Remember the lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s song, Big Yellow Taxi, “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot?” Well, that is what happens to most, if not all, things considered paradise. Back in the early 1960s my ship pulled into the Naval Station at Key West, Florida a few times. Key West at the time was a small town sitting on an island that was mostly mangrove swamp and marshes. There was a road that encircled the island and one that cut across it laterally. The open air bars and quaint sidewalks were not crowded and the natives were hospitable and mainly friendly.
Like so many of you, I am a child of the Cold War. Those decades when the United States, China, and the Soviet Union kept the world on the edge of nuclear holocaust 24/7-365.
During those decades we all learned to “duck and cover“, be aware of strangers asking questions, fear Communism (even if we didn’t know what it was), accept the cost of a strong military, permit the government to conduct highly secret operations, and stand quietly by while the House Un-American Activities Committee stripped many Americans of their rights because they wouldn’t roll over and drink the Kool-Aid.
I’m a member of a group on Facebook composed of current and former residents of my hometown, Greenfield, Ohio. This group was formed several months ago by a woman who lived in and went to school in Greenfield during the early 1960s. She, like so many others, long ago moved away but never forgot what growing up in a small town was like.
There are over 300 members of the group now and most of the conversation centers around “do you remember” kinds of things. It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ve learned much from being privy to the collective memories of those who take part.
One recently asked question was, “What do you miss most about Greenfield?” My answer was different from many. While many people could generate a specific list of things they seemed to genuinely miss, I could only create a list of those things I enjoyed experiencing but wouldn’t particularly want to experience again. I have fond memories of, but don’t miss the past. Continue reading “History Yes, Nostalgia No”→