Musings from the Hill, Aug. 13, 2015
Soon some of us will be thinking of this old song: “School days, school days. Dear old golden rule days. When reading and writing and arithmetic taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” In my school days, never was a child hit for an infraction of any rule.
I do believe “the old days were a kinder, gentler era.” None of my schoolmates smoked, drank or swiped drugs from the medicine cabinet. School shootings were unheard of.
“Way back when” the entire month of August lay ahead of us. School did not start until after Labor Day and ended about the middle of June. Of course, “way back when,” air conditioning was still far in the future. On really hot days we usually played card games. Before Baldwin City had a swimming pool, the old City Lake was a favorite swimming spot, while my hometown had no public swimming pool and swimming in the local pond was prohibited.
Growing up, we would spend so many hours with a good book. Often we recited lines of poetry from memory. Pen knives were commonly carried by almost every boy and occasionally a girl.
I remember our first radio had only two sets of earphones and disputes often arose about who turn it was to use them. Now everyone has their own handheld devices. And as children no bad words ever passed our lips. When I grew up, our music was danceable and sung softly. It was easy to understand the lyrics, unlike music today.
I do believe “way back when” was for most of us a kinder and certainly a quieter and safer time. Now everyone seems to be in a rush. I am amazed at the dexterity of youth who text message with one hand and drive with the other. I had recently learned on the news that at least 4,000 lives are lost a year from texting and driving. Cell phones can be a life saver, but people who talk on the phones while driving endanger not only their own lives, but the lives of others. Everyone and everything seems to be in constant state motion. Quiet reflection and daydreaming appear to be gone forever. Youth, enjoy your school years. They pass so swiftly.
“How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood, when fond recollection presents them to view.” — Samuel Woodworth, 1785-1842.
Due to an unfortunate upset in my life, I would like to thank Sarah for coming to my aid to finish this column.