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Those of us who are products of the 1950s often reflect on the good old days; wishing we could return to the time when Eisenhower Republicans were held in high esteem. It was a different time, an enviable time of prosperity and harmony. At least it was where I grew up in Upstate New York. 

I still consider myself fortunate that I was educated in a state where I attended kindergarten in the post-World War II era. Folks my age who grew up in North Carolina didn’t get an early childhood education. When I went to junior high in the mid-’50s, my school had an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool. When I graduated from high school in 1959 with a Regents Diploma issued by the State University of New York, I had the equivalent of a first year education at Duke University.

I was fortunate to have been reared in an upper middle-class family. My dad was an executive with General Electric, and of course, my mom was a homemaker. We lived a privileged Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle. And yes, I do wish we could relive those days, which of course, we cannot.

But in one way, I am still able to thanks to a dear friend who I met in the 1960s when we both served overseas in the military. Jerry was in the Air Force and I was in the Army. He happened to be a native of Fayetteville, and we were reunited here after leaving the service. To this day I’m amazed that when we get together for breakfast or dinner, he always bumps into people he knows. He has never met a stranger. He went to school with my late wife at Alexander Graham Junior High and Fayetteville Senior High School. 

What’s funny about my friend is that in many ways he is still stuck in the ‘60s, and I sometimes envy him. Jerry doesn’t use an ATM card except to get cash out of the machine. He writes checks when he pays household bills and he carries cash in his wallet. He still reconciles his checkbook each month. How many of us do that anymore? He doesn’t believe in online banking and he mistrusts the government. He carries a flip phone and doesn’t text. He has a real home phone, too, and turns off his cell phone when he’s at home. He doesn’t have a Facebook page.

Jerry tells me his dear wife puts his clothes out for him each morning. I was aghast when he told
me that, but then he explained it’s because his eyes are color deficient. He’s not color blind,
but close. 

My friend drives a 12-year-old car of which he is very fond. He and his bride have a wonderful traditional marriage. He holds on to old fashioned values that were ingrained in those of us who grew up back in the day. Those values include honesty, loyalty and commitment. 

Is there anything else you could ask of a friend?


 

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