HOW TO GET SICK WITH THE PAST

I know this is an age cohort thing. It could not be anything else. Why would seemingly normal people become entranced with the past? Why is the past now from 1954 to 1957? I guess that would be because many of my friends and acquaintances graduated from high school during those years. Does that mean that the most important years in their lives happened in the year that they graduated from high school? Does it mean that the singular event in their lives was going to the Senior Prom ( or not going as the case may be). How can it be that there are so many websites and Youtubes about those years? Is there someone in the darkness of his/her basement turning out tons of pictures of girls with hoopskirts and 1957 Chevys?

These images are attached to words that worry me. “ Things were so much better and simpler then.” “ You pretty much knew what to expect of life.” “ You could get a gallon of milk for 25 cents.” “There wasn’t all of this trouble in the world.” “People got along with each other.” These sentiments worry me. I am sure that the older folks in 1955 said the same exact things. However, they did not have the Internet to espouse those views. Sometimes, I think that my age cohort thinks by talking about how things used to be are making life decisions based on how we are someday going to go backwards in time.
If 1955 was such a great year, would we all like to go back to it? It was at the height of the Cold War. China had just completed its conquest of all of the islands off its shores and threatened to blow Formosa out of the sea. Congress authorized President Eisenhower to defend Formosa ( now Taiwan). The U.S. intervened in guess where- Iran. Emmett Till, a fourteen year old African American was murdered because he had not shown respect for a white woman. We still had to put our religion on applications for a job ( consequently I did not get a job at a bank and my friend, who lied, did).

It is not necessary to go through a litany of bad things that happened in those years. Women were certainly not where they are today. Minorities were treated unfairly in all aspects of our society. Maybe business is more on the square than it is today and maybe it wasn’t. There was no investigative reporters from CNN hanging around in those days. Government was much more hidden and could do all sorts of things without us knowing about it. The first contingent of “advisors” was sent to Vietnam in 1955.

Or maybe you really don’t want to know what is happening. Is it possible that the overload of information is really what you are talking about? Would you rather spend your “Golden Years” sheltered from all of the negative news? If that is really what you want, shut off your computer, your t.v. and satellite radio ( other than the 50’s channel) and go out to eat at the early bird special.

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