Was the past better? Where we are is pretty good!

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I think we look back to the days of our youth with nostalgic affection. Those were the days of optimism, possibility, idealism and passion. Those were days of love and opportunity. We stood on the threshold and looked forward to an endless array of wonderful things.

 

Now we are older and our life is mainly behind us. The future does not look so rosy.

 

But were things really better back then? No. I think not.

 

I was brought up in the post-war days and played on bomb-sites. The economy was rubbish. We had just come out of rationing. But the Labour Government had brought in the wonderful NHS, schooling was improving and they were fighting for a fair wage and better working conditions. They were clawing some social justice from the establishment.

 

What my generation had was vastly better than my Mum's generation. She lived through real poverty with families living on starvation diets, sewn into clothes for winter, sharing shoes or having rags tied round their feet in the snow, having terrible education in classes of fifty plus and not being able to afford a doctor. There were large families where death was a regular visitor.

 

I grew up in much better conditions than that. We had the NHS, antibiotics, class sizes under thirty, refrigerators, a black and white telly, but there were no fitted carpets, telephones or central heating.

 

Now we have better wages, a whole range of luxury goods - fridges, washing machines, computers, colour TVs, dishwashers, mobile phones, entertainment systems, cameras, and a thousand more. My house is crammed with devices and stuff. I can travel abroad and buy experiences.

 

I think we take it for granted. I think we have selective memory.

 

The past was not really so great. The future is looking bright. Not all politicians are greedy, selfish bastards with their snouts in the trough. Some are idealists who are still looking for ways to make life better.

 

Perhaps it is time to be more optimistic? After the megalomania of Trump and the establishment loving Tories there might be a new age with idealistic politicians who will dump the establishment and forge a better world.

 

Where we are is pretty good. I think we should appreciate it more. It was hard fought for.

Comments

opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 6:31am
Socially I think we've come a long way. Up until Trump and Brexit there was much less racism and standards of living had risen across the globe. Technology has come on leaps and bounds. If it wasn't for the drastic overpopulation, religious fundamentalism and trashing of the environment things would be pretty rosy.
George N Romey Added Nov 28, 2017 - 7:08am
In the US the population born from the late Depression until the mid 50s had it best. A college degree got you somewhere. A good employer meant a good job for life with a traditional pension. You could save for retirement. Then in the 80s it began to change under RR and it’s been downhill since:
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 7:13am
George - but on what do you base the quality of life?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:00am
Opher
 
The past was better, at least here in Switzerland. Why ? We didn't have stress, and we didn't have a dumbphone society. There were less cars on the street, less pollution and hitchhiking was easy and not dangerous. We didn't have so many mentally retarded and/or aggressive people on the street. Women could go eversywhere at night without being aggressed. 
 
Food choice was more limited, but food was generally healthier - no E-shit all over the place. No fast food crap around. 
 
The music was still - music. Not cut'n'paste plastic industry stuff. There were enough jobs available to switch every month if you didn't like it, and after saving up for a year everyone could afford a backpacker trip around the planet. No Google Earth but discover yourself.
 
What was negative then ? Hm....no idea. Maybe the society was not as tolerant as today (are they ?), and communication was more difficult and/or expensive. But ias that really a problem when everybody had a house phone ?
 
I don't want to sound old-fashioned, but to me life WAS better in the Fifties/Sixties/Seventies. My parent's life was harder, though. I guess I'm just a lucky one.
 
Now your turn: What is BETTER than back then ? ;-)
wsucram15 Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:08am
I grew up well. The only thing that is better then from now is that then, I had my Grandmom and Grandfather, Sister, Aunt and Mom. at least 100 (most likely more) of my friends and the music 25-30 years ago was better.
Actually you can keep going back on that one... 
But we do live better now.
George N Romey Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:29am
Orpher with financial security and stability comes quality of life. SEF described it perfectly.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:51am
Jeanne
 
Hm...what makes you think we live better now ? It's hard to imagine from here, and your stories of Baltimore are all else than promising. All those race problems and violence, unemployment and insecurity in the US...or was it like that ever since ?
Dino Manalis Added Nov 28, 2017 - 8:55am
 We should always be optimistic, yet pragmatic, and keep striving for improvements!  Some things are better, others not, we should keep trying!
Dave Volek Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:06am
Author P.J. O'Rourke said it best about some previous golden age: Dentistry!
 
He points out how teeth used to be fixed and how much better we have advanced in this science. With better dentistry, we are to live a more productive and comfortable life.
 
