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The years pass, and some good things are lost

The Examiner

Happy Remembrance Day dear and gentle readers. That’s the name we under the influence of the British Empire use for Nov. 11.

I remember at school every Nov. 11t we would observe two minutes silence at 11 a.m., and even now I try to do that. A very small show of respect for the sacrifices made to keep all of us free.

Annie Dear

But really – how free are we?

I saw a post on Facebook the other day – “would you swap your childhood for one from today” – and the resounding answer was “hell no!”

Back then we were free, I believe. For a start, there was no social media. When I joined Facebook years ago, it was really terrific to be able to link up with new and old friends and members of my family. Now the site is plagued with fake entries, hacking, creepy people asking to be your ‘friend’, bullying – of all ages - and censorship. 

Then along romped in all the other bandwagon leapers, and Instagram and Tiktok and Twitter – to name probably just a few – are vying for our sign-ups and time, only to expose ourselves to more potential harm.

I am so pathetically grateful my darling Madam is not a teenager now.  I cannot imagine the stress kids go through today all because of this insidious beast, and how parents have to show extreme vigilance to keep their children safe.

As a kid, I was free to go exploring barefoot in the creek near our house with all the neighboring friends without fear of the aforementioned creepy people lurking about. I could walk up to the local shops by myself. I could drink water from the hosepipe. I could spend my carefree days without a thought to any dangers – well, apart from a bite from a funnel web spider, which was to be avoided at all cost.

Polio was being eradicated by widespread vaccinations against the terrible disease. But we were still a little in the dark with mumps, chicken pox and measles unlike today. I had the lot of them and managed to come out the other side pretty OK.

It seemed, if memory serves me well, that there were only a few things I feared. Getting annual shots was certainly one of them. I’d climb up on top of the car to escape Dad’s ankle grip to get me in the darn thing. It only just occurred to me that I think my mother "duck-shoved" this responsibility onto my father so she could avoid the obvious trauma of getting her youngest to the doc.

Nightmares were frightening, of course – but thankfully they’ve abated over the years.  Being shamed for a wrongdoing was something I feared – and still do. Letting mum and dad down wasn’t something to be taken lightly.

And then there are all the incredibly happy memories I’ve amassed through my life. The joy of days at the beach, all of us slathered up with coconut oil so that we could achieve the maximum tan in the minimum time. The joy of wonderful family and friends.

It’s time we were again allowed to look forward, to have joy in our lives and not cower to the doom merchants who want to suck every happiness from us.

Something to remember, indeed.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedear@icloud.com.