Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 20, 2013

Were they really good old days? You decide

When a fellow gets old, it’s not unusual for his mind to wander back to the days of his youth. He may forget where he laid his glasses five minutes ago, yet he can remember events that took place a half a century ago. This is one of the interesting things of old age.

In 1938, there were no nonsensical laws forbidding youngsters from getting a part-time job. I was nearing 11 years of age and got a job on Saturdays at the local gas station, washing cars.

Of course all was done by hand, and I had two good hands, so I was hired. My commission was 20 cents per car. I saved every penny of it, for across the street was a hardware store, with a glass case displaying handguns for sale. I got my eye on one, a Smith & Wesson 22 caliber target revolver.

I was 13 when I excitedly walked into that store with $75 to buy that gun. In about ten minutes, it was mine! Was I ever excited! I bought ammunition for a few pennies. Things back then were cheaper, for gasoline at that time was only 18 cents a gallon, and new cars about $700.

Walking out of that hardware store I felt like a Texas Ranger carrying it home. Can you picture a 13-year-old walking into a store today and purchasing a hand gun?

Not long after, my father gave me a rifle. I remember walking to school with it, and ammunition in my pocket. The school’s indoor shooting range was for the riflery class. Imagine a 14-year-old walking into a public school today with a rifle and ammunition in his pocket?

Our teacher prayed and read the Bible to us every morning. Teachers were respected and loved. The atmosphere was certainly different back then. People were more God-fearing, and children were disciplined with the stick which produced good behavior.

Nobody had TV’s, cell phones, iPods, video games and the like, and dope was unheard of, yet most folks seemed to be more content and happy than today.

My stern Irish father made sure I worked hard for anything I got. The neighbor next door owned an electric motor manufacturing company, and at 14, I was working there part time.

Saving my wages, my first motorcycle cost me $75, and at 15 I soloed my first aircraft, passed the test and got my pilot’s license, plus the nickname “flyboy.”

Today we have a lot more things that were not seen in the good old days.

We have more divorces, senseless shootings, road rage, lawless youth, more gadgets, better cars and roads, refrigerators instead of ice boxes, TVs, frustration, uncertainty, and empty churches. What is our problem? Could it be that the problem is we have discarded the Holy Bible and put God in the back seat? Consequently, moral standards have evaporated.

Were former days rightly called, “The Good Old Days”? You decide.

Robert E. Surgenor

Fairview Park, Ohio

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Time to do it Time to do it

    It never made sense that criminal background checks were not made on medical license applications in Maryland. Fortunately — for the protection everybody — the background investigations may soon be a matter of routine.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • If you don’t like the way things are going, vote to change them

    I daily hear complaining about the decline of America. I also hear people say that things will only get worse and there is nothing we can do about it. Admittedly, I used to be like this.

    July 31, 2014

  • Thanks for publishing both sides, but only one was right

    Kudos to the Cumberland Times-News for publishing opposing Reader Commentaries (“Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO” and “No public funding for extremist organization,” July 30); a relatively minor issue, but a great demonstration of our cherished “Freedom of the Press.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Hold on a minute ... we know these guys

    Tom Bosley says this isn’t the Garrett County revival of “Space Cowboys”. They’re just getting the band back together — Bosley, Don Stemple, Oren Yoder and Matt Redinger. They’ve been there, done that, and they’re ready, willing and able to be there and do it again.

    July 31, 2014

  • They can say it’s in Timbuktu, but it’s still in West Virginia

    I feel that I have to respond to recent articles about the out of control Potomac Highlands Airport Authority.

    July 31, 2014

  • State would require disclosure of chemicals used at well sites

    A recent article (“Docs want full disclosure of chemicals that would be used in fracking process,” July 21, Page 1A) and editorial (“No secrets: Chemical use in fracking a concern to all,” July 22) in the Times-News might have caused confusion about Maryland’s proposal on public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

    July 31, 2014

  • If we don’t sell it to them, somebody else will

    The front page article on coal exports by AP writer Dina Cappiello is one of the most asinine and biased “news” articles I’ve read (“Not in my backyard: U.S. sending dirty coal abroad,” July 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 30, 2014

  • Research cost of watershed plan before implementing it

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Prayers in the Park’ event slated Aug. 18 in Johnstown

    July 30, 2014

  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo