What Did Your Parents Do?

My parents grew flowers for many years. In 1968 we moved from Encinitas, just a couple blocks from the beach to a community within Encinitas a few miles away called Leucadia. My parents cut down the avocado trees in the backyard not too long after the move and I started taking the bus to kindergarten. My mom used to walk me the two blocks to the bus stop most days. I do seem to remember walking without her at least part of the way at some point. I guess maybe she went back to the house after she saw other kids at the stop. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I remember counting to a thousand while I was waiting. Even at that age I liked numbers.

We lived there until the summer of 1976. My mom, sister and I went on vacation to Chicago and Indiana to visit relatives and when we came back my dad and older brother had moved us to Valley Center, but that’s a different story.

Leucadia was pretty neat for a little kid back then. Even today they have bumper stickers that say, “Keep Leucadia Funky” and I wouldn’t mind moving back there. Maybe in about five years we’ll be able to afford it. Interesting that we can’t afford to live where I did when I was little. I guess that’s true for a lot of people these days, but that’s another story, too.

In kindergarten I met a couple friends who would be friends for years. Years later one of them, Terri, would be the first girl to give me a real kiss. My family was unusual for the area because my dad grew up a poor country boy in Illinois and many of his habits stayed with him.

After planting carnations where the avocado trees used to be, we also raised rabbits and chickens. Both for food. My friend, Terri, was horrified that we would butcher the rabbits. She only saw it once that I remember. Lots of people were surfers in our neighborhood and my older brother was no exception, but I don’t think anyone else had rabbit for dinner. No. It doesn’t taste like chicken. The year before we moved I raised a pig. Again, my father’s influence as he was in Future Farmers of America and that was a big deal. That and little league for us. Although he didn’t play baseball. He was a three-sport athlete. His favorite was basketball. He was a star of his little school in Toulon, Illinois. But the school was so small that if you wanted to play basketball you had to go out for football. THAT’S a small school. I got the idea that track or cross-country running was a close second to basketball.

My older brothers and I all played baseball and I liked bowling and swimming, too.

I don’t remember how long my parents grew carnations, but I do remember that by the time we left in 1976 we were growing vegetables in a huge garden in the backyard. We also had a really big hill (for a backyard) where we grew strawberries at least two summers in a row.

There were only three houses on Patty Lane where we lived. It was an L-shaped street and we lived at the end of it. Today there are four houses on that street as they subdivided my parent’s property after we sold it in 1976. My guess is that both residences there are worth around $2 Million combined. My parents sold it for something like $52,500 after buying it for $39,000 in 1968. They thought they did well at the time.

We had one of the first Subarus sold in the United States. It was REALLY small. Maybe about the size of one of those mini-coopers today, though taller I think. My dad was really scrunched up driving it, but I think it was just under $2,000 when he bought it in the late 1960s. My mom drove a big maroon station wagon and my little sister who was probably four when we bought the Subaru, asked if it would be as big as the station wagon when it grew up.

I had very little knowledge of the war going on at that age, but as I started watching more television I eventually saw something that people don’t believe happened on TV. I remember seeing it in the early 1970s. It changed everything and I saw it on the news which I’m pretty sure was live or delayed very little. A South Vietnamese general actually shot someone in the head right on camera and that really got people’s attention. I’ve told many people that I saw this and most think that I made it up or remembered someone telling me about it, but let me tell you that a kid remembers something like that.

Our neighborhood was peaceful except for a neighbor who was eventually taken away to a mental hospital. And, unlike today, you didn’t see much violence on TV except for news coverage of the Vietnam War. But seeing something so up close and personal is astounding in such a relatively peaceful atmosphere. I am a little tired and I guess I’m saying that it was different back then.

Now kids play video games with violence from a very young age in many cases and experts say that by the time they are 18, most kids have seen over 25,000 acts of serious violence on television, video games, the internet, etc…

Back then most of my “violence” came from Bugs Bunny and we didn’t see it as violence at the time. Except for the news. We watched Walter Cronkite as most people did. It’s interesting that my dad, who was pretty conservative in many ways, didn’t seem to have a problem with Cronkite, who was fairly liberal.

What many younger people don’t appreciate is that the news made a real, concerted effort to be as close to objective as possible. I think Walter Cronkite cried a little when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but other than that I don’t remember him showing that much deep emotion. He read the news. But he did have the background as a newsman that so many today don’t have.

So many today are simply readers of the news.

I remember when the networks (and there were only three at the time) decided that the news needed to make a profit.

If there was ever an indictment of strict capitalism, the news attempting to make a profit seems to me to be a big one.

I don’t think I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses at the news. Honestly.

When you had more people honestly attempting to be so close to objective in their reporting, it seemed to be of a higher quality. Also, without the profit motive so directly involved, there were a lot more important stories covered. Not much fluff, certainly not in the national and international news.

More educated and thoughtful reporters and anchors and many of today’s “news” people wouldn’t even be able to get a job back then as they are/would be unqualified to do the job.

You also wouldn’t see something like Fox News where they clearly have a conservative axe to grind and when push comes to shove, they are very similar to being an arm of the Republican Party. You might like that. That I don’t doesn’t change the truth of it.

I agree with Keith Olbermann that it’s really Faux News.

And simply calling it “Fair & Balanced” doesn’t mean that it is. You might debate that with me, but one sad thing is that there are people so young that they don’t even realize that Fox can simply claim that without it being true. Many younger people think that IF they say that it must be true, right?

Amazing. I never thought I would look back so fondly on the 1970’s.


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