I have had two serious ailments in my life. If this was the great 1950s, I would have probably died in five years with the first ailment. The second, I would have been gone in a few weeks.
 
There's no way I'm going back in time!
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:48am
Stone - there certainly were some benefits - more freedom for one - but it was hard work without all the labour-saving devices and it was cold without central heating.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:50am
Jeanne - for me music peaked in 68/69 and again in 76/78. After that it was odd bands and the scene was disintegrated. As Stone said - music today is nowhere near as good.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:51am
George - security and stability sure play a part. Excitement and searching are good for me though.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:52am
Dino - I would agree with that - some things are miles better and some things are much worse.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 9:53am
Dave - medical advances are something we take for granted. We live longer and healthier now (or most of us).
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 10:10am
Opher
 
Switzerland was mostly service-based since the Thirties (we were never a pure industrial country) and we had central heating since the Fifties. But I agree on medical progress, although today people who get to 90 live their last 20 years mostly BECAUSE of meds - and often are simply quietly suffering and not really enjoying life. My mother was such a case...
Bill Kamps Added Nov 28, 2017 - 11:19am
George thinks people born in the late 1930s had it best because he overlooks some convenient ( for him ) factors. 
 
The people born in the 30s had to live through WWII, and the loss of many loved ones, and family members.  The Korean War, and the Viet Nam also killed an maimed many times the number killed in Iraq, and Afghanistan.
 
Up until the 1960s, blacks lived through government enforced apartheid in the US, and many we denied the right to vote.
 
Medical care was far inferior to today.  There are endless advances that have been made to improve people's lives.
 
Pollution was far greater than today, with DDT sprayed without restraint across crops around the country.  Many rivers were polluted to the point that there were no fish.  Cars produced about 20x the amount of pollution that they do today.  Similarly with power plants.  The EPA did not exist to even begin to address these problems.
 
Most vegetables you bought, came in cans or were frozen.  Fresh fruits and vegetables were not available year round as they are nearly everywhere now.
 
Air travel was available only to the rich.
 
Making a phone call outside your city required long distance phone charges.  There was no internet, and therefore no access to all the information that is available to us for free today. 
 
Air conditioning in the south was not widely available for the average person until the late 1970s. 
 
Yes because of WWII, the economy of the US was breezing along. However to say that is the only thing  that contributes to quality of life is nonsense.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 11:38am
Stone - just saw Peggy Seeger - she was 82 and in rude health - sometimes very rude.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 11:40am
Bill - thanks for that. We do take a hell of a lot for granted. Thanks for going through that.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 1:22pm
Bill
 
So life in the US was really shitty back then. Not here. We didn't send our youth to useless wars and never needed aircon ;-) And we didn't have as many cars - and the ones we had didn't use up so much gas.
 
And we didn't have frozen vegetables until we started to copy US behavior.
 
BTW: Aircon is not healthy at all. I know it from Africa - I would NEVER use that. A fan is enough, and one gets used to heat especially when he grows up there...
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 1:24pm
BTW2: I would have liked to live in the US from 1967 to about 1972 ;-) After that, and with Reagonomics, life seemed to become uncomfortable to me.
opher goodwin Added Nov 28, 2017 - 1:45pm
I lived in California 1979-80 and it was pretty cool. Saw some great concerts and the kids were really cool.
Dave Volek Added Nov 28, 2017 - 1:56pm
Stone
 
I have to agree with your simpler life theory. We, in many ways, are much busier than we were 40 years ago. And maybe we need to look at that.
 
But there is also an upside: we are getting all sorts of interesting life experiences. One of my acquaintances of a previous generation likes to tell the story of her daily childhood excitement was waiting for the train to come to the village. They would then ride on the horse drawn wagon of the station master to deliver the parcels. This must have got old after a few days, but back then it was the only kid entertainment in that village. 
 
My relatives in Calgary managed to raise seven kids in a small bungalow (only four bedrooms). Today we have different expectations. And maybe having too many people in that small house caused its own level of stress and anxiety (they were a semi-dysfunctional family).
 
I didn't mention I had a third ailment, which was exasperated by a lifestyle that was close to burning a candle at two ends.
 
But I think today, we have more choice to determine the level busy-ness we want to engage in. For those whose life is too fast, they can downsize and slow down.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 28, 2017 - 2:00pm
Stone,  its all a matter of where you live.  I was responding to George's comments about the USA. 
 
In 1967 you would have complained about the pollution, the water was filthy, Lake Erie was dead, the air was not fit to breath, DDT was on you food, etc.  Certainly the environment was LESS healthy then than now.
 
