should stay, childhood was an amazing time in America.
The fifties were filled with exciting new inventions like television and telephones in every home, and all kinds of new gadgets.
I remember my first HiFi. Wow, and even those little red record center fillers for 45s seemed high tech to us.
We thought the world was a really cool place. Between the Mickey Mouse Club and American Bandstand we felt such a part of everything.
We played outside until the streetlights came on, walked to the corner to purchase penny candy like licorice records and wax lips and the latest comic books; my friends and I just lived for those Archie Annuals. Then we would carry our treasured comics home in a bag with our sunflower seeds and candy to read and share the rest of the day.
Life was so simple and so amazing. Of course we were kids so there was no real awareness of problems that plagued our parents; and that’s the point isn’t it. Our parents tried to keep us unaware of the difficult issues of the times. Unaware that polio was sweeping the nation even as we happened to pass the TV and see a picture of a scary iron lung that might have given us nightmares.
We didn’t pay any attention to politics, which is why we grew up healthy and normal.
When politics finally entered the picture so did protests, drugs, death and confusion.
We played games like jump rope, hopscotch, monopoly and Mr. Potato Head, and of course Operation.
My friends and I cut movie star pictures out of magazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen and then traded them like baseball cards.
We chewed the bubble gum and saved the baseball cards and boy do I wish I still had some of those cards today.
We rode our bikes everywhere and after school the neighborhood kids played baseball or football in the street. We spent the day roller-skating up and down the block with our skate key around our neck on a ribbon. Then happily ran inside to get our money when we heard the Good Humor truck ring its bell.
We knew our neighbors and we acted respectfully toward everyone.
In the winter we put on our snowsuits, boots, scarves and gloves and braved the walk to school, then home again for lunch, then back again, then finally home to sit in front of the TV watching the few channels playing our favorite shows. We were terrified of our teachers and being sent to the principal’s office was tantamount to as bad as it gets.
We walked to the movie theatre on Saturdays to watch a double feature or a matinee of fun flicks like The Blob, I was a Teenage Werewolf or Gidget.
We ate Oreos for an after school snack with a large glass of cold milk and at dinnertime we all sat together at the kitchen table, eating and discussing the day.
Bedtime was bedtime and we couldn’t stay up except on Tuesday night when I got to stay up later to watch Milton Berle, probably the first drag queen before we ever knew what a drag queen was. Most nights I would listen to my cool, new clock radio until I fell asleep.
Our fathers pushed the lawn mower around the grass on Sundays after a brunch filled with favorite foods.
To shop on Saturdays we hopped on a bus and went downtown to big department stores. We felt so grown up when we got to eat lunch in the dining room where stores like Hudson’s featured kids meals.
We could hang out at the record store for hours, then go home and play a new favorite singing and dancing around the living room practicing the newest steps.
We knew the names of everyone on Bandstand, what Soupy Sales was having for lunch the next day and that Hi Yo Silver meant a guy in a black mask and his faithful companion Tonto would soon be riding in to clean up the town. We watched Sky King and Fury on Saturdays and never noticed that the scenery on Star Trek was made up of Christmas lights.
We were incredibly innocent and Lord do I wish I still were.
I feel badly that children today are being subjected to politics and brainwashing and sadly losing their youth to political agendas.
There is a lot to be said for being protected from the hardships of life unless and until one is forced to face them.
It was different times and Baby Boomers shared a bond those programs provided. To this day “Yo Rinty” is a call to which every one our age responds.
Sure, some might say I’m coloring the past with an overly optimistic brush. Perhaps, but from the reaction of my friends when I wax nostalgic and they jump in with their own fond memories, I think not.
I look around this strange, insane world and am reminded someone once said ignorance is bliss; I choose to believe it’s actually a blessing.