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Story ID:9254
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Gilboa New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

I was born during the depression in the year of 1933. My Dad was a school teacher. When I went to Kindergarten, I remember that each of us kids had to bring a sleeping pad from home. My Mom made mine for me. It had some sort of thin padding covered by black cotton cloth. This was sewed to a piece of light blue colored oil cloth. The finished product was about 20 inches wide and 30 inches long. I was sent to school with it. At a certain time every day, the teacher passed out little bottles of chocolate milk. There was a third of a pint in each bottle. When we finished drinking that she had us spread out on the floor in rows and lay down on our sleeping mat. Then she closed the blinds on the windows to darken the room and told everybody to go to sleep.

The next year was the first grade. The teacher wore funny looking eye glasses and they perched on her nose. There were no bows over the ears for her glasses. There was a long beaded chain attached to them and if they fell off they swung back and forth in front of her chest. I talked a lot. I still do. The trouble is, from the first class on, you were not supposed to talk except when asked to by the teacher.

The teachers name was Miss Rossi. Some other kid would ask me something and I answered them. Inevitably Miss Rossi always saw me answering them but never saw them ask me anything. Miss Rossi always took me to the boy’s bathroom. She sat on one of the commodes, pulled me across her lap, pulled down my pants and applied vigorously a ping pong paddle to my bare bottom. She did this to other boys for discipline. She did it to girls too, but far less frequently, and the girls were taken to the girl’s bathroom instead of the boys.

Without fail, every time this happened when Dad came home, he told me Miss Rossi told him she had to spank me that day in school. Then he spanked me because I made Miss Rossi spank me. I always believed that was totally unfair and a clear case of double jeopardy.

As I grew up, I learned some things that were standard and common knowledge with everyone. These were rules everyone observed. A man or a boy never used a dirty word or swear word in the presence of girls or ladies. Dirty jokes were never told in the presence of females. One must never mention underwear in the presence of females. These things just were not done. Men or boys, if observing these rules infringed by anyone immediately turned on the offender for it.

If any boy violated these rules in the presence of the mother or sister or girl friend of another boy, to preserve his and their honor, the boy had to do something about it. He had to fight to defend his and their honor. If he was too small or weak to prevail, other boys came to his rescue. That is just the way it was.

Females were placed on a pedestal. You always watched your language around them. You always opened the door for them. They were always allowed to go first. A gentleman always stood up when they entered the room. You always removed your hat when in their presence or when talking to them.

The majority of women stayed at home after they married, but many did not. Many had jobs. They were school teachers, store clerks, typists and secretaries. Many were nurses. A few were factory workers. It did not matter or make any difference. The rules were the same. If you were on a bus, subway train, street car or any other public conveyance, a man or boy stood up to give his seat to a lady. When walking down the sidewalk with a lady, the gentleman walked to the outside to protect the lady from whatever might be splashed up from the curb.

If you were in a class room or some other kind of group and committed some act of misbehavior, and the entire class or group was going to be punished for it, you were honor bound to step forward and take responsibility for the offense. Sometimes if no one knew who did it, you stepped forward and took the blame anyway to protect the innocent.

If there were packages to be carried, the man or boy always carried them so the lady or girl did not have to. If you went grocery shopping with Mom or Grandma, you pushed the cart. You put the groceries in the car. When you got home, you took the groceries from the car to the house. The only thing you never carried was her “bag.” They all carried a purse and they called it their bag and they were always real fussy about it. That was off limits to men. That they carried themselves.

Now in my old age, things have changed. We have women’s Lib now. They open their own doors. They take their turn with the men. They take their chances with everybody else on the bus for a seat. They carry the groceries themselves. People say whatever they please in front of them. Underwear and sex are commonly discussed in mixed company. Men eat at home or in restaurants with their hats on.

I have noticed all these things make a big difference in the behavior of society. Respect and common courtesy have fallen by the wayside. They no longer exist. Violence and sex and even unnatural sex are commonplace on TV shows. Filthy language is used frequently on TV. Our children are watching these things and they are learning from them that females are expected to be and are expecting to be treated like dirt.

Anything Christian is now ridiculed and sneered at. We can’t have prayer in schools or any public places. Marriage means little any more. Families and togetherness are no longer respected and the cell phone and video or computer game has taken the place of family and family values for our children.

We had a president having oral sex with an intern in the oval office. Soon, children were having oral sex in school and on the school buses, and what was the answer? To pass out free condoms in school and have classes teaching girls how to put a condom on a cucumber. We have 12 and 13 year olds getting pregnant and the schools taking them to Family Planning to get an abortion without the parents being informed. We have kids with two mommies and no daddy and two daddies and no mommy. We have said marriage for gays is okay. We have higher pregnancy out of wedlock and higher abortion rates than ever before. We have higher divorce rates than ever before. Just recently the morning after pill was made legal to sell over the counter without age limit.

Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I don’t think so. I think the old days and the old ways were far better, and I long for them to return. I believe America was a better country then than it is now. I don’t like a world in which a child’s parent is an Ipad, but that is what we have now. The next thing you know, Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein will be introducing legislation to let your Ipad vote.

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