In 1967 we had race riots in many of the major cities.  I could see parts of Chicago  burning from my house.  You would have been appalled by how blacks were kept from restaurants, hotels, jobs, it was illegal for blacks to marry whites in many states, illegal for them to go to many colleges, etc.
 
In 1967 we were killing more young men in Viet Nam per year, than in all of Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the full course of those wars. You would have been appalled by Viet Nam and what it cost this country and Viet Nam, in many different ways.
 
In 1967 all you had were canned and frozen vegetables, now they are fresh.  I cant help it you copied our outdated methods. 
 
I like my aircon, it is my preference :)
 
If you went back in time to the USA in 1967, Im sure you would find plenty to complain about :)
 
I can't speak to Africa, whether it was better then, than now.  I know about the USA, it doesnt seem like you do.
Carole McKee Added Nov 28, 2017 - 2:29pm
I think it depends on where you grew up, and what is important to you, as to whether life is better now or before. 
 
I grew up in the 50's and 60's, and what was important then was different than now. We lived in the country, and never had much money. Having a bike was important, and then a record player and records. It was a lot cheaper to make a kid happy then. Now? They have to have smart phones, iPads or tablets, computers, gaming devices, etc. 
 
Back then, parents' word was law. In fact, any adult's word was law. We didn't question; we just obeyed. And what is now child abuse was called discipline back then. So that's either good or bad, depending who you are.
 
One definite improvement now is that girls aren't kept out of sports or higher learning because they are girls. You can't even imagine how heartbroken I was that I couldn't play little league ball. And I was good! But that didn't matter; I was a girl. There were no girls' teams, even. 
 
So, I reiterate. It depends where you grew up, and what is important to you. 
Wendy Skorupski Added Nov 28, 2017 - 2:41pm
Politics and practical examples aside, I think it's easy for all of us (over a certain age) to idealise the past. Hence the standing joke, "When I were a lad ..." (Well - woman, in my case.) But it's true that the past always seems greener, softer, like some sort of palliative potion to all our present woes. And maybe that isn't such a bad thing? To remember nostalgically, even if erroneously, can provide us with comfort in bad times, can't it? Never mind that in reality one of our three wishes would actually NOT be to re-live our 'idyllic' past! But to remember it idyllically, what's wrong with that? Aren't we "such stuff as dreams are made on"? Both past and future?
George N Romey Added Nov 28, 2017 - 2:55pm
We definitely had simpler needs but I’m not sure that is good or bad. The middle class in this country peaked in the early 70s but all were not included. Somethings like air fares and electronics were far more expensive. Would I want to go back to 1967? I’m not sure.
Carole McKee Added Nov 28, 2017 - 3:14pm
George: That's what I mean when I say it depends on what's important to you, and where you grew up. 
 
Back in the 1990's, I met a couple who lived on a farm. They had three children. There was no TV in their house, and they didn't indulge in a lot of outside entertainment. The little girl had no idea what a Barbie Doll was, and for Christmas she was excited because she was getting her own flashlight. The family had never eaten at a McDonald's, or any other fast food chain. They were home-schooled, thus eliminating the outside influences. These kids were strange, according to most other kids. But what I've always wondered is this: What happened when they went out into the world? Or if they even did venture out. At least those of us who are older, were gradually introduced to new things. It would have to be a shock to those kids. 
Bill H. Added Nov 28, 2017 - 4:58pm
Grew up during the '50s and '60s, got married in 1970. I found life to be more "real" then. There was less traffic, crowding, and more jobs and opportunity. I spent many years enjoying the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, and fishing. People were much more cordial and friendly, and as a young kid in my very early teens, we could camp on the local beaches, piers, and other areas without fear of "weirdos" messing with us. Also, the other adults always looked out for us. Reality, science, and life in general could be "discovered" rather than forced into us by computers and dumbphones based on what someone else wanted us to hear or see. Parents absolutely knew how to raise their kids and gave us great examples to live by.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:01pm
Bill
 
Africa didn't change much from 1950 to 2000 really. No cash - no "development". But since the introduction of Internet and dullphones it's changing fast - not for the better. Grown social structures and values die out as they did here too since the 1960's, when TV and mass media began.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:04pm
BTW: I liked the Frisco of 1979 and the Calgary of 1980. That's about what I can say - the time where I worked and lived there. I don't think, from what I see, hear and read, that the US has become a better place than back then.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:34pm
Stone, well of course it is a matter of opinion.  However, many of the ways things are better, are things you dont necessarily see.  Pollution, medical care, legally enforced discrimination, so on, and '79 was not '67 either. 
 
