Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Good Old Days?

Sometimes this world is so ugly that I find it difficult to live in it. This weekend is one of those times. As a result, I have the tendency to romanticize earlier times as the “good old days.” I have often expressed the wish that I had been born several generations earlier.

But were things so good in years past? Were things good in the 1960’s? Well, maybe, if you didn’t think about the assassination of our President, his brother, and Dr. King. Things were good unless it was your son or daughter who was dropping acid or addicted to heroin. Times were okay if you could overlook Russian nuclear weapons trained on our nation from Cuba, 90 miles away. Things were good unless you lived in East Germany and wanted to escape to freedom over the Wall. Things were so insecure that we were encouraged to build fall out shelters in our back yards.

Were things good in the 1950’s? Well, I suppose they were unless you were African American and wanted to vote in the South or were a woman who wanted to be a physician. Things were good unless you were an abused child or spouse and couldn’t get help. The world was shiny and bright unless you were a rape victim who was made to feel shame instead of receiving justice. Things were terrific, all backyard bbq’s and Leave it to Beaver, unless you were wounded in the Korean War. Those warriors were largely ignored when they returned home and had almost no veteran’s services.

How about the 1930’s and 1940’s? I love aprons and cookbooks from way back then.  I scout out the lamps and furniture from this period at vintage stores. However, the world was facing the rise of a maniacal dictator, a world war, and the killing of millions simply because they were God’s chosen people.  

What about the1920’s? Wellllllll, promiscuity was rampant and Prohibition was giving birth to organized crime. We had just lost millions of men in World War I. The Roaring Twenties were okay unless you were one of the poor Jewish and Italian immigrant women who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City because the owners locked you in from the outside. This was a prosperous era unless you were taken advantage of by an unscrupulous Wall Street trader who encouraged investing on margin. Sound familiar?

Well maybe it was better in the romantic South where women who glowed and fanned themselves sipped iced tea on the verandah in beautiful white hoop skirts? Sure, those were the good old days unless you were among those individuals who thought it was okay with God to own other human beings…or you actually were one of those who were owned.

The “good old days” were only totally good in retrospect. We have faced violence, inhumanity, greed, prejudice, disease, immorality, fear, political infighting,hate speech, and uncertainty in every generation.

What is our only constant? God. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.”

Fear not, Jesus said. For I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.

And I say, be it.