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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

What went around, comes around again

By Julie Johnston | Jul 19, 2012

I had to laugh when I read Staci’s column last week, as she really hit the nail on the head

regarding how those of us past a certain age tend to feel about changes. Staci has now reached that age, where one becomes nostalgic about the past, which to my aging mind is a good thing.

I, too, miss the simpler days. The days when all my monthly bills totaled less than my cell phone bill of today. The days when parents let their children get dirty, or even eat dirt, knowing that it wasn’t likely to make them sick, or probably and more accurately they didn’t even think about it. The days when you could drive down the street and actually see children out playing with no adults in sight. The days when the government didn’t care if I ate a big piece of Mom’s sour cream chocolate cake (from scratch), covered in gooey, rich chocolate frosting in a bowl and covered in cream.

Yes, cream, the real stuff that came from milking the cow and separating the milk from the cream. Nowadays the food police would probably arrest Mom for abuse for giving us such fat laden, nutrient deprived food. I would assert that cream is full of nutrients, which is why it was SO good. Of course, now the experts are saying that Mom was right all along. The nutrients are in the fat, so we should drink whole milk instead of skim or 2%. Know what we did with that skim milk after we separated it from the cream? We fed to the pigs! Take that, food police.

Regarding letting kids get dirty like we did in the olden days, just yesterday I received validation for my point of view that the reason so many kids have allergies and get sick so much is because parents have become phobic about germs. Just ask anyone who would listen to my rants on the subject: I have long said that if kids were allowed to play in the dirt, have a pet, eat before washing their hands (sometimes), go on a picnic and eat food that has been un-refrigerated for more than 2 hours (horrors) or chew someone else’s gum (yuck), said kids would be healthier.

The national media reported on a recently completed study that said babies who were exposed to pets, specifically dogs and cats, are healthier than their counterparts who were not around animals. A good lick from the dog’s tongue will not, I repeat, NOT, hurt the baby.

The doctor who was interviewed about the study said, “Children have more illnesses and allergies today because their parents won’t let them get dirty. They wash with antibacterial soap before and after touching anything, including their children, and in general, prevent exposure to germs. Being exposed to germs allows their bodies to build immunities.”

That may not be an exact quote, but it is close enough. I don’t pretend to be educated, but where has common sense been? It isn’t rocket science. If you are exposed to other kids, dirt, animals, and other equally unsavory things, you are bound to build up immunities to sore throats, ear infections, and even allergies. DUH!

Today, when I need a photo for the Ledger, often it is difficult to find anyone outside doing anything. The children are not playing with other dirty kids, or dogs, nor are they in their mother’s garden pulling weeds and getting dirty in the process.

I am not saying parents should be irresponsible or neglectful, but perhaps it is time to define neglect and irresponsibility. Mom wasn’t irresponsible in allowing us to eat cake smothered with cream. We only got a smallish piece and then only IF we had eaten our ‘fresh from the garden’ vegetables and the rest of our meal. Of course, if we left anything on our plates we heard the “There are starving children in China who would be happy to have what you have,” argument, which concept I never did understand.

But, I digress. Neither did we have between meal snacks, unless it was an after school snack to hold us until supper. (In those days we had dinner at noon and the evening meal was supper.) Pop, or soda as some call it, was reserved for the infrequent trip to town when Mom did her trading, and then I had to share the 6 ounce bottle with my sister. That was only a problem when we couldn’t agree on whether to have chocolate (which I hated) or grape, or orange. I don’t remember which one she didn’t like, but it didn’t really matter to me. Believe it or not, we drank it from the same bottle, thus sharing germs.

As for calling a trip to Miller’s grocery ‘trading’, it really was trading. Mom took her cases of eggs and traded them for staples we couldn’t grow on the farm. If we kids behaved, and didn’t ask repeatedly for stuff that either wasn’t good for us or was not in the budget, we were rewarded with that precious half bottle of pop.

When I had a little money, earned from pulling all those weeds in the garden, I usually spent it on comic books, which, back then were actually fit for children to read. I loved Little Lulu, Bugs Bunny, Porky and Petunia Pig and Mighty Mouse. Roy Rogers was my hero, and if I could find a comic with Roy in it so much the better. Do kids read comic books anymore? Or have the ‘violent’ shenanigans of comic book characters been deemed bad for children?

I could wax nostalgic about a number of things that reading Staci’s column brought to mind, as could many of you. I agree with her about a number of things, including death and ‘progress’, though I am sure we could find something about which to disagree if we tried.

Maybe next time I will write concerning the not-so-good things about the good old days if I can come up with anything.

 

Julie Johnston is photographer at The Ledger.

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