As others have mentioned, there is always a fondness for the "good old days".  My grandparents thought their early times were better, and they lived through the Spanish flu, when millions died in the US, and they grew up without electricity.  Almost certainly there is a mental bias for the past :)
Jeff Michka Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:45pm
Seems the many here feel there was some earlier Golden Ge, where it was all sunshine and clover.  Geo Romey constantly goes on about these various "Golden Ages" where he would "hold value" and reap rewards for just existing.  The same thought process gives you the MAGA morons.  Bill Kamps mentioned some downsides to one of Geo R'S Golden Ages, but it will never come back.  Despite paying $40 for MAGA hats, time marches on.  That means if you want another Golden Age, better build it, so that leaves out Geo R, since it would mean doing something.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 29, 2017 - 1:10am
Bill
 
You're right - I guess that nostalgia is deeply human because it concerns a time when we were YOUNG ;-)
 
Although that counts only for a minority on that planet......I guess 60 % or so of our youth now and then on that planet didn't have or have now such a good life as most of us had.
 
So no reason to complain - we're still alive and well in front of the keyboard :-)
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 4:24am
Wow - it is great to read all these pros and cons of the different ages and experience. It seems to me that it is swings and roundabouts. We've gained and we've lost.
I had an idyllic childhood in the fifties running wild in the countryside, up trees, building dens, in ditches, playing in the streets, cricket, football, track bikes, collecting butterflies and animals. All that has gone.
I had a great teenage years in the sixties with girls, friends, parties, music, bands, travel, motorbikes and festivals.
I had a brilliant twenty and thirties with more music, travelling, raising a family and lots of love.
I had a great thirties, forties and fifties with teaching, writing and children growing up.
I had a brilliant fifties and sixties with my career reaching its peak, travel, writing and friendships.
I'm looking forward to my seventies.
So far it's been quite a trip and I wouldn't have changed it. But those times have all past and can't come back. The world has changed. Some of those times were hard. We were poor. We hitch-hiked and went hungry. There were no labour saving devices or instant communication. But they were great times.
We've been lucky.
Is it better now than it was? In some ways yes. In other ways no.
 
Bill Kamps Added Nov 29, 2017 - 6:35am
The fact that we can communicate with each other, at will and essentially for free, is a sign of progress.  It was not long ago I was on a trip to Brasil and the only way to communicate back to the  US was by fax, because the phones didnt work, and the internet wasnt yet practical. 
 
We know that traveling internationally has given us a much better perspective of how the world works, for better or worse.  For those  that cant travel as much, simply communicating one on one with others in the world should  over time improve our  human condition.  It was not that long ago that  the  only information we got about the world was from one or two TV news stations, and a couple of newspapers.  No internet, no friends overseas, no Google, uTube or other ways of getting information.  As communication improves, it becomes more difficult  for those at the top to manipulate those below them.
 
We can debate how things get done in the world today, but I visited the Soviet Union multiple times, and that place doesnt exist any more.  The first time I visited, most of the people I met never met a person from outside Russia, and they were effectively imprisoned in their own country.  Whatever Russia is today, it is far better than it was in the 1970s, and so are the countries it used to control.  I haven't visited China but surely it is similar, far from perfect but far better than it was in the  1970s.
 
Progress is far from linear.  Some things are better, some worse, some just different.  Look back 100 years or more and its easy to see how far we have come.  Sure, when we look back 40-50 years it is a bit less obvious, and more uneven around the world, but the worldwide trends continue, more literacy, better health care, better transportation and communication.  It is part of human nature to focus on what doesn't work, and take for granted those things that improve our lives.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 7:11am
Bill - yes communication is sure better. The world is a much smaller place. That cannot be bad. We know what is going on everywhere as well. They can't hide things as easily. Being able to talk to all manner of people is brilliant and builds bridges.
I think the world is gradually getting better in many ways - but worse in others.
wsucram15 Added Nov 29, 2017 - 8:29am
Why do we live better now, I think to some degree advances in medicine which have saved millions of lives.  I also see a decline in this area now for profit motive since it has become big business. (less cure-more pharmaceuticals)
Communication, Trade- specifically in items you purchase.
I can remember what a pain it was here to get a foreign car to US standards.  Now many of them arent even foreign cars anymore (in corporate terms yes, but in where they are built no).
 
