No. 451



Several weeks ago I got a note from Doris Brown, who reads this column in the Times-Leader, published each Wednesday and Saturday in Princeton, Kentucky. These are good people over in Kentucky and I have enjoyed my relationship with them for several years now. Doris passed along something titled, "For All The Folks Born Before 1945." She just barely caught me, because I was born in 1938 and by 1945 I had not yet perfected my jump shot. Come to think of it, I never did perfect that thing.

Something very important happened in the history of our nation in 1945. Do you know what it was? Most older Americans can tell you that World War II started on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed our Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, but would be hard pressed to tell you the date World War II ended. On September 2, 1945 the final instrument of surrender was signed on the battleship Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, and the fighting in World War II ended. We have had wars since then, but none as pivotal as this Great War, because the very survival of our country was at stake.

From all accounts, I know many young people read my column. If you are a young person, I hope you will really tune me in because what I am going to share may give you a leg up, when it comes to planning your life and your career. In fact, all Americans should have an interest in taking a trip back in time, because the free air we breathe and the wonderful economic opportunities we have were made possible because of the tremendous sacrifices of people who lived before us. As I thought about the years leading up to 1945, it was interesting to think about many of the outstanding Americans who lived and made a great contribution back in those days.

The list is inexhaustible, but a few off the top of my head are Paul Revere, Orville & Wilbur Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Bob Hope, John Wayne, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Clark Gable, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Dizzy Dean, Jesse Owens, George Washington Carver, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller and on an on. These are people who just came to mind. I know that if you were compiling a similar list, you would leave off some while adding others.

A this point I would like to share the article I mentioned earlier and it begins with the words, "Consider the changes we have witnessedÉWe were born before television, before penicillin, frozen food and the PILL. We were born before radar, split atoms, laser beams and ballpoint pens, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes and before man walked on the moon. We got married first then lived together. In our time, closets were for clothes, not for "coming out of." Bunnies were small rabbits and not Volkswagens.

Designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent and Outer Space was the back of the Riviera Theater. We were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, yogurt and guys wearing earrings. For us, time-sharing meant togetherness- not computers or condominiums; a "chip" meant a piece of wood; hardware meant hardware and software wasn't even a word.

"Made in Japan," meant junk and the term "making out" referred to how you did on your exam. Pizzas,Ê "McDonalds" and instant coffee were unheard of. The 5 and 10 cent stores were where you bought things for five and ten cents. Ice cream cones were a nickel or a dime. For one nickel you could ride on a streetcar, make a phone call, buy a cola or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards. Gas was 11 cents a gallon. In our day, GRASS was mowed, COKE was a cold drink and POT was something you cooked in. ROCK MUSIC was Grandma's lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the Principal's office."

To be honest, I don't know what I could add to this article that would make it any better, but I am grateful for my heritage. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices, the dedication, the work, the creativity, the patriotism, the ingenuity and the moral, family and character values that has made the United States of America the greatest nation in the history of civilization. These people built the foundation. Now it's up to us to continue to build or see it crumble. Thanks, Doris, for sharing. I hope my readers enjoyed this article as much as I did. Ê(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)