Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back porch history

I've noticed what appears to be a trend among people. Many who seem to have the greatest awareness about today's precarious times were part of the generation growing up when oral histories of the Great Depression were being passed along as routine back porch conversations years ago.

There was a time in America when people spent hours together engaged in simple conversation. No TV. No radio. No iPods or iPads. Just time together at the end of the day or in passing time on a weekend afternoon.

I'm glad I grew up in the tail end of an era that had fewer distractions, where family would sit for hours on a back porch swapping simple stories and tall tales about both good times and bad.

History runs in cycles just like life. The old folks knew it. They learned it from even older folks they listened to while sitting on a swing, a rocker or lawn chair on a hot summer afternoon while growing up.

Family gatherings still happen today, but often not with same frequency or focus. And there are fewer and fewer folks around who can share first hand stories of economic depression or world war. The younger generation is missing out. They tend to think history comes from a book or a class. My fascination with history started with family on those backyard afternoons.

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