I like to think that my childhood was the good old days.
It was a time when we were very content with three TV channels and summer days spent outside.
I’m sure people who reached adulthood in the roaring 1920s thought the good old days were the days before the time of the speak-easy and dancing the Charleston.
A friend of mine, Terry, was a teenager in Boston during the time John F. Kennedy was running for president. His family was Catholic and the thought of a fellow Catholic and a guy with roots in Boston becoming president was a big deal. He asked his dad for permission to put a Kennedy sticker on the family car. Those may be the good old days for him.
Like all mothers, mine wanted a better life for my brother and me. She thought seeing the evolving history in our country was part of that. She sold World Book encyclopedias and thought it would be good just to read them.
She also brought home a color-illustrated book about the astronauts of the Mercury and Gemini programs. She never suggested I should become an astronaut, but she wanted me to know the current ones of the era. Those, too, were good old days.
You might be hard pressed to find someone who thought the days of The Great Depression were the good old days. I have heard older men talk about their work in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression. I was in the mountains recently and I thought about how hard-working men brought the modern convenience of paved roads and beautiful parks to the mountains and introduced people to the beautiful vistas of our state.
Some stories are about others who hitchhiked to a big city searching for a job that could provide a living and the comforts of life previously out of reach. The good old days for them were the days that may have led to an emergence from poverty.
I often wonder what more recent generations, such as the so-called millenials, will identify as their good old days.
Will it be the time when only a few hundred TV channels were available or when smart phones were the rage? Will it be the time before the skies were filled with drones?
I don’t know.
Think about this: People who are now in their mid-40s have lived most of their life with the availability of 24-hour news channels. They have seen the way we get our news change dramatically. They have had computers since they were in their 20s. They probably don’t remember life without a microwave oven.
In the 2010 census, more than 50,000 people were older than the age of 100. When you think about people who were alive in 1916, many were born into households where electricity and running water were non-existent.
I don’t know if the day you got running water was the good old days, but it had to be memorable.
I’m happy I have my own version of the good old days and am sure they are different from yours.
It’s fun to think about them.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.