Well, sort of. I am moving this website to a new host within the next few days. With my luck , something will most assuredly go wrong and this website will crash. So, if this thing goes away suddenly, well, you know what happened.
Now, I am working on something that I think is pretty cool. I was asked to give a one-hour presentation on The Great Depression. It will be in September. I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject and it has been, oh gosh, what’s the word I’m looking for? Wisdom? Yes, that works. There is a lot of material written by the people that lived through that time. I was amazed by two things. 1) They were tough! Much tougher than we are today. They found a way to survive without resorting to crime (for the most part) and 2) They really understood the need for, and strength of, families. In account after account, they relied on thier families to survive, regardless of distance.
Thus far, I have come away from my reading thinking I’ve got it pretty good. This economy isn’t all that hot and, for some, it probably feels very much like a depression. Perhaps for some, it is. For me, I have managed to stay employed throughout my entire life and have never known what it is to look for a job when there isn’t one to be found. The more I read about the people of the Depression the more impressed I am with them.
Think on this: the generation that was born about 1900 is the generation that fought World War I. They came back from that “war to end all wars,” and rebuilt America. They married and raised families that suffered terribly through The Great Depression. They then watched as their children left to fight World War II. They called the WWII generation the greatest generation and, yes, it was. I submit to you that the WWI generation was the toughest.
So, if during the next couple of weeks, I tend to drift towards the Depression, that’s why.
Do you remember Norman Rockwell? He lived from 1894 to 1978. For over 50 years, Norman Rockwell was a defining illustrator of the American middle class. He apparently did not draw the America of his memory but the America as he imagined it. His talent is beyond impressive. He was best known for his work with the Saturday Evening Post where he drew 321 covers. One of the better known covers from that magazine is titled “GI Homecoming.” This one was from May,1945, just at the end of the second world war. It is a portrait of a newly returned soldier standing in what appears to be the grubby yard of a run-down tenement typical of 1940’s Brooklyn or some other American melting pot city. There at the too small back porch, stands his loving and devoted Mom, arms outstretched in unrestrained joy, ecstatic that her little boy has returned alive from the war. You can just see Dad in the back door, newspaper in hand. His expression tells us he knows his little boy has come back much more than just a man. On the roof over that same porch, a workman beams down in quiet satisfaction to see his much missed friend. A couple of sisters are at Mom’s feet, jumping with joy. Racing towards him is little brother. He is no doubt thinking that now that my big brother is back, he will do great harm to those who have tormented him in his absence. Also racing towards him is the family dog, ready to play. But wait. Around the corner of the brick tenement is something else entirely new. Backed against the wall in a poor attempt at concealment, there “She” is. Tall, blond, girl next door pretty, she tries vainly to hide and see all at the same time. Our lass’ interest in the returning warrior is much more than a mere passing fancy. You know, we are never given the opportunity to see the soldier’s face. His back is towards us. But he stands there in the confidence born of manhood and the privations of war. We don’t know if he has yet seen her. One would like to think that he has. You know, she’s purrrdy! And she is opportunity. She is the opportunity to build his life anew after the ravages of war. She is the opportunity we all have if we are willing and able to see around the corner. Here on one hand is all the turmoil and noise of daily life resumed. On the other is new life with all its joys and expectations.
Opportunity will present itself in unlikely places at unlikely times. Can you see “her?”