As far as jobs, I dont think we are better, unless you are involved in technology to any degree.   Which has both helped and done damage to society.
As far as communication..we are much more informed, maybe too much so.  So I feel we have come a long way baby...
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 29, 2017 - 9:01am
As communication improves, it becomes more difficult  for those at the top to manipulate those below them.
 
Nope. The net can be censored around the planet by a handful of tech giants working with governments. And then it will be worse than ever before. Never before it was possible to influence people on a wider scale, get them onto the same way of thinking regardless of their geography, culture or language. Rap/HipHop, McDonalds, the big 6 mass media fakers and fashion brands are only the first signs of it....
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 29, 2017 - 9:04am
BTW: PC and LGBTQIHGPLé@#¼½ are going deeper already. Let's all be cloned by silicone, create unisexthoughtbehavesapiens by mind altering techniques ;-)
Jeff Michka Added Nov 29, 2017 - 10:45am
SEFa contends: BTW: PC and LGBTQIHGPLé@#¼½ are going deeper already-A while back, there was a minor disvussion where Alan Turing was brought up.  You've always seemed a little excised about the LGBTQ community of which Turing was an early member and died, largely in part to fear of homosexuals and prejudice.  We need more brilliant people dead?
Carole McKee Added Nov 29, 2017 - 1:51pm
Bill Kamps: Re: The fact that we can communicate with each other, at will and essentially for free, is a sign of progress. Yes, this is true, but this type of communication has put limitations on face-to-face communication. People don't talk to each other any more. Personally, I despise cell phones. I keep one for emergencies and for travel; but other than that, it never gets used.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 29, 2017 - 1:59pm
I think Opher that those of us currently in our fifties, sixties and seventies, are probably the most fortunate.   We have lived through a period without a major war on our doorstep and through a period of rising prosperity (up until the last ten years anyway).
 
However, I think we have lost some things.  Probably the most valuable thing to have lost is the sense of community.  My parents said of the Second World War:  It was a hard time.  Food was scarce and luxuries non existent.   There was always the threat of loss.  Yet, in many ways, they saw it as the best time of their lives.  Sure they were young then... everything later doesn't seem quite as good as it did when you were young.  However they also said that there was the sense of all being in it together, a sense of belonging.
 
I think that, with the march of technology, we have also loss the knack of entertaining ourselves.  Used to be if you wanted entertainment, you had to go out and meet other people.   That probably meant going down the pub.   There any entertainment on offer was likely to be home made... certainly the music would be.   However you would probably be a participant rather than just a member of the audience.  You were part of a shared experience... with the rest of the community.
 
Today, thanks to mobile technology, we can call up the highest quality of music and other entertainment wherever we are.   We can be lost in our own little world with no need to interact with others.  In many ways it is cheaper and better.
 
However we are meant to be social animals.  It is good for our mental health to mix with others.  To do that today requires much greater personal effort.  And in the numbers of reclusive, failed to launch, youth in our society we see the biggest casualties of this change.
 
But technology itself is not the enemy... it is all down to how we use it.   Robots promise the end of the need for manual labour.   whether that means a golden age of leisure and social interaction... or the misery of poverty and lack of fulfillment, is largely down to us.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 29, 2017 - 2:05pm
The net means that the age old tactic of disinformation is much easier to operate... for governments or other organisations.   The more money you have, the more social media warriors you can get on the case.
 
I heard an interesting discussion on the radio yesterday contrasting the British campaign of disinformation and misdirection aimed at America in 1940-41, aimed at getting them to be more helpful in supporting democracy in its greatest hour of need, and the tactics used by Russia during the 2016 American election.
 
Things have not changed.  There are easier to mange for those who wish to manipulate public opinion. 
 
How else would someone like Trump ever have been elected?
 
One new problem, however, is the sheer mass of information out there... covering all possible views.   It means that you can effectively select what you pay attention to.   Being human, we only listen to "news" which supports our existing prejudices.  The result is the current polarisation of political views and a potential disaster for real democracy.
George N Romey Added Nov 29, 2017 - 2:38pm
Yes the loss of personal interaction is scary. I was talking to a long time flight attendant ready to retire the other day. When she began flying passengers would regularly talk to her about the reason for their trip and their lives. Today they get onboard and immediately put on headphones into their personal device not even interacting with their traveling companions. I think this shift to be centered only on technology and not other humans will one day cause massive social upheaval.
Carole McKee Added Nov 29, 2017 - 2:43pm
George: I see couples out to dinner--each of them holding cell phones. That's ludicrous. 
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:12pm
Stone - the  shady guys can manipulate the news but people can put out videos of what is really happening.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:13pm
Carole - the loss of face to face is a big one. With every gain there is a loss.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:17pm
Robin - yes I feel fortunate. I've lived through the best of each era at the right age - or almost.
That loss of community is another big loss isn't it? The knack of entertaining ourselves or inventing games with nothing. We were good at that. A few twigs, a few stones and we were away.
I really miss the fun I had going around record shops and meeting up with my mates - looking at the great LPs we had discovered and liberated.
That social interaction is the most important thing.
You're right - it is down to us.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:18pm
Robin - a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:19pm
George - we do need to socially interact again.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:19pm
One of the things that make me very proud of my own city, Gloucester:
 
