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#363: Innocence of Youth and Hope for the Future

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In 1990, a writer's group I was part of, Professional Freelance Writers of Orlando, published a book for adult reading students. One of the stories I wrote for the book was titled "KONG and Friends" and was about the then soon to be open Kongfrontation attraction at Universal Studios Orlando.

As I re-read the stories in our book, "Windows to the World" I was struck by how much has changed in the last 20 years. Not only with theme parks (Kong is closed now and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the newest attraction), but with our world in general. It seems to be a far more dangerous world now than when I was a youngster. But maybe my memory is clouded by time. As I recall the innocence of my youth, ignorant of crime and wars, life seemed so simple.

Of course, there were no computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, color TV, I Pods, MP3 players, space shuttles, space station, cordless telephones, or other conveniences and inventions of our modern era. We passed hours playing Monopoly or jumping on a Pogo Stick or bouncing a ball attached to a wooden paddle with a thin piece of elastic. If we had two guys, we'd play catch with a baseball. With three, we'd shag flies while one batted them to us. A family treat was a drive-in movie or going to a Dairy Queen type of place for a milk shake or malt, always extra thick for Mom and Dad.

Or we'd watch fireflies blink on and off and roast marshmallows over a fire, play 500 Rummy cards with the parents and sisters or spend a session or two at the roller skating rink.

Young guys like me were in love with Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and watched the antics of Spin and Marty, two teenagers at a dude ranch summer camp. Bozo the Clown was the lunchtime TV show and westerns such as the Cisco Kid, Zorro, Paladin, Rawhide, Wagon Train, the Roy Rogers show, Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy filled Saturday television. Later we listened in rapt attention to radio's Mystery Theater of the Air ("Only the Shadow Knows.")

The memories could continue for me as I am sure they could for you, too.

Yes, change is the one constant we can count on. Often, change makes our lives better and easier. Sometimes, though, it brings back memories of times past. Times of simplicity when kids enjoyed innocent camaraderie with their friends playing Kick the Can or Hide and Seek or other games of our childhood.

Sometimes I miss that innocence. Like tonight as I read our book again. I truly enjoyed visiting the Kongfrontation attraction when it finally opened and was saddened when it closed. But life changes and there is not much we can do about it but to try to make our present as enjoyable as we think we remember our past.

So, here's a toast to our memories of our past and to the memories we'll create in the future. May our children experience a world free of strive and fear and, perhaps, filled with the youthful innocence so many of us recall with fondness.
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  • DKWP614
    My grandfather was born in 1900 and lived to be 104 years old. We frequently had the conversation about what it was like to grow up and see the changes his century had brought him.

    I remember asking him once if there was anything that he missed about his past. Anything that he wished he could recall from the past and make part of his present. His response surprised me. He said, "Why, when you have lived in a time when going from an outhouse, to pull-chain toilets, to flush-whoosh toilets ... doesn't the world look pretty good? Wouldn't you rather move forward than move backward?" My grandfather was a wise, wonderful man. I miss him; and I often wonder how he would marvel at the Internet and the way we take it for granted.

    Forward movement through life, whether difficult or easy, is always a positive thing. The teaching moments abound, and the gentle memories will linger a lifetime.

    Diana Kathryn
    3896 days ago
    emoticon Here is a toast to our memories! Enjoyed the walk down memory lane with you Lou. emoticon Kiss, Joy
    3896 days ago
    Memories are one thing they can never take from us! Thanks for sharing some of your memories with us!
    3897 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    The news confirms your suspicions... more people on drugs, folks getting shot and nobody cares about their neighbour.
    Hey wait--- your neighbour just fixed the lawnmower and my sweetie just fixed our neighbour's internet connection. (twice this week.)

    I shared some columbine seeds with another neighbour. Lots of folks waving as they walk by.

    The pace seems frantic sometimes and there is too much TV on satellite, cable and over the computer. No more Gunsmoke... it's Simpons and The Office and other goofy cheap laughs.
    3897 days ago
    What awesome memories. Thank you for sharing them. You are such a great storyteller, pulling from the heart of us all to share with us all. Here's to new memories!!
    3897 days ago
  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    My Saturday mornings/afternoons were spent watching Tarzan with Johnny Weissmuller or The Three Stooges and wrestling with my brothers. I'm 50 years old and "ya still can't pin me" after all those years of escaping the clutches of my brothers. LOL!

    Thanks for the memories, Lou.

    3897 days ago
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