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They really were the best of times

By Rick Houser – 

Last night a friend of mine and I were talking about things we had done in the past. Some were more recent than others and it seemed that we kept going back more and more years and as we thought of things further and further back my friend Barry smiled at me and said, “You know there isn’t a time in my life that I can think of that wasn’t a good time.” As Barry said that, I took a quick look back and had to agree with him.
Since we are baby boomers we grew up in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Going from a child to an adult, starting families, and taking on this world in full force we handled with maybe the greatest success of any generation before or since. Our conclusion was that we grew up in possibly the best of times and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
The country had triumphed over two world wars and a military conflict with a depression unlike anything this country had ever seen and hopefully will never see again. It is safe to say the world has changed now, almost to a point of non-recognition.
Telephones were mounted on the wall and had a crank to turn to get the operator and have her find the party who you wished to speak to. After that, phones went to a rotary dial and we advanced to dialing our own numbers for whom we wished to reach. As high tech as we thought this was, please look at your cell phone. No comparison.
When my age group began school, polio was still crippling and killing children at a rate too great to think of. But before we reached the third grade, this awful disease was whipped,
The majority of homes had electric and television where we could see family shows like “Ozzie and Harriet “and “Leave it to Beaver”, shows that taught us weekly how children should behave and set examples for us to follow.
We went from AM radio with only WSAI as the channel for rock and roll to FM where many channels focused their formats to my generation. Every section of life was advancing to newer and better products to give us what was supposed to be easier living.
I still look back and can’t help but feel all that is new doesn’t always glitter. Don’t get me wrong. Things are definitely better but maybe we really weren’t looking for better. We grew up in a world where as a child we could run and play anywhere and everywhere and our parents never had to worry. Most homes didn’t have air conditioning and we never gave it a thought. My bicycle was very plain as it had no hand brakes or a light or horn but I thought it was great. Going through school and reaching high school we had learned to read from Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot. The math we were taught still works today and none of my generation needed new math to do so.
With high school in the 60’s, we enjoyed record hops and the restaurant across the street from the school. Going to basketball games was a happening thing to do. If nothing else, we loaded up in cars and cruised the town, over and over and over and over. To us, that was fun. Parents had their children doing chores and if we found a job, they didn’t object to us working to earn our own spending money. As the years passed, the world became materially improved but I felt we were still doing just fine, thank you.
After we graduated high school, some of us went to college and the rest of us went to work. Either way I feel we all looked forward to the challenges ahead as our generation felt they were ready to take it on. For the most part we all came out on top of whatever we were trying to accomplish. Even in the middle of our time to enter the world, our country was in Vietnam, a terrible conflict that some of us had to deal with and came back still on top of it all.
I know I have failed to cover much of the three best decades I feel a child could have grown up in. I look back at them and I truthfully can’t say I had a bad time. Look around your area and look at the people you know who grew up then and see how they are doing. I don’t mean just financially, but how they have done in their civic life and how they have enjoyed living their lives. Life isn’t just how well one has done in the financial world, but how rich a person is as a human being.
The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to me are the heart of the era known for the baby boomers. I have been blessed to have been raised in the rural part of our great country. Living where I did let me see a part of America that those who were raised in the large cities didn’t get to enjoy.
I know for a fact that the area and the folks where I’m from enjoyed their lives and they are thankful for all they did. Charles Dickens, a great author wrote in “A Tale of two Cities”, “They were the best of times and the worst of times.” I know for a fact that my generation did experience the best of times but I’m going out on a limb and say very few if any will say they were the worst of times. I will never regret one moment of my life because of where I began. It was the best!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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