CAN YOU IMAGINE?
Borne in the mid-thirties, I feel fortunate that I am among those of America’s last innocent generation.
For all we didn’t have, compared to what the children of today have, I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything.
Can you imagine a ten year old boy yelling to his mother three floors above, “Hey, Ma, I’m going to the park with the guys!”
Can you imagine yelling to your ten year old son, three floors below, “Okay, but come home when the street lights go on!”
Can you imagine?
No fear of kidnapping! No fear of rape, murder or dismemberment!
“Dismemberment?” This was an unknown word.
Can you imagine a time when children actually feared retribution when they were “bad”. When they feared – not necessarily in this order – retribution from their mother or father, the police – whom they did not look upon as enemies – and, when they were really “bad”, eventual retribution from God.
Can you imagine a time when two boys might have a fist fight, then shake hands and walk away as friends?
Can you imagine a time when children – for those of us living in cities – actually went outside to play, “It” or “kick the can” or “higher than the ground” or baseball or touch football in the alley... without fear of a lunatic going out of his way to run them down, or a gang member shooting them?
Can you imagine living in a time when only the wealthy had a refrigerator and a twenty-five or fifty pound block of ice would be carried into your home being held on the shoulder of a man by steel tongs, to be placed into your “ice box”?
“Ice Box!” Can you imagine?
Can you imagine living in a time when fruit or vegetables would be purchased – in sun or snow – from peddlers traveling the streets and alleys on horse drawn wagons.
Can you imagine a time when the telephone in your living room had a locked coin box where a nickel had to be deposited before the operator – a real live operator – would take the number you were calling.
Can you imagine a time before television?
Can you imagine laying on the floor listening to your favorite radio shows using your brain to imagine... to actually see the verbally drawn picture of The Lone Ranger and his great white stallion, Silver.
Can you imagine a time when a teen-age girl didn’t know the word “penis” and a teen-age boy didn’t know the word “vagina”.
Can you imagine a time when the king of all swear words, “fuck” was not a common part of our language and was uttered only when adults were not within hearing.
"99.44 % Pure”: Ivory Soap. The soap of choice of mothers for washing out the mouths of their children if ever – forget the word “fuck” – they uttered a dirty word such as “damn” or, can you imagine, “I’m going to wash your mouth out !” when they “talked back.”
Can you imagine a time when the most mysterious thing in the world was the opposite sex?
Can you imagine a time when children had roll-models that were not body pierced, tattooed, drugged out rock and rollers or derogating rappsters.
Can you imagine a time when as a people we loved America and the burning of our flag was an unknown, unimaginable desecration?
Can you imagine a time when we were not so acclimated to a new daily horror that we could actually feel pain or sorrow.
Some may say I’m living in the past. Some may say I’m idealistic and uninformed. Yes! Some may say that. But I wouldn’t trade places with today’s generation for anything.
Return to the days of ice boxes... No way!
Return to the days before television... No way!
Return to the days before all the wonderful inventions and innovations that enrich our lives... No way!
Return to the days of respect, honor, patriotism... Oh, yeah! You bet!
Unfortunately for America and America’s last innocent generation, our innocence ended on November 22, 1963 on a sunny day in Dallas Texas.