by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections is always about whatever's on my mind when I sit down at the computer. And it's always a break from the usual business and marketing topics. This morning I wandered over to Facebook first thing and was surprised to see the shot above, posted on my hometown website, continuing to get comments.
The reality of one comment hit me hard and got me thinking about kids today and how much our lives have changed. A member of the forum wrote: "Idyllic postwar suburbia. An increasingly elusive American dream."
The house was my parent's first home in Painesville, Ohio, where I grew up. It was your basic three-bedroom, 2-bath, 1200 sq ft. ranch with a small yard in a great little neighborhood. But my point this morning is more like a Throwback Thursday post - it's not about the image, but the memories and backstories it brings screaming to the front of my mind.
It was simply a wonderful time: We rarely locked the front door; there were kids all over the neighborhood, and we had to be home by dark; we burned leaves in the fall; everybody mowed their own yard; we rode our bikes everywhere; we often played baseball in the streets. A lot of the houses had a basketball hoop over the garage. In the wintertime, my Dad would put a 30-foot rope on the bumper of his car and tow us on our sleds around the neighborhood (today, he'd be arrested for child endangerment!). We never wore bike helmets, but we also never had any more than a "3-speed English Racer."
On Sundays, my Dad would help me deliver the big paper of the week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It was early in the morning. Nobody was awake; there was no traffic, and he started teaching me how to drive at 14, just in between the houses. The rest of the day was a family day - remember, nothing was open on Sunday back then - not a gas station, bank, or liquor store (Sunday Blue Laws - didn't allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays).
Sundays were always a family day. A lazy day that we all just hung out...as a family. And when the weather was good, it was almost always BBQ on a cheap charcoal grill with a rotating grate, along with charcoal-lighter and charcoal. Because nothing was open on Sunday, that one day of the week always had some advanced planning. Often it was at my grandmother's, and rarely anything more extravagant than hot dogs and burgers. We used to laugh because relatives from Cleveland always showed up just as the food was going on the grill.
The American dream wasn't "elusive" because we were all living it. But I've noticed something since the pandemic, even with me, Sheila, and the pups. It's that greater sense of family, at a level probably not seen since those days in the house above.
We don't waste time on things that don't matter. Especially on a Sunday, we do a late breakfast and then all hang out together. Music is on all day, starting with Sheila's morning ritual of a little gospel or contemporary Christian. It's simply a day of quiet peace, appreciating each other and the dream we're living right now.
From age 16 on, I worked summers at a Canadian summer camp. We used to have this cheesy line, "It never rains at Camp Winnebagoe when there's sunshine in your heart!" LOL Well, I'm not sure the dream is any more elusive than a sunny day at camp - it's just changed because the world became more complicated - but it's not out of reach.
Wishing everybody a day to turn back the clocks and slow down. Make today a day to appreciate the people in your life you love the most. While I miss the good old days, five to ten years from now, the good old days will be today! So go for those eleven-second hugs I always write about, and no matter where you are or what you're going through - we've all got something going on in our lives to cherish.
Sometimes, looking in the rearview mirror helps you sharpen your vision of what's in front of you!
Happy Sunday...or Monday on the other side of the world.
7/10/2022 11:06:35 am
Thanks for sharing those great sentiments, Skip!
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