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Good old days?

Good old days?

I was talking with my grandson a while back and I referred to the fifties, when I was his age, as the good old days. Afterward the thought struck me; why after all the accomplishments of the last 60 years do I feel now that those were the good old days? At least the way I see it now, through my seemingly rose color glasses. It all comes down to values I guess. What do we value more? Is it things that add monetary value to our lives or is it things that make our lives more enjoyable and don’t have a price tag associated with them? I am going to be very truthful here and maybe I was a little naïve back then, but this was the way it was when I was a kid.

I had never heard of a pedophile or drug gangs. No one ever offered me any pot to smoke or powder to suck up my nose. Bullies in schools were dealt with by suspending them. If you failed a grade in school you took the whole grade over. Pocketknives were allowed and we played a game called mumbly peg on the playground and no one ever got stabbed, Pregnancy in school age girls was a very rare thing. The stigma attached to it was something every girl wanted to avoid. There was no porn to speak of or at least nothing kids could get a hold of. Lawyers were looked up to, as were police officers. Most families had two parents. Grand parents were revered and not the out of sight, out of mind, attitude many have now with the old. You sat down and ate your meals as a family and you went to church Sunday and visited relatives in the afternoon because no one was working on those days except dairy farmers and emergency people. If you were sick you could see the doctor that same day or if you were really sick, he would come to you. We had comedians like Jack Benny and Red Skelton who didn’t have to be dirty to be funny.

Think about today. Everything I mentioned above has changed and not necessarily for the good. Yes, there are some things that have changed for the good. For instance, we have, more modern homes, safer cars and better health care. We did get rid of polio and small pox but yet we now have aids, fetal alcohol syndrome, crack babies and an epidemic of lung cancer. I looked up the word progress and Webster says, “It’s the advance or development toward a better, more complete, or more modern condition. “ Look around us. Would you trade what you have today for a more decent world? Is this progress we have attained and is this a more modern condition? Are our freedoms becoming our curse?

Yes the world was more decent back then, so why did we do what we did to change it? Well part of the answer was inattentiveness. Small segments of the population pushed the limits and our courts and judges went along with them and we shrugged our shoulders. Yes, we did have the constitution to guide us and for a couple of hundred years it did well. But then courts and lawyers took to litigating it to pieces, so what had been always wrong, was now all right. If you take one hundred people and ask their opinions there will always be a couple that don’t like things the way they are. Courts used to rule on the side of the 98 percent because that’s the way a democracy is supposed to work. Now we rule on the side of the 2 percent and call that making progress.

Mike Holst


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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