Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?



                                                Something for Everybody


Yeah, I remember them good ol’ days before obesity, before we had to wear seat-belts, and helmets.  When state law meant every kid had to go to school (no home schooling then) and every kid learned how to read, ‘rite and do ‘rithmetic by the third grade.  It was a time  when we could buy a gun without any red tape, and when we trusted politicians and loved doctors. 

It was a time when divorce was scarce and out of  a thousand kids in high school, only one girl had a baby, without marriage.  Only drug in the house was aspirin and kids didn’t use drugs—or at least it wasn’t cool to do so.  No TV to worry us about climate change, wars or the economy. It was a time when soldiers back from WWII didn’t commit suicide. I know, I could go on and on about those Good Ol’ Days, but instead I think I’ll answer some of the above.

About the lack of obesity way back then; first off, most of us were so poor we couldn’t afford much food.  Second, if they had served the huge portions that they do now, we’d probably have been even more huge than people today. 

I hate seat belts.  Every time I strap myself in I think, “Geez, if I’m willing to die in a car crash, why can’t I?”  Every morning when I lock myself into my seat I think, “I hate being unable to move.” But gotta do it for the insurance company. Then again, I have to take everything I said about seat belts and helmets back. Helmets saved my kid’s brains and maybe, life when he fell off a motorcycle.
About every kid learning to read by the third grade;  if we didn’t we were in for some pretty severe punishment.  No lolly-gagging or ADHD here. “

“You looking for a beating, kid?”


“Well, don’t let me hear you’re too dumb to learn to read.  Are you a retard?

I don’t want any retards in this family.”

Plus, with no TV, no Internet and one movie a week—comic books, novels, magazines, etc., were the only form of  entertainment.  You had to read.  Few people had guns then, so there was no need for red tape or gun control.  My Dad had rifles for hunting.  A hand gun for self Protection???? 

Protection?  From what or whom?

We trusted our  politicians, but  then we didn’t have the media portraying every little misstep of our politicians and blowing it up to be a grand crime or corruption. This about our politicians now.

“Does he have a few screws loose?”

“Yeah, he thinks he’s Roy Rogers—or Gene Autry.”  (Both singing cowboys.)

“He sings.”

“Yeah, he’ll sing on his way to the hoosegow.“

Divorce was rare because what else could a woman do if she and her kids wanted to eat?  Couples endured marriage because divorce was such an unacceptable thing to do.  Several elderly women have told me, “divorces are a blessing now.  The best thing that happened to women. 

When we were young a woman with a baby and no marriage—forget it—she was ostracized, totally banned.  She was dismissed as loving ‘not wisely’ but ‘too well.’ I didn’t even dare talk to this one girl in high school who’d had, what was referred to as an illegitimate baby. Single women who have babies today are accepted and helped.  Today 40% of all babies are born to single mothers. Some schools even have nurseries for the babies so their mothers can finish school.  

As for drugs.  The drugs we had, then were cod liver oil, castor oil, and patent medicine that had 40% concentration of ethyl alcohol and some vegetable flavoring. Unlike today’s drugs where we have antibiotics, vaccines, anti-anxiety, blood pressure meds, etc., —well the list is endless. Today’s drugs are sought after by every doctor’s patient.

And while we could brag about our soldiers coming home from WWII, and quickly getting their life together.  We only had the local newspaper, and sometimes the radio for information  and they wouldn’t mention such a thing as post traumatic stress then.

So a few more reasons why life is so much better today.  Not only do we have all this technology, but kids have higher self-esteem, whether that’s good or bad I don’t know—time will tell. But it sure feels better than have what every mother referred to as her kid’s “Inferiority Complex.”  Inferiority complex was a common term then—at least for women.

My generation thought, “The Great Society” programs would eliminate poverty.  Hah.  Were we ever wrong. 

They say the invention of the printing press brought about the greatest changes the world had every known—that it made our culture what it is.  Will the computer do the same? 

But even without the computer we are so much luckier today.  We have Social Security, unemployhment insurance, food banks, food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, Medicare and Medicaid, etc. 

So complain as we may about our country today, remember it could be a lot worse.  I know.  I was there and it was. 



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