Saturday, August 25, 2012

They Don't Make TV Shows Like That Anymore

Lately I have been seeing posts on Facebook with photos of old TV shows from the 50's, 60's and 70's, with the caption telling you to like if you remember it. I must admit that I remember all of these shows and become quite nostalgic when I look at the photos. I always "like" them and "share" the photos. So far I have seen "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Brady Bunch", "The Lucille Ball Show" and "Cheers".

Seeing these led me to reminisce about other old shows. Some of my favorites were "The Life of Riley", "Leave It to Beaver", "Father Knows Best" and "Our Miss Brooks" to name a few. There are many more TV shows that I and others around my age should remember. Not all are as old as the ones I just mentioned, but they are the ones I remember fondly.

When I think about watching these shows I think of a simpler time when I was younger than 12. I had nothing to worry about and nothing to fear, except for maybe not getting my homework done on time. I can remember sitting in front of the old black and white General Electric television in my living room and watching these shows with my parents and older brothers. The plots were simple, usually nothing more serious than getting a failing grade in school or not getting the chores around the house done. There was no sex. The parents slept in separate single beds and  heck I don't remember even seeing the parents' bedrooms until "The Dick Vandyke Show". There were no drugs, no swearing or profanity and no violence. The only gun play was in the westerns, but there was no gore or mass shootings. In all of these shows the neighbors were all friendly, well dressed and  well to do middle class people. They were nothing like my family, or the family of anyone else I knew.

None of these shows portrayed poor families, homeless people, handicapped people, Blacks, Asians or Hispanics. Everybody was white. No one was Catholic or Jewish and certainly not Muslim.  There were no gays or even people who could have been gay. Everybody seemed to be married or widowed. None of the mothers worked, even though the very young and  older women worked as either librarians or teachers. Even though these shows took place during the Cold War, there was no mention of it.  There was absolutely no mention of any social issues whatsoever. It was a perfect world of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans, undoubtedly all Republican too.

We may look back and think about the old days, when everything was peaceful and simple, with no problems and no worries. In reality though these TV shows portrayed an America where everyone was hiding their heads in the sand. The plights of minorities, such as Blacks and Women were ignored and not talked about in public. Children were going hungry and being physically and sexually abused and there was a great deal of domestic violence that was ignored by everyone, including the authorities. There was gang violence, there were drugs , race riots and all manners of discrimination that was legitimized by looking the other way. Everything was perfect only if you were White. The only reason life was so simple was the fact we did not know about all of the suffering taking place, not only in our country, but in our own neighborhoods of our home towns.

I look back at my childhood and have warm memories and feelings when I think about these old TV shows. I wonder if , no I hope, that all people my age can look back at their childhood, when also thinking of old TV shows and feel the same warmth as I do.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

As Time Goes By

When I was younger time seemed to stand still. It was almost like time was an enemy. I can remember waiting for Christmas to come and it seemed as though a one month wait seemed like a lifetime. Waiting for my next birthday was torture, as time dragged on. When I was younger my age was measured in years and months. I was six and a half before I became seven. The milestones, my 12th birthday, 16th birthday and then my 21st birthday, all came very slowly.

Now I am retired and officially a senior citizen. I see time in an altogether different light. Time is different, but it is still the enemy. When I was a child I had decades of time ahead of me, but now it seems as though time is quickly slipping away.  I can remember thinking about retirement, as if it were something so far ahead in the future that I had all the time in the world to think about it. Well now that time is here. It seemed like it was just yesterday when I started working and the day before yesterday when I entered college. What happened?

I have been retired for about 5 years now. I can remember thinking about what I would do with all of my new found spare time. In scary moments I thought about myself just sitting and waiting for time to pass, as I did not have enough to do to occupy my time. Now I wonder where the hell all of that time has gone. I don't work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I don't have a schedule of when to grocery shop or run errands or walk the dog. I go to the gym, run a few errands and I write my blogs, but sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything.  When I have a party to go to, a special event or a vacation I am excited abut going on, it seems as if they come and go in a snap of the finger. I went back to the US one year ago for a 3 week vacation, but it seems as though it were only a couple of months ago.  I am planning my next vacation to the US for next year and I am sure it will be here before I know it.

It's really strange that time becomes a completely different concept the more we age. Maybe it's because at birth we have no concept of time and in our youth, time is measured in anticipated pleasures. While as we grow older we measure our achievements, our hopes and dreams, what could have been and what can still be, in the terms of how much time we may have left, rather than having all the time in the world. As time goes by we can't worry about losing it, we have to concentrate on living for the moment and making the best of time, without measuring it.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues