I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s which often get called “the good old days”. But were they?
Right now I’m working on a presentation connected to my memoir The Enemies Within Us
and that is the focus of the presentation. I’m not going to spoil it all by telling you the conclusion I come to or how I get there. Not going to reveal the setup of the presentation. Not yet anyway.
But this attitude seems to be universal, at least when you get to my age. And so you get lost in a nostalgic haze where reminiscing is the key word. You can do it in your mind on your own or you can do it with your longtime friends from way back in your school days.
I did that this last weekend when visiting my “old” school friend who I had reconnected with eight years at…you guessed it… a high school reunion. She is now living with her younger sister and when I was there the three of us got into a big discussion of ” Do you remember?” Teachers got a big part here, especially when I mentioned the nun who was school principal at our grade school, Holy Cross when I was in grade eight there, my friend’s sister nodded her head vigorously. The three of us each had a Sister C. story. I related my story from when I was in grade 8, which is depicted in my memoir (although I use pseudonyms). This nun picked on me, plain and complex. She was complex and so was I – like two complexities butting heads, except she was loud and nasty and I was shy and scared and always wanted to please.
Twenty-one years ago I found out from another friend who became a nun (a nice friendly nun) what became of Sister C. So, I spewed it out short and blunt to my friends last weekend.
“She left the convent, got married, had some kids, and died,” I said.
My friend, who sees the bright side of things wondered if marriage and kids and not being a nun suited her better and she was happy then.
I don’t really think so. To me she got her just desserts.
Which brings me to today, i.e., the last few months, even years – personally and universally. Does what we are living through, putting up with, getting shoved at us, make us look back in nostalgia on certainly less complicated times, less erratic times, and certainly times with a much smaller population, not just world wide, but in towns and cities in the country (Canada) and province (Ontario) where I now live. Even in the span of 46 years, the town I lived in for 23 years (Aurora, Ontario) has grown in population and area. When I moved there in 1975 with my then husband, Aurora’s population was 13,500. Granted the public transit was lousy, but the people knew each other and connected one way or the other. That is different now in a town (excuse me, maybe city?) of around 62,000 people as the latest count says. I have returned to Aurora a few times since moving back to Toronto in late 1998 and each time I do so, the number of people I used to know “back then when I lived there” keeps dwindling and not just from dying but moving on and/or just disappearing ,it seems.
The more people around the more problems. And then there is the change in the way we do many things, i.e., technology. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer using a computer to a typewriter, and research is much easier on the Internet than going to libraries and archives, etc. But I love going to libraries and archives.
Everybody, myself included, seems to be so angry. And I don’t think it is just COVID-19 and all its variants, plus the repercussions of changes we have had to make because of it. But wasn’t too much change well into overdrive before COVID-19?
COVID -19 or not, let me give you a short list (read not the whole she-bang) of the big things that have gone haywire, gone wrong in my life in just the last month. Here is the list including some of the items’ ramifications
My laptop was hacked and the fallout included having to change all my passwords, change a credit card account where the hackers got in. Fortunately, my son is a computer techie specializing in software development and the like. So he cleaned up the laptop, changed the passwords I had trouble doing, etc. I am still in the process of filing a police report for this scam/fraud because you call the non-emergency number and get put on hold and the online report won’t let you get to the next page unless you fill in all the blanks. I got railroaded on the online report by where the crime wa committed. The laptop was in my residence but that type of residence isn’t listed in the report.
Within days of each other the house got two leaks within – the tank in the ancient toilet in the upstairs bathroom and the water metre. The latter is city owned and was replaced at no cost. I had to pay for a new toilet. But worse, because of the two leaks (who knows how long they were going on internally) my water bill kept escalating. Now with the waste collection fee added my bill is very high. I can apply for a rebate, but the lady at the utility I spoke to said I should go for it and since the leaks were fixed my water bill consumption has gone down.
And my roof leaked in two places – the two bedrooms – the other night with the wicked storm – heavy winds, thunder and ligtning and rain falling sideways. But the good news is no water got in my basement – then.
And somewhere in there I have to update my senior’s health coverage for prescriptions as I now qualify for free prescriptions again for the next year. It’s based on your annual income.
And the Ontario government in its infinite wisdom is turning all their ID into digital apps, which means cell phones although some of them allow for laptops. I don’t have a cellphone. I am blind in one eye so a cellphone screen is too small for me to see. So do I cart my laptop around when i go to the optometrist. One TV news story, but not the Ontario government website said going digital is optional. I am not going digital with this one.
And I can’t get my eyes tested because the optometrists are on strike against the Ontario government, which means they aren’t seeing us seniors because our visits to optometrists are covered by the government’s health plan. And we aren’t allowed to pay our way temporarily because that is illegal.
So I have to suffer indefinitely with a pair of two-year old eye glasses with permanent scratches and smudges that came from who knows where on the lens for my seeing eye. Some days I have my face almost up to my laptop screen and one of my current working tools is a magnifying glass. Appropriate for someone who also writes mysteries, i.e., the Beyond mystery series whose main character is PI Dana Bowman.
So do I think the 50s and 60s are the gold old days?
What do you think?
Before you answer that check out my memoir here.
Sharon A. Crawford
The M and M writer.
P.S. I fight back. I get after all the “perpetrators” of these problems and others not mentioned. I used my writing skills for writing letters of complaints. I tell people off where necessary.
And I write my latest Beyond mystery, promote my memoir (and that entails writing too), keep my writing group going, help other writers, keep close to my son and some cousins, and close friends by phone, Facebook, Zoom, some in person (social distancing), and I garden.
Pulling weeds is very therapeutic, especially when you give them names.