"Let the word go forth from this day forward that the torch has been passed from one generation to the next" The eloquence of that opening is forever entrenched in my mind. A new beginning! An exuberance not felt by a nation since the end of World War II erupted on the Capital steps that January of '61. As the years have gone by since that eventful day much has changed. So much so in fact, the world I knew back then is no more.
When on that fateful day of November 22,1963 the hope and innocence of a generation ceased to exist. It was as though the whole world turned dark when an act of violent terror struck down a President. For many, that day marked a turning point in the way our society was to evolve. Sadly though the evolution of our society hasn't had the results the United States had hoped for.
Gone, is the overwhelming patriotism displayed in every school yard across America. Gone, is playing professional sports for the love of the game. Gone are millions of middle class wage jobs. Gone, is the family unit of a mother and father nurturing and instilling moral virtue in their children. Gone, is the respect we all had for our teachers. Gone is the fear we felt as children when we did something wrong knowing full well our parents were about to issue corporal punishment. I don't know about you, but I bet that almost all baby boomers at some point in their up bringing were spanked, maybe just a little and most of us turned out the better for it. Gone, are the days when one could eat real wholesome foods with-out all the additives and preservatives. These are just some of the quintessential traits of humanity that have been cased aside in the name of progression.
The "good old days" as my father called them. Lately now, after reflecting on all the changes that have rocked our society I am beginning to think like my father. Strange after all these years that I too would reminisce about a time long since past. So many fine memories now play out like a kaleidoscope flashing through my mind wanting to go back. Maybe it is because we all live in such a fast and turbulent time now. The days fly so swiftly by while I work so hard just to get by. Working and laboring trying to make a living. Paying bills that are constantly increasing in amounts and frequency. No longer am I able to enjoy the retirement years as my father had before. The constant plight of most of my generation now is all consumed with existing and not living. When it takes two jobs and 16 hours a day to almost make ends meet there is no time left for practically anything else, let alone spending time with your children or grandchildren.
What went wrong? My parents were able to live life while I on the other hand can only exist. Both my parents worked but there lives intermixed with everyday pleasures as well as bringing up two children. They took the time out of every day to as I would but it, smell the roses. Of course the inventions of today's modern world were not in place 50 years ago but maybe that was the best thing because without these convinces of today like blackberry's and computers I would not have such fond memories where my parents had the time and took the time to interact with us. Technology is only partly to blame for the intrusion upon the family. The other is business and governmental policies of the past forty years have undermined the sanctity of the family unit to where families are splintered in that the individual child is all to self absorbed to interact with their parents and the parents are too consumed with work just to be able to put food on the table. Today's disposable incomes are not sufficient to take care of the rising cost of living like they were growing up during my generation.
The major industrial nations today practically have the same labor and business policies in that they all assimilated the technologies of today into their working environment. The individual worker is all to swept up in what in generating the most profit in the shortest amount of time for their corporations. This produces little or no time to enjoy what life has to offer. Before all these technological innovations appeared business were run at a slower pace. Quality, pride, reliability, durability and trust were the greatest strengths in our economic structure. Families were able to bond together which contributed to the economic stability and growth of the United States primarily because of a much slower working environment. Inflation, technology, more profit at any cost, and an apathetic attitude toward others has replaced the philosophy of business of yesterday and the economy of my youth.
Of all my fondest memories most were the summers on Lake Geneva where I became a young man. Each summer had special moments to remember. But it was the summer of '63 that will be forever linked to the last great summer of innocence. There was Bruce, Tom, Andy and I, Buena Vista's rat pack. Then there was Rita and Katie, who we all had crushes on that made all our days of that summer seem so refreshing and innocent in the adventures we all shared. Those days they all lingered on almost endlessly. Now, almost a half century later, in a different era, and a different place the days fly by ever so swift as I too am caught up in the whirlwind of every day survival. Maybe, we all should remember when, before there're all gone.