That’s the era that Jeannie and I grew up in; sure, there were still murders and crimes of violence against people; there was unrest in our nation due to the Vietnam War; there was civil strife with riots such as the burning of Watts in the forefront of our collective consciousness; there was the shadow of the nuclear doomsday clock inching slowly towards that dreaded Armageddon hour of midnight…
But there was also the innocence of childhood, and of the age we left behind when we entered adulthood.
I can remember vivid instances of that innocence surfacing now and again; the biggest impact of them in my life was upon our move to the small burg of Brookfield, Missouri, in 1972 and experiencing firsthand the joys (and downfalls) of living in a small town. Take these, for example:
- Scorching summers fishin’ and dippin’ in the local watering hole;
- Weekend evenings spent disco dancing with my best friend (and now wifey) Jeannie at the Cedar Cinema (now an empty grass-filled lot);
- Blowing an entire dollar bill on dime store candies in downtown Brookfield;
- Lying on our backs and watching cotton-filled cumulus clouds float by in the hazy summer skies;
- Sledding in sub-zero temps on the water plant hill just outside of town;
- Ice fishin’ with friends at Brookfield City Lake (not caring about the creaking frozen stuff beneath our trembling feet);
- Announcing softball games at Hickman Field;
- Making goofball Super8mm movies about killer tornadoes and other forgettable stuff;
Each of these memories are painted in bright hues and come with the requisite sounds, tastes, and smells of that time. Memories like these are often hazy with time, and are wrapped in the gauze-like entrapment of our mind’s eye–not quite perfect, but sure close enough to bring a tear, or two, to the forefront when reminiscing.
Good stuff, right? 🙂
But, our innocence is too often stolen away from us when we are forced by the world to “grow up” and become adults. We lose not only that child-like wonder of viewing things around us with awe; we also lose the ability to have fun spontaneously. We take life too seriously; we buckle down and become jaded, our senses dulled by the grindstone of life’s roadway.
I’m so thankful that I can remember things like this from my childhood and young adulthood, before the advances of age and time push them down into the deep well of bittersweet life experiences. It’s nice to be able to bring them out, dust them off, and take them out for a spin down “memory lane”.