Quieter Times

Times were quieter while I was growing up.  There were not hoards of people screaming about their rights and waving poster boards with messages scrawled with markers over their heads for any reason that suited any group of people.  

Although I am not sure when this method of communication began to be common, perhaps it was with the civil rights protests which began in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. Some of my friends joined the throngs as the shouting and marching went on through the Capitol Mall. I listened to their stories over cups of tea in Dick Foy’s apartment or as Edna and I drove around town in her little green Triumph Spitfire convertible. I never felt compelled to participate.

It has been 22 years since my father passed on and I remember that we often sat and talked about life in general.  One of his observations was that this country would go down in history as the most violent of countries.  He had never even heard of or seen news reports of mass shootings.  

The violent loss of one child brings me to tears.  Such sick behavior would have infuriated my father.  We don’t need a war here, we are killing ourselves, foolishly and thoughtlessly.

It has long been my belief that had these killers and those who have nothing more constructive to do than join throngs demanding attention and self satisfaction, were not raised with a respect for themselves or others, nor a healthy understanding of right versus wrong.  

From early childhood I spent every spare moment drawing or studying the stamp collection my father passed down to me from his own childhood.  

There were neighborhood friends and school friends.  My parents were always glad to have us tearing around our fair sized yard playing childhood games.  We wore thin the front yard with games of tag and hide and seek, catching fire flies in our hands. 

My father never complained that he had to re-plant the front yard when it got too bad.  That was in his spare time, after his full time job at General Electric and his part time job repairing radios, televisions and record players for the neighborhood clients in his workshop in our basement.

Many years ago I read a book by Saul Bellows called Henderson, The Rain King in which the main character, Eugene Henderson, was constantly in pursuit of fulfilling his multiple appetites.  He almost went crazy with “I WANT! drumming through his head…. and I wonder if this is not a common thread running through our current society driving people to the edge and committing what would never have even occurred to earlier generations.


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