With school out, memories flood back
How quickly time goes by. I think many of us look at our newly graduated family members and ask ourselves, "Where did the time go?" Graduation time always spurs my mind into all those "long agos" that make up the memories in my mind. And now, it is summertime again, which holds so many memories and was a wonderful time for me many years ago.
I remember the days when summer rolled around and school was out. Once a week, at 7 o'clock in the morning I would haul out the old rotary lawn mower and cut our lawn. To mow the terrace or hill in our front yard in Denver, I had to cut down halfway, then from the bottom up to be able to get it all cut. I thought it was like a mountain, but when we drove by years later, it really was not as high as I remembered.
In the afternoons, the neighborhood kids got out their roller skates and away we would go as we rolled around the city block's paved sidewalks. We never had skates until we earned them from collecting ice cream milk-nickel bar wrappers at City Park. No one used the trash barrels, for which we were grateful at that time. Then we mailed in all those wrappers for the promised skates, and when they came, they even included a key to tighten them to our shoes.
We had lots of races also, and I am happy to say the meanest boy in the block, Donnie, said to me, "You can sure run fast for a girl." And yes, I think I might have been a track star if girls had the same opportunities then as now. But that was a long time ago, and I can dream, can't I?
Then quickly the summer passed and off we went to school again about four blocks from home. I only had one new outfit my mother sewed. I did look spiffy as I walked out the back metal gate, down the alley and up the four blocks to our grade school. I still know exactly what it looked like: the stairs I climbed, and even the playground, and of course the inside of school. My sister, brother and I never had a lot of clothes to choose from each day either. Those were the days of the "Dirty '30s," but we didn't have the dust the Plains had to contend with. Our country still was trying to recover from the Great Depression, and I wish now I had asked more questions, but adults did not often talk about hard times. They just "made do."
We never knew we were poor either. We just had what we had and never thought other than that was enough. Even years later, we used what we had learned as children. If we did not have the money, we did not buy whatever it was we wanted. And we saved. Now it is written more money is spent than what is earned. Time has changed. Nowadays, it seems the world is different.
I think we always had someone who was the "bully" to other kids. But we did not have those technological devices that can send words that hurt even more than a tripping foot on the playground. Age-old values of "love your neighbor as yourself" really were practiced and believed, and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" truly is the Golden Rule and makes us more than rich.
So many other changes have come about that do not foster health and happiness. Many programs on television sure are not the place to learn how to live a happy productive life either. Well, that might be preachy, but it is not only a change from what I remember as we gathered around the radio and listened to "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy" or "Fibber McGee and Molly." Many of the programs are sure an unwelcome change to me and a corrupted view of wholesome life. We are fortunate to have PBS, even though funding is fading.
Oh, well, I have my memories of the "Good Old Days," and I don't even care if that makes me sound old or even ancient. I treasure what I have experienced, and when I think of all those who have contributed to my life, I am eternally grateful and thank the good Lord.
The song below says it so well. Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote the lyrics, and Marvin Hamlisch the music to this song, which was recorded by Barbra Streisand in 1973 for the movie, "The Way We Were."
"Memories, light the corners of my mind; misty watercolor memories of the way we were. Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind, smiles we give to one another for the way we were. Can it be that it was all so simple then or has time rewritten every line? If we had the chance to do it all again tell me, would we? Could we? Memories, may be beautiful and yet what's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget. So it's the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were."
God Bless America!
Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.