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May 3, 2002

Were you a kid in the 1950s or earlier? If so you’ve probably noticed that people sometimes make fun of our childhood. Comedians joke about it. Grandkids snicker. Twenty-somethings shudder and say “Eeeew?” But was our childhood really all that bad? Judge for yourself: In 1953 the U.S. population was less than 150 million yet you knew more people then, and knew them better. And that was good. The following thoughts, passed along to me by a friend, should be of interest to you.

The average annual salary was under $3,000, yet our parents could put some of it away for a rainy day and still live a decent life. And that was good.

A loaf of bread cost about 15 cents, but it was safe for a five-year-old to skate to the store and buy one. And that was good.

Prime time meant I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriett, and Lassie, so nobody had heard of ratings or filters. And that was good.

We didn’t have air-conditioning, so the windows stayed up and half a dozen mothers ran outside when you fell off your bike. And that was good.

Your teacher was either Miss Matthews or Mrs. Logan or Mr. Adkins, but not Ms. Becky or Mr. Dan. And that was good.

The only hazardous material you knew about was a patch of sandburs around the light pole at the corner. And that was good.

Most families needed only one job, meaning Mom was home when school let out. And that was good.

You loved to climb into a fresh bed because sheets were dried on the clothes line. And that was good.

People generally lived in the same hometown with their relatives, so “child care” meant grandparents or aunts and uncles. And that was good.

TV was in black and white…. But all outdoors was in glorious color. And that was certainly good.

Your Grandma grew snap beans in the back yard and chickens behind the garage. And that was definitely good.

And just when you were about to do something really bad, chances were you’d run into your high school coach, the nosy old lady up the street, your little sister’s piano teacher, or somebody from church. All of them knew your parents’ phone number and YOUR first name. And that was good.

Things have definitely changed. Have they changed for the better? Not by a long shot.