Hi! I’m glad you’ve decided to at least check out my latest attempts at scribbling down my thoughts. I am launching this new blog on the cusp of my 55th birthday. 55 years is a long time to be on this blue orb. I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot in that half-century plus. Not all of those sights and learnings have been good but I consider myself blessed to live in the greatest country in the world. The land of opportunity!
During the crazy year of 2020 and continuing into the thus far equally crazy 2021, I’ve spent countless hours finally going through through photographs left over from Mom & Dad’s house. Unbelievably, it’s been almost 8 years since Dad passed. The time has flown by. I’d always heard it said that you don’t feel old until you lose both of your parents. I can vouch for that. Still, going through the old pics and preparing to share them with family has made me nostalgic. Many of the pictures are from Mom & Dad’s youth and make me yearn to have lived my prime in a different era. Maybe in a time of post-war prosperity. Perhaps in a time of wooden boats and cool cars. A time when hunting and fishing were as normal a past time for people as Netflix is today. Then I find the pictures of my own childhood and realize how truly fortunate I have been. It was a rural childhood filled with good parents, friends, and family. There were pets of all sorts, fishing, boating, hunting, trapping. I had it all outside my back door.
The pictures make me glad I am not a child today with the regimented sports and activities schedules, the constant hovering of helicopter parents, the worry of letting any child less than age 18 out of sight even for a moment for fear of a modern-day predator waiting around the corner to snatch them away or do them harm. Or the fear that said child will make a poor, life-altering decision once out of sight of the wisened parent. But I’m sure those same children, decades from now, will spend time viewing the pictures of their childhood and realize how fortunate they are as well. Hopefully it will be easier for them to go surf some obsolete website like Facebook then to have to spend hundreds of hours scanning paper photos and slides.
Every picture has several stories. There is the immediate story of the family members or activity the picture was meant to capture but over time, the viewer finds more stories. The place of the picture tells its own story taking us back to our childhood home as we remember small things. More stories can be found in the details. An old television with the rabbit ears for example, or forgotten childhood toys. But more subtly, as we look at those old pictures we see how life in America (and much of the world) was. Everything from tins of food stuffs, to household appliances, to that peek at a full service gas station in the background. Things like ferry boats, trolleys, and steam trains were used to meet daily transportation needs and weren’t just tourist destinations.
I wonder what today’s youth will think of pictures from their childhood and their parent’s youth? It probably isn’t a stretch to say that when my young niece is almost 60 she may fondly remember when people drove gasoline powered cars everywhere. Her grandkids will hardly believe her.
America has changed a lot in my 55 years and I’m sure those older than me can attest to dramatic change prior to that. Is it better? Worse? Just different? I don’t know. My hope for this blog is to start looking around at America again and see if she is still there as we once knew her. Or is it time to redefine what “Being an American” is. I’ll share what I find and hope for reasonable, civil discourse whether we agree or not.