“Dad, how does it feel to live at the end of an era?”
In the late 1940’s, once a year we traveled half way across a time zone from Milwaukee, WI to Sioux Falls, SD. It was a hard dawn to dark trip. We always strapped a couple of tires on top of the car. Sustained high speed driving at 50 miles an hour always meant at least one blown out tire.
In the ‘Oh! Oh!’ decade, we flew from Helsinki, Finland to Minneapolis, MN across seven time zones in about half the time. Certainly, in greater comfort as we were fed wine and great food while watching current movies.
In 1955 when my wife became “Mrs.”, she gave up the legal right to have a credit card in her own name. Strange! She earned more than I did.
A few years later, Willie and I were sitting on a bench at a bus stop. We had deep concern for our wives. The transistor radio spewed out excited news of National Guard armed check points around the city. Some shooting deaths had occurred as riots sparked by Martin Luther King’s death continued.
Our wives were trapped in the riot zones. Willie was black. I was white. The boundary between our colors was firm. We could only meet and worry together in a neutral zone of a business street corner.
Just the other day, I was visiting with Pixie. As part of our conversation he told me how excited he was about going into Junior High. And well he should be! His Cerebral Palsy makes learning to read, write and speak difficult.
I asked him what he was most looking forward to. He smirked and said, “Kissing all the hot girls!”
We talked face to face on Skype, with him in his suburban home; me in my downtown condo.
“Dad, how does it feel to live at the end of an era?” The question is better framed: ‘How does it feel to live your entire adult life in transition from era to new era to another new era?’
I’ve enjoyed the Mobility Revolution of Interstate Highways, better engineered autos and affordable air travel. I’m saddened by continuing anger over the Civil Rights Revolution. I’m excited by the Digital Revolution’s new possibilities for communicating.
Six decades of radical advances in technology has transformed the texture of daily life. Most, if not all of it, brought us a good if different lifestyle.
Somehow, I find it wonderfully reassuring that Pixie wants to ‘Kiss all the hot girls!’