Those Were the Best Years

Paul Richardson

I was in conversation with a man who is about the same age as my dear mother. Roy D. House had children around my age, some older, some younger than me, and I attended school with them. It was his statement that inspired these thoughts of mine. Roy stated that he was of the opinion that his generation had grown up at the best time possible.

That is possibly a true statement, but it was my opinion that my generation, the children of his generation had grown up at the best time possible. While each of us can point to times of struggle that happened during our developmental years, it is possible that our view of those events was dependent upon the amount and type of shielding that was employed to protect us from the world around us.

As I look back upon my parent’s era, I see them emerging as children from the Great Depression. That was followed by World War II, (Some of my generation actually had parents that were old enough to have served in the military during World War II.), entering their adult life with the Korean Conflict, transitioning into the Vietnam War. Striving to protect their children, including myself, from the Vietnam War, the emerging cultural shifts initiated by the counter-culture revolution, race riots of the ‘60’s, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, assassinations of various leaders, and much more. The burden of that list seems huge to me.

I have suspicions about how my Grandparents protected my parents from the realities of the world around them. A portion of that was accomplished by the lack of technology that provided “real time” information and a portion was from the latitude that the citizens afforded the government. My parents did not keep a TV in our home until I was a senior in high school, so that in part, protected me from the daily happenings. By the time that I was aware of news it was possibly a week old and the trauma of the events was diminished in the adults that had been exposed to the information, thus limiting my impact by any of their initial emotional responses.

The catalyst for these thoughts actually began with my eccentric daughter, who believes that she was gifted with a childhood and teenage life that took place under the most idyllic circumstances. The uniqueness of our conversation was reinforced due to the fact that Roy D. House and I had only discussed this same topic a couple of hours prior. As I pondered three separate statements, each declaring a belief authored by three individuals from adjacent generations and in each instance having the same content, I began to wonder, “What were the best years? Which era was the best to grow up in?” I don’t know, but my grandson has stated that he believes that he was born in the wrong decade and that there were better times in the past. All I know is that, those were the best years!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for both The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.