Is it almost over? That is the question I keep asking myself this evening, this New Years Eve 2020.
The past year has been a nightmare of epic proportions. I keep wanting to wake up, but the nightmare doesn’t seem to end. It is true of course, that this measure of time that we humans are so fond of is strictly arbitrary. We set the imaginary boundaries of time and then invented devices to measure it.
Mechanical clocks were only invented around the beginning of the 14th century.
It’s odd. But at my age (almost 62) and having lived through more trauma and horror that I could have ever imagined, Christmas, for the most part, has lost it’s “magic.”
Of course I reflect upon the fact that people, many years ago, acting collectively, designated December 25 as the “birthday” of Jesus. (The actual date is really months away.)
And I know that Christmas is a combination of ancient European festivals and Christian theology. (The Christian missionaries and armies that invaded Northern “Pagan” Europe wanted to “civilize” and baptize Europeans into the Church and the best way to do that was to usurp their holidays and festivals and make them “Christian” holidays including Christmas.
New York City, Christmas Eve, 1956
Having said all of that, I still feel a sense of loss at Christmas time: a loss of innocence, a loss of youth, a loss of collective faith and tradition, and the loss of my once great nation America.
If you take an eye exam, the optimist will give you a series of vision tests and ask you: “Is this better? Or worse? Can you see better with this lens? Or the one before this one?”
I believe we, in the United States, are worse off than our parents and grandparents in the 1940s and 1950s. Like a vision test, old pictures and slides from everyday American life tell a story: and that story is that we were happier, safer, more chaste and virtuous, more respectful and honorable than the current generations of Americans, especially those under 35.
When Women dressed like Women
One of the things that united women both young and old, rich and poor, and middle-class, was they way they dressed.
In was extremely rare to see a woman in a pants-suit in bygone days of the 1940s and 1950s: dresses and skirts were the norm, not pants.
Today of course it is the opposite.
It is rare outside of a fundamentalist church on Sunday mornings to see a woman or group of women wearing skirts and dresses in everyday life. Even in the business world of 21st century America it it almost unheard of to see a woman wearing a dress or skirt to the office.
I believe that dresses and skirts communicated an idea that women were special and not at all like men. Dresses and skirts almost demanded that the woman wearing them be treated with dignity, respect and and a deference to her femininity.
There was an intrinsic beauty and femininity to any woman wearing a dress or a skirt. Of course in our day and age it is beyond the pale to call women “the weaker sex.” I do not believe that women and especially moms are “weak” but they are different and worthy of being treated as different than men, and deserving of respect and admiration of their beautiful femininity.