Innocence Lost

2 Aug

Innocence Lost

by L. Stewart Marsden

I caught myself today reminiscing about childhood days long past — well, relatively speaking, that is. The Parthenon is long past.

I’m a part of that glut of baby-boomers who, when we grew up, had the world by the tail (see, even the expression is pretty telling). We could bike anywhere in town without our parents worrying. We played outside from dawn to dusk. We greased our peroxided hair into ducktails, and Converse high tops were $8 a pair. We flocked to the Paramount downtown for hours of big screen entertainment — cartoons, news reels, adventure series, and a swell grade B movie about blobs or Godzilla or maybe Gene Autry, the singing cowboy.

The edge of living was rounded and smooth — not cutting and dangerous.

Forty-fives ruled the teen tune appetite, with The Platters and Pat Boone and The Kingston Trio.

McDonald’s arches were new. And the sign read “Over 100,000 hamburgers served” at its beginning.

Radio was AM, crackling in and out as we drove along. And, speaking of driving — four and forty air conditioning: roll down four windows and go forty miles an hour. Seats were vinyl — cold in the winter, skin searing in the hot summer.

Baseball. Barbie Dolls. Mickey Mouse Club. The Captain and Mr. Green Jeans. Howdy-Doody.

The good old days.

So, I rue the passing of time in terms of the loss of innocence. It’s a rather boring theme, I know, to those who didn’t experience that innocence.

The past was not without its deep and dark drawbacks. Segregation. I remember the evidences of that, too, but more as a wonderment than as something that impacted me on a daily basis.

Perhaps every generation has its own time of innocence. I keep thinking that period of time has been accordioned down to a really short period of time, judging from the news and the culture of the day. Judging from how children are quarantined and protected against God knows what; how they spend their days, fused into various gadgets that allow them no alone time, no creative time, no boredom.

I’m still a bit biased in thinking my old days were the good old days. I morn the loss of scary movies back then that are pretty laughable today, when compared to the stark and gruesome film techniques of modern Hollywood. Very little left to the imagination.

And the accessibility via the internet of — well — pretty much anything you would want to see and a whole lot of things you should never know — in your innocence — exist.

So, here’s to Fabian and to The Day the World Ended and to Rock Hudson and Doris Day and to candy cigarettes and to National Geographic and to Norman Rockwell and to White Castle hamburgers and to roller skate keys and to penny loafers and to Greasy Kids Stuff and to a myriad of long-forgotten or fading or never experienced moments — the essence of innocence lost.

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3 Responses to “Innocence Lost”

  1. Catherine Dexter August 2, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Yes, but did you have running water?

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