Friday, April 15, 2016

A PERSPECTIVE OF THE WORLD AFTER 60 YEARS OF LIFE.


     For those of you who don't know (and why would you?), on the 6th of April this year, I turned the big 6...0. Yeah, I can't believe it, I'm finally 60 years old and can still work circles around the current young bucks who believe they are hard workers! When we grew up, many a ditch was dug, post holes were dug, bricks and blocks were carried. mortar mixed, wheel barrows loaded, pushed and dumped. We were bull strong and knew you would get your head smacked if you let the brick mason run out of bricks, blocks or mortar and man did they work fast!

     I started reviewing the time periods I have lived. Yeah, there has been improvements in health care, technology, air conditioning and T.V.s. However, today's music sucks, and who would have thought rap would ever be popular. If you started that crap when I was growing up, we would have told you to write it down and take it to Composition Class and see if the teacher liked your poetry! Not all things that have been invented are positives. Outside was our video games. Playing baseball, basketball and all kinds of games. Riding our bikes and exploring the woods. If it was raining too hard to be outside, you raised the window, allowed the cool breeze to come through the screen and read a good book. 

     The cool kid on the block had the new Schwinn bike with a 5 speed stick shifter, and banana seat with a tall sissy bar. Now, the cool kid is the one who gets the new video game first and play it on a 60" t.v., as their brains turn to mush. These kids will never know the cool experience of exploring the woods, trip over something just to find it was an old tombstone in a long forgotten cemetery and see dates still visible from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. They will never sit down and get lost in books like: The Tunnel Through Time, Doc Savage, The Hardy Boys Mysteries, etc., or received your weekly allotment of the magazine named "Grit" and with your Grit magazines in your shoulder Grit carry pouch, go door to door and sell your magazines just to earn a couple of dollars per week. I smile when I think about me being a door to door salesman at 10 years old! My first real job was at the local 'Leepers' store, sorting soda bottles for the drink vendors for $.45 an hour, Yes, that's 45 cents an hour! I worked after school and part of the day on Saturday. I paid my tithes from the money, gave mom and dad a couple of dollars to help with the house and was just proud as could be of the jingle in my pocket!

     How about model cars? You couldn't wait to get your new model car home, with your tube of glue (yeah, it was the kind of glue that was banned because druggies started 'huffing it), your choice of little spray cans that your were going to paint your car and spread a few sheets of newspaper under it so your didn't get glue on mom's table. A good story from my childhood is a painful one as well. The church we attended had just been built ( and yes I had to carry bricks, blocks and mix mortar), so once the sheet rock was up, we were told that they needed us to go up in what was the attic and pack insulation. They hadn't started blowing it in back then. You opened a bag of insulation, poured out the contents and used a flat paddle on a stick to push the insulation tight against the previous insulation you had just packed. Well, I tried to stand up to get another bag, it was hot in the ceiling and I was sweaty. I slipped and fell through the ceiling, breaking two vertebrae in my back. While in the hospital, every knew I loved motorcycles, my mom, dad, and brothers came in to visit and brought me in the the best purchased gift I have ever received: A large box that was a Harley Davidson Electra-Glide model! I was ecstatic! See, it was something for me to be meticulous to bring a fantastic model to life!

     Yes, we also lived through the Korean War, Vietnam, and all the wars in the desert. There was Woodstock, hippies, The Beatles and all the other great bands domestic and from over the pond. Batman was played by Adam West, Robin by Burt Ward and drove that cool Batmobile! Saturday morning cartoons (that made sense), The Man From Uncle, The Time Tunnel. Man I could go on forever! Yes, I remember those times and am proud to be part of that generation! 

     Communism was a real problem, not just for those who lived under the tyranny,but for the world as a whole. Nuclear war was in the back of every one's mind, so much that we had drills how to hide under our desks (yeah, that would stop the blast!), how to line up and head to the fallout shelters and where in town all the fallout shelters were located. Kennedy was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and we went through a host of presidents, some with spines others who were jelly fish (yeah like the jelly fish that's in the White House right now). Men went from being the being men to being, well, to what is any one's guess. Women were 'Mom' and you knew the family environment. I'm not saying anything about women in the workplace. Times have changed and so has the cost to raise a family. I was just glad mom was home with a snack ready when I came home from school. 

     I have since been married to the love of my life for 38 years this September, raised two sons and have six beautiful grandchildren. No, life hasn't always been roses. There were good and bad times, and though dad did his best to put food on the table, soup beans and mashed potatoes were a staple as well as pasta dishes (hamburger and groceries were a lot more in line with what money we had, as well as stretched to cover a large family's appetite. I am proud of being who I was and still am. I didn't mind working hard and it carried over into my adult life and served me well. If you look back and are as happy as I am, you've lived well. Since growing up, I have lost my father to cancer and my middle brother Scott to fatty cirrhosis of the liver (he was a non-drinker). That comes with getting older. Seeing people you've known all your life start succumbing to time and health. 

     When I close my eyes for the last time, I hope there is a smile on my face! I couldn't have asked to grow up in a better family, had great friends, had a wonderful family of my own, and the memories, yeah, priceless!    
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