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Remembering the ‘Good Old Days’

May 18, 2017 • Editorial

I suspect the headline of this article will turn away some readers who cringe anytime they hear someone bring up the way things used to be. The good old days.
“I remember back when I was a kid. We had to walk 4 miles through 3 feet of snow just to get to school!” You can almost hear one collective “whoosh” as hands quickly lift to cover ears and eyes shut tight so as to completely block out what is coming next.
I get it. I was young once too and heard these wistful –– sometimes greatly exaggerated –– tales from my elders way too many times. All I could think was, “Not again. What does this have to do with me? Besides, it didn’t snow all year, did it?”
It always seemed like the walking-to-school story went on to a list of complaints about how things and people had changed. But now I surprisingly find myself closing in on turning 70 and wistfully thinking back to “my good old days” when walking to and from school may not have involved 4 miles or any snow, but I, too, have a list of complaints about how things and people have changed.
Change happens, but not all change is good. I long to be heard as I am sure my elders did, to speak to those who have lost sight of what it means to put others first and to show respect. I know now that my grandparents’ story of walking to school in the snow was just their way of opening up a discussion about their frustration over how things had changed for them.
I often wish my grandparents and parents were still around. Obviously I miss them and would love to have them in my life, but so many times I think to myself, “If grandma was only here, I know what she would be saying,” or “Wow. My mom would have been speechless if she saw this.” Unfortunately, more likely than not, I know they would be shocked and disappointed to be witnesses to the lack of old-fashioned courtesy and patience. You all know what I mean… cars that race around you giving you a hand gesture because you were actually going the speed limit. Those who put lives at risk texting while driving because their on going conversations are just too urgent to wait.
What makes me wistful today and frustrated is the way people of all ages seem to be losing all sense of courtesy, thoughtfulness and consideration. Respect is being lost to rudeness. Selfishness is replacing selflessness. What is right and fair takes a back seat to doing what the individual wants, regardless of others.
I see it daily, and this is my prime example: parking lots of stores and the shopping itself, it is a free-for-all. Park where you want, even if lines and signs clearly indicates no. Park right in front of the doors… after-all, you are above the rest of the shoppers; you get to park where you want. Make it up to fit you.
By all means, leave your empty cart wherever you wish. You are way too important to walk your cart to a designated area. Ignore the “20 items or less” sign. That sign isn’t talking to you. Go ahead. No one is going to notice your 32 items.
And absolutely, wait until every item is bagged and you are fully checked out before you decide to write your check, or get your payment for the cashier. Then take all the time you want to finally move out of the way so all the people who were waiting for you can finally move forward. No problem, you are No. 1. I see the worst of the worst when I shop.
You get where I am going? “Back in my day” our report cards not only showed our academic progress, it also graded our behavior. Citizenship some called it. Plays well with others? Are you courteous? Using good manners? Sharing? Being respectful? I am thankful my parents valued those grades above academics.
I hope readers who see themselves in this will go back to the good old days of considering others first. I hope some will listen to my wistful yearnings because it isn’t really about walking in snow… it is all about a mindset that goes back many generations when people put others first and showed respect and fairness. Be a good citizen, it never goes out of date!
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Linda Kral was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She and her husband moved to Roswell in July 2005. She is happily retired and can be reached at LKral@cableone.net.

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