As a kid I got advice and counsel from the grandparents who raised me after raising their own kids. All my uncles except one were in WWII (one was too young to go, but went to Korea in the Army later). Bob was shot 3 different times during the Pacific campaign before they sent him home. Dave flew dozens of recon and bombing missions over France and Germany. Bill had a ship sink from damage in a typhoon in the western Pacific. John was an Army lawyer. My stepfather was a D.I. at Ft. Bragg. My bio-father was in state prison.
When my first dog died from some kind of disease (I was around 6 at the time), my grandmother told me that it was good because he was no longer in pain. My grandfather said, in essence, that’s life and for me to get over it. So he got me another dog. Think maybe their combined words to me on the event totaled around 50 or so.
My uncles told me never to come home with a bloody nose unless I had the other guy’s blood on my knuckles.
And EVERYbody, including the pastor at the Baptist church where my grandmother took me every Sunday morning, told me that if I did my chores, studied my homework, listened to my elders, and treated everybody the way I’d like them to treat me that my life would be pleasant and productive . . . hard at times, but rewarding.
In those days a large house might have as many as 4 generations living in it. Great Grampas died with dignity in their own beds in their own homes surrounded by their family. They weren’t warehoused in a facility managed by strangers. Death was a natural moment in the cycle of life and we all went to the funerals and listened to the preachers and then went home and had a big meals with pies and cakes and got on with life.
The kid with the best grades was the valedictorian. The kid who could run the fastest got the blue ribbon. The team that won the most games went to the sectionals and on to the regionals and finally to State if they played well enough. If they didn’t, they came home and started practicing for the next sport or the next season. They got the appropriate number of handshakes and pats on the back if they won, and brief “Nice try. You’ll get ’em next year” if they didn’t.
I donno what the hell went wrong along the way, but it sure’s hell did. I know that my life today is much more comfortable than it was when I was a kid. My wife and I have comforts and gadgets we couldn’t even dream of back in the 60s. And I understand how the mind tends to suppress the bad memories and exaggerate the good ones, but I know for certain that I had more fun between 1940 and 1980 than I’ve had in the 35 years since.
If someone had offered me grief counseling when Mother died, I’d have had no idea what to do with it. Just not the way I was raised. You put on your Big Boy hat and keep on keepin on. America the Wussified. (end of article)
Thanks so much, Bocopro! Z