Compared to the other nearby town, Cheltenham, Gloucester is distinctly tatty.   It has a long and varied history.   Arguably in 1643 it turned the course of the English Civil War when it held out against 30,000 of the King's men with just 1500 defenders (giving rise along the way to the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty").   But in World War 2 it was heavily bombed.  The rebuilding was largely done on the cheap.   Today Gloucester has a number of architectural gems surrounded by a sea of "monstrous carbuncles".
 
The people too are somewhat down at heel.  The major manufacturing that once powered the city is long gone.   The people look decidedly rough.
 
Yet, when I go into Gloucester for shopping, I can be sure of having two or three substansive conversations with total strangers.  Something that almost never happens in fashionable Cheltenham.   Gloucester does seem to have a sense of community.  This includes, by the way, a far sized Muslim community together with Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Eastern European.
 
One incident last week brought this into focus for me.  I was driving down by the docks.   One hundred yards or so in front of me, two old ladies were walking across the road at a pedestrian crossing.   One stumbled and fell over.    Before my car got to the crossing to help, a van, going the other way, had screeched to a halt.   Two workmen leapt out (one black, one white BTW) and picked the old lady up and helped her to the side of the road.   Whilst they were checking she was OK, their mate had pulled the van over and, together with a couple of other people, helped the other lady across the road.
 
True the same may have happened in Cheltenham, but I am not certain.  
 
It made me realise that, for all Cheltenham's glitz and glamour, I would rather live in Gloucester.
 
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:19pm
Carole - it is also impolite.
Carole McKee Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:20pm
I agree. It's sad to see that closeness disappear. Not just between lovers, but marriage partners, and family. Or even that certain closeness between strangers. I can remember walking through stores, or just walking down the street, and people would smile and nod, or say hello.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:24pm
Carole - meals are for talking and interacting - no reading, watching TV or devices. That's plain rude.
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:25pm
Carole - people round my village still smile and say hello. We haven't lost that yet. I think it is to do with population density.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:29pm
So a song, this one from World War 1:
 
We are the Gloucester Boys
We are the Gloucester Boys
We know our manners
We spend our tanners
We are respected wherever we go
When we're marching down the Bristol Road
Doors and windows open wide
We are the boys from Gloucester so
We're loved by friend and feared by foe
We are the Gloucester Boys
 
The Gloucester's won distinction in both world wars and, most notably, in Korea, for their famous stand at the Imjin River when 650 Gloucesters faced 10,000 Chinese.   (Only 46 out of 650 escaped with six of those being gunned down by American tanks who mistook their ragged forms for Chinese troops)
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 3:34pm
Robin - such is the power of community.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 29, 2017 - 4:49pm
RRBS sez: So a song, this one from World War 1: We are the Gloucester Boys-Mostly all dead or wounded after a sunny afternoon on the Somme. AND opher sez: meals are for talking and interacting - no reading, watching TV or devices. That's plain rude.-And a shame in the company of good people and cuisine. 
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 6:13pm
Jeff - I always think that we should not waste good company and cheer.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 29, 2017 - 6:21pm
opher sez: I always think that we should not waste good company and cheer-Both are in short enough supply as is. 
opher goodwin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 6:24pm
Jeff - all the more reason to nurture them eh?
A. Jones Added Nov 29, 2017 - 10:42pm
A good employer meant a good job for life with a traditional pension.
 
Sounds boring.  
 
Let's take a poll to test whether or not things were really better yesterday than they are today:
 
How many people here under the age of 50 would love to have the same job (whatever it happens to be) for their entire lives, and then retire with a gold pocket-watch and a pension?
 
Show of hands, please.
 
