, Newburyport, MA


November 4, 2013

'Good old days' bring mixed memories

Yup, the months keep rolling along, and here we are in November, a month that is noted for its foliage in New England. Yes, give me the four seasons, as each has something to offer.

Of course, at this age, conversations with others are frequent, and one of the most frequent statements heard is, “There’s nothing like the good old days!” That may be true in some cases, but it requires an analysis, which I will attempt to do.

Let’s see, for instance, if you mean outhouses, no heat, dirt streets, cranking autos to start, hand-me-down clothes, and being jobless are some of the examples, then it’s hard to accept as the “good old days.” If you mean mother’s home-cooked meals, families that had all meals together, parents that expected and received “honor thy father and mother,” less crime, especially juvenile, due to an enforced curfew and “beat officers” in each ward, movies that were governed by censorship, radio scripts that were simple and acceptable, churches that were overflowing with parishioners, dress codes that were standard for school children, and neighborhoods where everyone “knew your name.” Yes, many of the foregoing made up what can be considered part of the good old days we all remember, and that is if you were born in the ‘20s or ‘30s during the Great Depression.

I suppose, if the truth was known, things might have been different if we had all the modern improvements and conveniences that are offered today, but one cannot miss what one never had. This older generation, by the way, was known to be tough, as we survived a depression, fought a war and won, made a promise that we’d give our kids the things we had to do without, and now I wonder, looking back, was it the right or wrong decision. You decide for yourself, as all of us have that right.


Ralph J. Ayers of Newburyport calls himself a “local yokel.”

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