1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Life:  The form of existence that
distinguishes animals and plants from
inorganic substances and dead organisms.

Dan Duff

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”   That phrase seems to identify just about every generation ever to stand on the earth’s surface.  Surely, we live in a day when we could say the phrase fits us better than it did the day it was penned.  There has never been a time when men feel more pressured, more worked, yet have more money and time than they know what to do with. Am I talking about the roaring twenties, or the forties or the fifties?  Or do I speak of today.  It doesn’t matter what answer you  give.  Both are right.  Every generation entering this pathway of life thinks their time of living and working is a mixture of the best of times and the worst of times.  Every generation believes their generation has had it the roughest.

We read about ancient times when Solomon was the richest of all men.  Yet, Solomon didn’t have the basic utilities we have today.  He had no running water or electricity. If he wanted a bath, water had to be carried and heated then carried to the royal bath for the king.  When I was a kid we did that, but the royal bath was behind the kitchen stove on Saturday night.    He had more money than the gross national product for the present day United States, but had not one of the basic conveniences of today. He had no gas or telephones. That could answer the question of how he got so rich.  Solomon waited days or even weeks for an answer to a message sent to or from one of his governors. Today we can send a message around the world and have an answer back within minutes.  Seconds if its by instant messenger. Then of course we can always reach into our pocket and pull out my mobile phone and call them up.   The magical communication watch that Dick Tracy wore is almost a thing of the past.   So you could say except for the bank account, with all our conveniences today,  we are all  richer than Solomon.

A lot is written about the “good old days”.  A lot of people say they would like to go back to those days when life was slower and more gentle.  People were more honest and neighborly.  A time when people cared a lot more for each other and were more willing to go that extra mile.  A time when even the worst of people still had some basic good in them.  Is that true or was it just as bad?  We had no frenzy feeding press to dive into the story and keep it alive on TV and radio for weeks on end.

We are at war today.  Fighting terrorism either in some country halfway around the world or in our own back yard. It seems there is always a war going on somewhere.  Every time you watch the news or read a newspaper, there seems to be another conflict somewhere with men and countries at loggerheads.  When you think about it, there have always been wars and rumors of wars.  Today we have a way of fighting that has a minimum of casualties.  We have lost very few men to actual combat in Afghanistan.  Most of the casualties are from accidents involving high tech equipment.

We have medicine today that can keep us going long past the life expectancy of the good old days.  Doctors can even clone life now if they wish. I just hope they never clone me. It would be a shame to have two people like me running around.  The happy side of that would be someone to blame for all the fool things I do.

Travel in the good old days was slow, burdensome and tiring.  Today we can board a plane and be landing in Europe before our breakfast trays are recovered by the flight attendants.  Not too long ago it was possible to travel, but if it were by plane or ship, it was very expensive.  Today you can pick up the Sunday travel section in the paper and find a bargain with rock bottom prices  for ships and planes going anywhere.

We can go into a supermarket and buy an apple that was picked off the tree yesterday in a country some people don’t even know exists.  We can buy clothes made in china or the latest fashion from a style shop.

The good old days were the worst of times and the best of times. Today's world is the worst of times and the best of times.  The politicians it seems have never been more crooked, the police have never had their hands so full of problems,  the schools have never been so hard to teach in or to learn in.

Today’s world is fast and furious with instant gratification at the center of a “me generation”, but make no mistake about it.  I’ll take today’s world.  Maybe I can find a lot of faults in the “me generation”, but for me, these are the best of times.