Growing up in a Norman Rockwell Painting

In 1960 Kansas, almost everyone I knew seemed happy and content.  I did not know anyone who didn't have a father and mother, at home, and divorce was nonexistent. I was 10 years old.  We walked or road our bikes to school.  We came home for lunch which our mother fixed!  My older brother and I ate super every night with both parents who played games, like Bridge, with us afterward.  On weekends we fished, hunted, or drove to Kansas City to see our relatives.

We loved to be outdoors, even when the weather was unpleasant.  My brother and I would brag we could go to a fixing spot and catch a fix just from what people left behind.  Our poles were branches.  Usually a hook was around.  A twig was our bobber. We built sod forts and staged dirt clod fights with other kids.  There was plenty of spare wood around to make swords, and use trash can lids as our shields.

In the Summer we would ride our bikes downtown to swim at the public pool.  My mother would take me to the golf course to walk and carry my own bag of clubs. Church and church activities were a large part of our lives.  It seems you were either a Baptist or Church of Christ.  We managed to get along with each other.

In school the day was started with the Lords Prayer, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Our teachers were  like aunts and uncles and most people learned and memorized things like our spelling words and multiplication tables.

My father gave me a good allowance.  I wasn't happy with that and arranged to sell TV guides door to door.  I made 4 cents a copy.  I enjoyed working with my father on Saturdays in the yard or home.  As I got older, I started selling stamps by mail and published a newspaper for stamp collections from a mimeograph my parents bought we for Christmas.

How I cringe at the youth of today.  They can't talk, spell or make change.  The can punch  keys all day long and use four letter words with ease.   One author referred to them as "deluded narcissists."  The self absorbed society we have created should worry any patriot.  Only 20% of high school student in my state know why we celebrate the 4th of July.  I bet they know the name of every Ipod out there.

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