Cains: The good old days

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 19, 2022

As a child I was extremely lucky.  I had two loving parents, four siblings and about fifty relatives  living in my hometown.  I was fortunate to have grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles and other relatives who shared many stories with me about their childhood and what life was like in the ‘good old days.’  

My father is now 91 years old and I speak to him daily.  The past year has been tough on the family as we unexpectedly lost my mother on August 6, 2021.  My father talks more and more about the past as life goes on.  The ‘good old days’ is what he calls them.  

Growing up it was always hard for me to think of those long ago times as being good ones, when I would hear his stories.  He was born during the Great Depression and his family, like many, had real struggles.  No money, no permanent home, no decent jobs and his parents were always in debt “up to their ears.” At age 8, my father took a baseball bat to the nose and missed almost an entire school year.  By the time he reached his late teens he was drafted and fighting in a war on the other side of the world. 

When I think about all of the things his generation has had to deal with, it is amazing anyone survived.  Atomic war, another war, a cold war, a president assassinated, another war, a president resigning and that only gets us to the mid-70s.  Still, along the way he found a wife and together they had five children.  As parents he and my mother dealt with money issues, broken bones, cancer, heart disease, more wars, more cancer and the incredible struggles of raising children. 

Despite all of these difficult times, including Christmas as a child, when a dime and an orange was a spectacular present, my father still thinks of them as the ‘good old days.’ I guess sometimes we take for granted a ‘not so good day’ only to realize how valuable it really was until after it has passed.