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Front Page » February 5, 2008 » Opinion » So much for the supposed simpler times
Published 2,270 days ago

So much for the supposed simpler times


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

The next time someone says to me they wish for simpler times, I think I will blow my cool.

Last week a man at a gas station was talking to me and began rambling on about how much easier it was when things were clearer and easier to deal with in the 1950's.

I couldn't get away fast enough.

For me doing part of my growing up in the 1950's, things from a kids perspective were certainly easier. But from an adult point of view, looking back at what my parents, part of the greatest generation faced, I have to know that simpler is not the term to use.

Maybe the term should be different rather than simpler.

If you believe there were no drugs, no subversives, no war and no economic problems, you haven't looked at the truth. All I can tell you about is my personal experience and from what I saw things weren't simple.

My parents faced a world where McCarthyism flourished, people of a color other than white we always second class citizens, where the threat of atomic war loomed over the landscape daily, where economic downturns devastated communities just as much as they do today and where the accepted social system was changing as rapidly as a rabbit has litters of bunnies.

My dad worked seven days a week, 365 days a year from the 1920's through the 1960's. He got up at 4 a.m. each day to milk our dairy cattle and stayed at the barn until 7:30 p.m. at night cleaning up after the nightly milking. In between he plowed fields, hauled hay, fixed machinery, threshed grain, spread manure on corn fields and fed the multitude of animals on our farm. He got up in the middle of the night to take water turns, fend off critters that threatened the stock and to take care of sick cows. He did all this whether it was 106 degrees or 20 below zero. For this he never made more than $6,000 a year.

My mother took care of most everything else, because he was so busy. No wonder she didn't work outside the home; she didn't have time.

Through all of this they provided a great home for my sisters and I.

It wasn't simple and it never has been. Each generation faces their own challenges.

Looking back at your years as a kid or a teenager may be pleasant and nostalgic, but just remember if you felt secure and reasonably happy it was because someone else was taking on the complicated things in life for you.

It wasn't because the times "were simpler."


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