A Little Learning Goes a Long Way

What we thought we knew . . .

Evolution of our planet seems to be happening at warp speed, and in a sense, it very likely is.

I was thinking back on my own life and the values people held vs. the values we hold today. People, families especially, seemed to be one of the most important values any of us had. We had just come out of one war, and would soon enter another one, and then still another one through my own lifetime.

I have been mourning the loss of what once seemed it would last forever. Those long summer nights when we children could play safely out in the neighborhood streets and parents never had to worry about where we were, or whether we might perhaps become victims of human trafficking. The thing we played with first and foremost was using our minds to create fantasies such pretend forts or capture of the enemies, or “Red Rover.” Then we had boxes, which played a multitude of roles. Bicycles and skates and going swimming in the summer were big thrilling activities. And at Christmas, we got such simple but yet such beloved gifts – a B B gun for boys, or perhaps a new collectible doll for a girl.

TV was new and it was a thing that was already changing the family sitting down together for dinnertime. Instead, people sat around with TV trays, ate TV dinners, and no one was sharing the events of the day. I remember the family sitting around the TV, entranced by the amazing wonder of the Test Pattern. Families had only black and white, and I think it was later in my life when color TV came into being.- It was the age of “things.”

Young people called Marijuana “Mary Jane,” and in our youth we avoided those people as bad people. Getting high meant taking an aspirin and swallowing it with Coca Cola, and then spinning around until we fell down. We went to school and had really healthy lunches, and no one had to be shamed if they did not have one. They just got in line with everyone else and got a filling lunch. Teachers could make us write something on the board 100 times if we were bad, or have us sit in the corner with a Dunce Hat, or chewing gum on our noses. And they could even hit our hands if we did something wrong (or use paddles on our bums). And if we did something unthinkable like throwing spitballs, we might get sent to the dreaded office. That meant our parents would be notified, and we might even get “grounded.”

But things were changing. Parents didn’t talk about marital problems such as domestic violence or abuse of children. No one went to a psychologist; it was the psychiatrists who dealt with problems based on strange theories that not many understood. Only society’s very well-to-do went to them. Women really did not talk to each other about things that were private to their families. Perhaps some families went to their priests or their pastors, but we never heard or read about those things.

Suddenly, people were going to Space, and just as suddenly, we were frightened of nuclear power. Families everywhere were building bomb shelters, and we endlessly practiced in school how to duck under our desks in the event of a bomb. Suddenly your next door neighbors you had known for years were suspicious of you and not open to having you see the insides of their bomb shelters. There were these people called Communists, and we did not exactly know who they were, but they were people to be feared. More and more people were identified as those horrible Communists, and then they had to face having hearings on TV, that place we had once thought something so simple and so fun. Now it was full of things no one really understood, and they spoke of those people in whispers within a family, but not shared outside. We really did not know WHO to trust anymore.

And today, here we sit, almost with the same amount of fear of things not seen, but believed. Things we cannot understand, so we fear those things. And suddenly we are grasping to hold onto things that make about as much sense as ducking under our desks or building bomb shelters.

Life is moving way too fast with way too many things going on all at once, bombarding our senses as they did before, but now with warp speed unseen in our lifetimes. One day we hear a scary word that none of us understand and the next day it is killing people all over the world. Should we hide under our desks, fear everyone anywhere near us, or perhaps even kill them because they have more of something they believe will save them than we do?

Will we ever see life as it once was again, or was it simply that we we never really learned anything of lasting value in the time we have been here? How far will a little learning take us?

8 thoughts on “A Little Learning Goes a Long Way

  1. Your entry here is acceptable. I was interested in many points you raised. I’d had similar sympathy to events that have gone on out of the average individual’s control, but I admired how you were able to write about those kinds of events with such substance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Anne. I walked through almost all of the events you described. I think the difference today is the internet and social media where we have almost instant access to everything that’s happening in the world. If this bug had happened 40 years ago, life would have proceeded as normal and we would have been unaware of the consequences. But things change and we just let the next generation get on with it the best way they can….as we did.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have commented many times that this feels like wartime, with rationing, people staying home, and worry. Yet, wartime brought about many wonderful things, including the return to values and the appreciation of what is most important. I think in some ways this pandemic is forcing people back to the roots of appreciating family, values, nature, and the simple things in life. You have taken your readers on a walk through time and all the changes that pulled us away from values. We are at a crisis, and I believe we’ll emerge all the better for it. Best to you, Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. we must be of a similar age: I remember all those things you do and, yes, covid-19 is the latest we have to contend with; though there are silver linings: nations are not warring with each other, pollution is way down, and climate change will decelerate and the pace of life is slower 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Probably the best post I’ve read on comparisons of life then vs. life now. We all wish we’d go back to the old times. Definitely minus the war and the war after. Those days were golden. I lived through the last bits of it before this new one and I’m so glad I have memories, though not as remarkable as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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