By Gil Rubio
I’ll be turning 58 next month and while some people let their age bother them, I feel very fortunate to have been raised during my time.
Times were different… Things were much simpler…Music was played by real musicians playing real instruments, and radio played all types of music without having to name the styles, or keep them separate.TV was full of family shows with simple classic humor, and of course, there were Saturday morning cartoons.
Warner Brothers Classics like Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Porky Pig. There was Tom & Jerry too, and The Flintstones and The Jetsons … and 50 million other different Hanna-Barbera cartoons that all somehow seemed the same.
Family was important then too, and I remember that Divorce was a four-letter word!
I remember we used to pile in the station wagon in our pajamas to go to the drive-in theater … and invariably fall asleep during the movie.
We used to play simple games and board games, go camping, and fishing at the wharf, and have picnics and go play in the Carmel River.
I remember families used to visit families, and we actually talked to each other.
We didn’t have gadgets to distract us from interacting with each other. We talked face to face and didn’t sit in front of the TV, computer or with our phones in our hands only to see the side of someone’s face, and only discuss what we saw on screen.
Sure, we watched TV, but it was usually in the evening when everybody was settling down.
I remember the women would be in the kitchen talking or cooking.
The men would be outside or in the garage with the big door open.
The men would keep an eye on the real little ones, while the rest of us kids were outside playing tag, hide-n-seek, kick the can, kick the ball, climbing trees ….falling out of trees!
Our whole neighborhood was like that too. We’d be outside playing until we got called in.
Somebody’s mom would stand on the porch and yell somebody’s name and we’d all come running.
If she said your full name, … that meant you were in trouble … and you ran the other direction.
Like that was gonna help!
The most important part of the house was the Dinner Table.
We all ate together as a family and shared our day with each other.
It was there that we shared the most basic of needs, and learned Respect and Manners.
Something as simple as passing the salt had lessons for all involved.
How to say “please” and “thank you.”
How to be considerate of others….
Somehow we seem to have lost all of that.
We are all too busy with our schedules to eat together as a family, and look each other in the eye when we speak.
Shoot, our “social media” means we can’t say hi or hello anymore, just abbreviated and misspelled words to get to the point when we speak through our texting fingers.
It seems as though our “social media” has diminished our social skills and yet magnified our lack of them and we’re less social than ever in our own little universes.
Because we can access the World from the comfort of our own home, we seem to have lost our Humility, and Respect for each other and the World around us.
We’ve lost contact with the Earth and the appreciation of the simple things in life.
Everything we do now is in the “Box” and when we lose the electricity or our Files … we lose everything.
No photo negatives or written letters to refer to and reminisce.
Our Souls have been digitized and have become a series of Ones and Zeros …
With all of us able to express our opinions to the World at Large, and give them weight, it seems that the World has even more trouble getting along than ever before.
I miss the simpler times and the Heart and Soul of the “Dinner Table with Family.”
Maybe that is what is wrong with us as a people …
As a Nation ….
As a World ….
Author’s note: “My brother, sister and I were all born in Monterey and raised in nearby Seaside, possibly the most racially diverse city on the entire Central Coast of California. My parents were both born in 1922 only months apart with my father being the youngest boy of 11 children and my mother being the oldest of 9. With that many aunts and uncles and a ton of cousins, family can’t help but be important to all of us.”
Editor’s note: Gil Rubio is my cousin, the youngest of three children born to my mom’s oldest sister. My folks chose his mom and dad, Salvador and Lupe Rubio, to be my godparents when I was baptized. My Nina Lupe is still going strong at 92.. Meanwhile, Gil is a guitarist and leader of the blues band Red Beans & Rice, as well as a catechism teacher, English lector and bilingual choir director at the church he grew up in.
Tomorrow: “Public servant at your service” by Alana Cox