1. My vote: nay.
opher goodwin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 4:37am
Are there many under 50 on this site?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Nov 30, 2017 - 7:16am
Not too many I guess...
George N Romey Added Nov 30, 2017 - 8:12am
If it meant financial security damn right I’d take it. I’m smart enough to fill my life with constructive activities and what stops me is financial resources. When I was a teenager I wanted to become a firefighter. My parents said no go to college and eventually to grad school. If I had did what I wanted today I’d be retired drawling a nice pension with a side job. And what has my MBA gotten this 58 year old and many like me-not much.
opher goodwin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 9:23am
My qualifications got me into a great career in teaching George. I guess life is a roll of the dice.
Carole McKee Added Nov 30, 2017 - 12:33pm
Opher: meals are for talking and interacting - no reading, watching TV or devices. That's plain rude. I agree. When my kids were growing up, cell phones hadn't been invented yet, thank goodness. But that would have been a strictly enforced rule--(Not at the table during dinner). I was a single parent most of the time they were growing up, and I had very strict, unbreakable rules. By unbreakable, I meant "go ahead, try."
 
 And yes, My brother Marshall is very much an authority-type person.
 
Dave Volek Added Nov 30, 2017 - 1:33pm
When I was younger, I would say that a 40-year job with a pension would have been boring. Now that I'm older and gone through a few health challenges and found a job that works within those challenges, I would prefer to stay with this job for another 10 years (but there's no pension here).
 
There is no guarantee that any degree will provide a job with good income. Statistically speaking though, a degree will provide a higher lifetime income than a trade or a high school diploma. Attaining a degree has prepared one for a higher level of reading, writing, and critical thinking. Those skills can be taken anywhere--even if the degree and job don't really match.
 
 
 
Dr. Rupert Green Added Nov 30, 2017 - 2:01pm
"The past was not really so great. The future is looking bright. Not all politicians are greedy, selfish bastards with their snouts in the trough. Some are idealists who are still looking for ways to make life better.
 
Perhaps it is time to be more optimistic? After the megalomania of Trump and the establishment loving Tories there might be a new age with idealistic politicians who will dump the establishment and forge a better world.
 
Where we are is pretty good. I think we should appreciate it more. It was hard fought for." Opher
 
@Opher. Yes, in the days of our youth I couldn't wait to grow up, I would pull on that one strand of hair that came out on my chin.  But now, being older, we look back to those days as being better than the present.
 
When you watched television, if you had one, imagination rather than the sight of sex, gore, and gristly death was the way to see things. The schemata held true then. When you saw some men gathering, you know a fight was the likely outcome.  Now as you watch TV with you grand, you are on edge because the schemata/script has been flipped. Men having pillow talk is the new outcome from the gathering of men.
 
Granted that the poverty you described was real, people in my native Jamaica did not see poverty. They saw living and having the opportunity to grow their own food and raise animals to support their family.
 
Today, the youth do not want to work; they steal crops and life stocks, and murder at the drop of a hat. They curse and swear before adults. They disrespect women with their vile language and foul music (granted that there were some real abuse of women in the day).
 
Nonetheless, a girl was not normally loose and trampy. As a boy, you had to present yourself circumspectfully to the father of a girl you were interested in.  You likely had to go through her brothers, the neighbors, and dogs before you even had a chance to see the father, much less hold her hands.  Perhaps those are the things that make one pine for the good old days.
 
And those with such longing will overlook all facts that the olden days  were not so good, as American overlooked the "vile ways" of Candidate Trump to hope for better days than those of the present. 
 
 
 
 
opher goodwin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 2:41pm
Carole - we had a relaxed family but meals were at the table and we talked. I loved those family times and miss them now that they've flown.
opher goodwin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 2:46pm
A. Jones/Dave - I was a livewire when I was young. I wanted to travel and do things. The idea of a career was an anathema. But teaching found me and I found I loved it. It was satisfying and fulfilling. The kids kept you thinking. They were passionate, questioning and alive. They kept me on my toes. Before I realised it I had been doing it for 36 years. Loved it. I was able to do my writing and had my family. A perfect life.
opher goodwin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 2:51pm
Dr RG - Yes - out of adversity come a new age. I believe that. Maybe the travails of Trump and Brexit will fill us with messianic fervour and we will soar to new heights of love and brotherhood/sisterhood. I hope so.
Out of darkness comes light.
In many ways the old days were simpler happier times. I can picture the life you describe even though I've never been to Jamaica. Nowadays it's all about money and status.
I was happiest when I was poor.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 30, 2017 - 5:51pm
Dr. Green:  Manley or Seaga? I suspect Michael Manley, but....
Jeff Michka Added Nov 30, 2017 - 5:52pm
opher notes: Jeff - all the more reason to nurture them eh?-And be thankful and appreciative of them both, deeply.
Simply Jews Added Dec 1, 2017 - 4:17am
SEF - I can join your nostalgia for the past.
 
