There is something very special about grandmas and grandpas, and I would say especially grandmas; who are like moms but more patient and tender.
I was lucky enough to know my great-grandma and great-grandpa. He died when I was in high school in the early 1970s, and my great-grandma died when she was in her 90s in the early 1980s.
My great-grandparents on my mother’s side, came from Sweden at the turn of the century and made Northern Minnesota their home. The cold rocky shore of Lake Superior and the thick forests and small lakes which dot the interior of the state reminded them of Sweden and Norway.
I guess you could say that I was “rich” in grandparents, both grandparents and great-grandparents.
One of the things I vividly remember about my great-grandmother Engstrom who’s own mother immigrated from Sweden to Minnesota, was that she was paralyzed by polio.
My great-grandma Engstrom walked with crutches because her legs were shriveled up from atrophy due to childhood polio. I had never seen anyone with leg’s like that who was paralyzed until I saw my great-grandmother. She used to tell all of us kids how lucky we were not to have to worry about polio because we were the first generation that was vaccinated against this terrible disease.
It would have been a silly question to ask anytime prior to the 1980s. Where are the families? Not only would the question have been silly and nonsensical in 1945, 1955, or 1965, but your eyes would have seen them everywhere. I was one of five children my mom had; many families we knew in the early 1960s had six, seven, or eight kids.
Large families in my time were the norm.
So What Happened?
Where Are The Families Today?
There are three major things that did not (for the most part) exist in my time but are prevalent today. These things, largely a result of Postmodernism and its destructive influence on families and society.
In my day, birth control “the pill” was largly a taboo and very hard to get. Most families did not use to control births, hence, you had families like mine where were 5 to 8 kids each.
In my time, when I was growing up, abortion was not even discussed in polite company and most state, especially Southern states, it was a felony to perform abortions.
Social sensibilities, law and societal taboos kept abortion a forbidden crime that was not even discussed.
Elevation and Worship of Self as Idolatry
One of the major tenets of Postmodernism is the worship of the “authentic self” and the pursuit of self-interest above and beyond any considerations of family or nation.
Elevation of the self and the worship of self-gratification has led us down a dark rabbit-hole of consumerism and individualism along the the new religion of selfishness.
Honestly, I do not know how someone can look at these old photos and not both feel some sadness and also the stirrings of faith in God.
If there is no God, no afterlife, no ultimate purpose in life, then what is the point?
1st Peter 1: 22-24
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. KJV
The Ether of Time
Where are they? They have vanished into the ether of time; but where are they now? After our flesh has withered and died, what becomes of us? Where is this mother and her child? What happened to them?
I realize that this is an ancient, existential question that philosophers and theologians have been debating since the dawn of time, but still, these photos of people that are no longer here, raises all of these weighty questions in my mind.
I don’t have any answers to give.
Some days I am an agnostic sceptic, hostile to all pretense of mortal beings possessing “divine Truth.”
And then other days I lean toward a belief, a “faith” in a creator. But is that really a “faith?” Or dread of the the grave and the unknown that lies beyond the grave?
One of the great examples of wholesome music from the 40s that celebrated love, chastity and virtue, was Dinah Shore’s 1940 hit, “Yes My Darling Daughter” which was her first solo hit on the radio and soared to #10 on the music charts in October of 1940.
Yes My Darling Daughter
I’ve gotta be good or mama will scold me Yes, yes, yes I asked her and this is what she told me Yes, yes, yes
Mother, may I go out dancing? Yes, my darling daughter Mother, may I try romancing? Yes, my darling daughter What if there’s a moon, mama darling, and it’s shining on the water Mother, must I keep on dancing? Yes, my darling daughter What if he’ll propose, mama darling, when the night is growing shorter? Mother, what should be my answer? Yes, my darling daughter
Oh mama, oh mama, oh mama, oh mama
What if he should insist on one embrace, mama, How can I keep him in his place If his manner becomes a shade improper? Tell him that your heart belongs to papa
Mother, will it be exciting? Yes, my darling daughter Mother, do I look inviting? Yes, my darling daughter If he holds me tight, mama darling, and my knees just turn to water Mama must I keep on dancing? Yes, my darling daughter What if he’ll persist, mama darling, doing things he hadn’t oughta Mama, what should be my answer? Yes, my darling daughter
Why? Well. after being raised on rock and roll and country music, I expanded into lots of other musical generas. However, in a world fill with hate, anger, violence, obscenity and vulgarity, music from the 1940s and 1950s offers a soothing respetret from negativity and a return to an America that celebrated in music love, chastity, virtue, and wholesomeness.
As I write these words, it is early morning on the 4th of July on a warm, humid day in rural Minnesota.
This 4th of July of course is very different from the previous ones I have experienced in my life. Many of the family and friends that made this holiday so special are now gone; having passed away or left our circle of friends and family.
Of course, America is different this 4th of July; a hollow shell of what she used to be.
When I think of America, the America I used to know, the one I was born into, I think of a loving protective Mother who loves and cares for her children. People often say that America is like “Mom’s Apple Pie” but I rather think of her as Mom herself, or even a sweet Grandma.