Take A Seat

This is one of those posts where I don’t know where I want to go, but I know I want to say something. I want to use this opportunity to express, well, something. I don’t think I will go for “what is the meaning of life”. I will probably start on a much lesser plain. Something more like ” what is the meaning of today” Even that will take some considered thought.

I have been watching the world, and in my case it has been getting smaller. Not physically of course, but the world within my scope. That which most impacts my life. In my early childhood, the second world war was in full swing. I was too young to understand it, but I do remember that life, even then, had been put on hold, not unlike today. Our norms had been suspended and the everyday had become one of unknown tomorrows. Also, not unlike today, our youth were dying in places we had never heard of and worry was something that every parent woke up with.

I remember my folks sitting next to the radio, listening to commentators tell them about the war. At least, our governments version of it. Reports from the front, and there were many, generally left a lot unsaid. Not unlike today, they had been scrubbed for public consumption. News was suspect even then.

When I look at the world today; not mine, but the big one, I find myself chagrined that we have learned so little from history. Perhaps it is because most of our schools would prefer to mold it as opposed to teach it. I listen to our twenty somethings tell me what is wrong with our country, mostly based on the popular opinion of the day, without ever studying, or reading, or even listening to what has gone before them. Their understanding of history is relatively truncated, based on age and orientation, as was mine at their age. I am fortunate however that I at least have had a chance to live some of it and absorb the reality of what built my freedom. Separate to some degree the fact from the fiction. I am grateful for that.

When I was a kid in elementary school, the most important thing to me was my friends. I grew up in a predominantly catholic neighborhood as one of the few protestants. It didn’t matter. My town was home to very few civil diversities. My friends were friends because we liked each other. No one told me who I could or couldn’t like, or play with. I never heard of a transgender and, with the exception of a couple of black families, didn’t really have a chance to interface with other races, or colors. There were boys and girls and that was about it. We accepted each other for who we were and didn’t give it much, if any, thought.

We were taught American history based on the integrity of the textbooks. I don’t think I ever had a teacher that proselytized what I was taught. You studied your lessons and hoped you remembered enough to pass the next quiz. There were dates and facts to be memorized, but your opinion was your own, to do with as you may. That is partly the reason I became a student of the Civil War. I was allowed to pursue my interests without regards for who was right or wrong, or being coaxed to see it in a particular way other then my own.

I grew to be an independent thinker as a result. I often did not agree with those around me, but we all had an opportunity to speak and share. I didn’t have to see which way the wind was blowing to decide what to think. And, to ignore the ideas of others was to close the doors of progress. I can’t say I see that today. Perhaps that is why my world is growing smaller. Maybe I have just been here too long. It’s time to step aside and give the reins to the next generation. Watch the same mistakes being made over and over. Watch history repeat itself. Or maybe, just maybe, I have not been here long enough. If all things are indeed cyclical, maybe I will again be a resource. Or, at least, be able to tell an interesting story or two. I’m not holding my breath however.

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at poormanspoet.wordpress.com to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Aging, Country, Generations, History, Insight, Life, Opinions, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Reflection, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Take A Seat

  1. You made a good point in that when we are told, or taught, history, it often has little to do with reality. Each city, town, neighborhood went through whatever time period in a different way. Country and cities often experience things differently as do neighborhoods. Thee is no blanket coverage that really tells what anything was like for all of us. Things are very different wherever we go.

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  2. quiall says:

    I grew up with parents who encouraged me to ask questions. They also encouraged me to find out the answers for myself. And then we would discuss it. History was something that I had resources to. My father fought in World War II, my grandfather in World War I. My grandmother loved to tell stories from the old country, Northern Ireland. My mother told me of her experiences during the Depression. I was like a little sponge. And I had lots of questions. I still do.

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