- The weather was much better (the cold less cold and the hot less hot)
- The time that takes me to walk 1 km was much shorter then...
- The bread and meat were better, at least easier to chew
- The quality of alcohol I used to consume was better - today I can hardly taste it.
- The girls were smiling at me and today I might as well be transparent.
- And many more things that changed for worse...
 
However, if a few medical advances didn't happen during the last 20 years, I would be dead as a doorknob now and wouldn't be able to complain about the obviously glorious past. And so would be millions of other people. But who knows...
 
Simply Jews Added Dec 1, 2017 - 4:18am
Oh, and I forgot - there was my Commodore 64...
opher goodwin Added Dec 1, 2017 - 10:02am
Jeff - spot on.
opher goodwin Added Dec 1, 2017 - 10:03am
Simple Jews - I've noticed that about the girls too.
Carole McKee Added Dec 1, 2017 - 12:16pm
Opher & Simply Jews: LOL! Girls don't smile at you any more? Well, when I was younger men would practically trip over their feet and almost break their necks to grab a door and hold it open for me. Now, those same men will let the door slam in my face. Ah, the price of getting old!
opher goodwin Added Dec 1, 2017 - 12:22pm
I know - but it has its benefits - if I could only remember what they were.
Simply Jews Added Dec 1, 2017 - 12:23pm
But Carole, today they let that door slam because otherwise they might be accused of whatisitsname: masculine toxicity, male chauvinism, patriarchal behavior etc ;-)
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:34am
SJ - there certainly has been some confusion thrown into the world of men. Open a door for a female and you could find yourself accused of condescension or lasciviousness. It creates a window of uncertainty. But I usually open doors.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:25pm
I open doors for anyone... whatever gender or age.  No-one has complained so far...at least not to my face
Robin the red breasted songster Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:29pm
One thing was better in the past.    We used to have American Presidents helping us to defend democracy and defeat fascism.   Today we have the orange baboon promoting fascism by retweeting Britain First (and then, when told off about it by Theresa May, standing behind his actions as being correct).  That is not progress.
Carole McKee Added Dec 2, 2017 - 4:24pm
SJ: Well, it really wasn't all that long ago that men ran to hold doors for me. I always looked pretty young for my age, so when I was 50 people thought I was 30. Now that I'm 70, I look 50, so here come the doors, right in my face. :-} And yes, Robin, I hold doors for everyone, too.
 
And Robin, I totally agree with you concerning the Moron L'Orange. He is destroying everything this country stands for.
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 6:23pm
Robin/Carole - who would have thought we'd ever get to the position where a President openly supports fascism?
Jeff Michka Added Dec 3, 2017 - 12:41pm
RRBS sez: That is not progress. -Nope, but it is Trumpism.  White guy "Americans" love fascism.  It's a good way to get at people who don't look like them, or feel they've got special rights just because they're white, and "the other" needs to be put back in their place.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 3, 2017 - 1:57pm
Carole M sez: Now, those same men will let the door slam in my face. Ah, the price of getting old!-You seem to have a lot of rude people around you.  Holding a door is a matter of manners, IMO.
Carole McKee Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:15pm
Well, let's just say that it happened when I lived in Erie, PA. There were a lot of rude people up there. Unfriendly, unhelpful, and rude.
opher goodwin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 6:07pm
Jeff - thank heavens they only represent a small number.
opher goodwin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 6:08pm
Carole - move to my village. They are very polite and friendly here.
Carole McKee Added Dec 4, 2017 - 12:06pm
Opher: Where is your village? Now that I live in Florida, I find that Pittsburgh, PA must be a fluke. Because, in Pittsburgh, there was always someone willing to help me when I needed help. Down here, nobody will do anything for you unless you show them the money. Southern hospitality? As long as I've been here, I believe that is a myth. I swear, if it weren't for the cold weather, I'd move right back to my roots in Pittsburgh.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 6:45am
Carole - I live in Yorkshire. I moved up here from London in 1975. I like it but I miss the cosmopolitan buzz of the city still. The best thing here is the community and the countryside.
I've only been to Florida once for a week. I enjoyed the mangrove swamps, the warmth and sea. It seemed very commercial though. I've never been to Pittsburg. I've lived in Boston and LA and stayed with my daughter in Baton Rouge (a chance to visit New Orleans and Mississippi and Memphis and Nashville).