I’ve wondered at times what it was about the 1950s and 1960s that allowed those two decades to dominate the nostalgia market during almost all the late 20th Century. In a lot of ways it just doesn’t make sense.
Sure, we had a better music, rhythm and blues, wailing ballads of quality country ad western, and all that new frontier of rock and roll at its birth. Songs we knew well enough to sing along, or alone as we rode down those roads before super-highways on used tires.
Old cars with personality, greasy hair, dandruff, acne and bad teeth. Parents and grandparents who went through the Great Depression and worked hard to assure we wouldn’t experience those kinds of difficult times.
Mostly at the time it was in the world around us and I don’t recall being all that happy about all the other crap that came with it. Constant brink of war sf a sort that it’s better not to remember. Knowing when you turned 18 you’d have the draft hanging over your head. And a lot of bullying everywhere you turned.
If you worked doing farm work the farmers and ranchers who hired you felt a moral obligation to shout and verbally abuse the workers anytime they got within earshot. Construction jobs? You’ve never seen bullying and abuse that could compete with a construction foreman. It was there on the school playgrounds, on the streets, anywhere people happened to be.
And mostly nobody much said a word. It just went with being alive.
Our little farm was just across the railroad tracks on the ‘Mexican’ side of town. When I was in the first and second grade I walked home from school the same way several ‘Mexican’ kids walked. I was smaller than them, anglo, and outnumbered. They started just by yelling insults, but gradually it worked up they’d chase me with sticks or throwing rocks at me.
There came a day I was running home just in front of them, arrived with my mother on the front porch. They gathered on the dirt road in front of the house, still shouting and throwing rocks.
“Get out of here you little Mescin bastards!” She ran down off the porch waving the broom. “I’ll twist your heads off and shove them up your butts!” She never got close to catching them, but they were off.
Then she came back where I was waiting on the porch and smacked me upside the head with the broom so hard it broke the handle. Grabbed me by the collar and proceeded to beat my backside with the handle fragment. “If I ever see you running away from a fight again you’d better not set foot in this house!”
When my step-dad got home she told him, and it was off to the back porch with his belt. But at least he followed that up a bit later by teaching me to fight.
I don’t know what these kids today are going to have to feel nostalgia about. Maybe some of them will have similar memories or they’ll just remember all the computer games and hum rap music to themselves and smile.
But you can almost bet when they reach 50 or so they’ll be rallying around the flag and trying to elect candidates who promise to make America great again. The way it is today.
I was born on Valentines Day back in 1943 and WW2 was still going on. My Mom raised me by her self until the end of the war. So, I was in school and had to do those “duck and cover” drills. Yep, I am that old.
Good to know there’s someone else in the vicinity who started school in the first half of the 20th Century. Becoming a rare species, we are. Old Jules
Reblogged this on Seven Spheres and commented:
Taking the good out of the old days, or maybe it was just a different struggle?
I recall a southern woman with a miniature Yorkshire Terrier. She was telling me how the Dow used to cower and shake before it got hit by her. Bothe her and her husband were disgusted because their little dog in her words was ” a coward!…very shameful indeed and she was totally ignorant of who the shame belonged to!
Honestly I’m glad my mom impressed it on me that way at that tender age. In that town and in that time a kid couldn’t afford to be labelled a coward. Better to get hell beaten out of you in fights a few times and discover it just isn’t that big a deal. But, of course, it meant I grew up getting in fights, all the way into adulthood and some later. A few Assault and Battery stays in jail as a young man. But I can’t imagine who I’d have turned out to be if I hadn’t learned early not to run from a fight.
There is a point usually where the strong shrug away from grinding the meek into the dust! That ignorant woman was confused at best and she was a social led Christian woman! More like a satanism worshipper if you ask me!
I’m not so sure satanism is all that big a deal: https://sofarfromheaven.com/2013/10/01/good-solid-evil-just-isnt-that-easy-to-come-by/
When a person honestly examines the past, nostalgia is far overrated.
Yes. Old Jules
This is chilling. The violence we experienced as kids, along with the bullying and terror at ducking under desks and my dad digging a fallout shelter under our house while he wielded his fists and belt – good lord. Go back to that? I didn’t have the draft hanging over me, thank god, but I had body cavities that were always being threatened by men who would overpower women just because they could. And there was no one we could tell.
Is this a great country, or what? Gracias, Old Jules
Do you actually think today’s generation will be concerned about making our country great again when they hit 50? Perhaps if they can do it while using whatever gizmo is popular by then.
I think it would be difficult for them to come up with a measure they could all agree about insofar as it being ‘great’ in the first place isn’t likely. If great means big, I think we’re as likely as big as we’ll get. If it means rich, well, that too. If it means something about all those ‘freedoms’ our founders spoke of in lofty terms, the greatness depended a lot on who was trying to exercise the freedom. I wouldn’t presume to advise anyone about how to make it great ……. I’m nowhere nearly smart enough for that one. Old Jules
I’ve honestly always had to laugh at the “Make America Great Again” crap because I honestly can’t look back to a time it was truly “great”. It has always functioned off the backs of oppression and war. Without holding someone else down and to blame, who are we then? Without identity I would guess, but definitely not great. Maybe my definition of greatness is just different. I enjoyed your post.
It was certainly great to be in the only country with nuclear weapons in the wake of WWII when all the competition had their industries and infrastructures bombed the bejesus out of. But I don’t know how we can bring that about again. Gracias, Old Jules
Being fortunate enough to have the ability to desolate an entire country and prevent our own destruction was lucky for US inhabitants, but didn’t make the country great, didn’t make its people great. Ya know?
Nope. But it adopted a disguise as greatness during the celebrations of the end of the war I reckons. Gracias, Old Jules