Thursday, May 5, 2011

Growing Up American - Part 1

In the spirit of  my "Playing Church" tri-part blog, I'd like to ruminate in the pre-21st century American mindset for a while, specifically as I see it. I'm not unique, surely. In the past few years its been strangely odd to be an American, almost embarrassing, but when I was a kid, there was no stigma whatsoever. Everyone I knew would never have wanted to live anywhere else, except the missionaries, who only went other places so they could help people.

I was born in 1958. So was Michael Jackson, Madonna, and so were Hush Puppy shoes and Hula Hoops.
Elvis was peaking, and the first Sputnik crashed and burned. The Russians were suspect. 

By the time I was two, the Beatles had organized and they were sticking their fingers in every self-respecting adult American's sense of decency.

My days centered on going to school, which included getting under your desk if there was an air raid drill, and recognizing the dreaded triangular symbol for underground radiation-safe bunkers in case you needed to use one.They seemed to be everywhere. We pledged allegiance every morning, hands on our heart. Once, in first grade I wet my pants during the pledge because I had to go, and you didn't miss the pledge.

My father was a World War II veteran. He never talked about the war, and we didn't ask.

We ate dinner together every night. My mother cooked it. We ate out on vacations, and then we only ordered water to drink. There were no drive-throughs. No fast food restaurants. If you went on a roadtrip, you most likely packed a lunch to eat on the way.

Time seemed to pass slowly, but I am not certain that this is only a phenomenon of youth.

I learned to read in kindergarten, and to date it has been my most valuable accomplishment.

As far as I knew, everyone in my class learned to read. It would have been unthinkable if they had not.

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