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Are these the good ole days?

May 21, 2011

Amid public sex scandals, prolonged warfare, wicked weather, and a government run amok, it’s tempting to look back and yearn for the good ole days. 
For me, that means the happy times of my childhood. My memory conjures up family vacations to the Smokey Mountains, music that didn’t set your teeth on edge, and social networking which took place at church socials or over the garden gate.
Bread was $.24 a loaf, and reading romance novels was the raciest thing people did outside their own bedrooms. 
In 1961, my parents grounded me for two weeks for sneaking into the movie theater to see “Splendor in the Grass.”  Today the movie would be labeled PG. I recently wanted to ground myself for seeing “Basic Instinct” which squeaked by with an “R” rating.
The good ole days are probably different for everyone, but in hindsight, mine seemed a sweeter, gentler time, when crime was primarily of the purse-snatching variety and the national debt was rarely mentioned. 
People in the 1950s were likely to be too skinny than too fat, and burgers were considered “slow food” because you had to wait for the charcoal to turn white. Fried chicken didn’t come in a bucket, and practically every home contained a sewing machine. Remember those? 
Four-letter words were never uttered in public unless you had a taste for Ivory Soap, and ice came out of aluminum ice cube trays tucked inside the “ice box,” a term I rarely hear any more. 
But being nostalgic can be dangerous. If all we do is long for the past we discount the present. Ten years from now, will we look back on the dismal unemployment and run-away inflation rates and see this period as the good old days?
I recently heard a song entitled “These are the Good Ole Days.” The chorus goes like this: 
These are the good ole days that we’ve been livin’
No more lookin’ back all is forgivin’
Ain’t gonna live my life through no picture frame
These are the good ole days
Seems like people get lost talkin’ ’bout some day
Something better will come and take them away
Never realize ’til it’s too late
It’s the simple things that make life worthwhile
Like a warm summer day or a laughin’ child
Or how it makes me feel just to see you smile.
Maybe it’s true.  The year 2011 will someday be the good ole days for someone - despite its nagging negatives. We might as well make the most of it.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at

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