#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.