It wasn’t too long after the 1970s 10-speed bicycle craze got going strong before a number of Americans decided they wanted to beat the gasoline lines with a motorized vehicle rather than something that was leg powered. Well, along came the moped.
Mopeds were already popular in Europe and Asia but were somewhat new to America. The simplest of them weren’t much more than a bicycle with a small 2-cycle motor. Back in the 1950 kids played around with a motorized bike called a Whizzer. Well, mopeds weren’t much more than a slicked up Whizzer.
The thing today, especially with the virus threatening our ever move, is home delivery of groceries and the pick and click services offered by chains like Walmart and Kroger’s.
We’ve successfully completed a click and pick at Kroger’s and just submitted another. We had to wait several days for our turn and didn’t get all we ordered. But the pickup was clean, safe, and quick. I pulled into the appropriate parking space, an attendant asked through the window for my name, and in a few minutes, they returned from the building with our order, which they quickly and neatly placed in the back of the mini-van.
As far back as the early 1960s, I heard about Amish barn raisings. Where an entire community of church members would come together to build or repair a member’s barn. The women would spend the morning preparing a large meal for the men and the men would divide into teams with each assigned a task to get done before sunset.
While I’ve seen many of the results it wasn’t until recently that I actually was able to witness the real deal. I was even invited to lunch but unfortunately, wasn’t able to match my schedule up with that.
Well, we won’t have to concern ourselves with it since it’s over. But, Friday was the National Day of Unplugging and participants were asked to totally unplug. To not use anything that included the use of any kind of screen. No cell phone, no tablet, no laptop, no desktop, no TV, no backup camera, no GPS, no camera with a digital viewfinder, absolutely nothing that uses a screen. Could you do such for a period of 24-hours without cheating? Discuss.
If you’ve been around Greenfield for very long you’re sure to have heard that Greenfield is known as “Little Chicago”, a small town with a questionable reputation. All the years I grew up here I’d occasionally hear that claim. However, I must not have taken it seriously because I never felt insecure or scared while running the streets and allies as a young boy, which I did lots of.
As an adult, I’ve come to realize that there is nothing unique about Greenfield and its people. Like every other community, we have our problems and our problems are pretty much related, to the population size, educational level, and economic opportunity and income. Large cities with bad schools, high levels of ignorance, low incomes, and poor chances for advancement have the same difficulties as small rural communities. The difference is mainly the number of people. The more people the more problems. Even places that have none of these problems have problems.
I know that for many Christmas is a Christian religious holiday. But it is also a time that has important meaning to non-Christians. It is a time for family, for love, a time for remembrance, a time for joy, and a time to renew one’s commitment to helping make a better and more peaceful world. So, whatever Christmas means to you, to all a Merry Christmas and a joyous Season’s Greeting from the Chapman family.
Burning Man, if you’re one of the thirteen people who don’t know, it is an annual festival in the Nevada desert that draws over 70,000 people and is basically an excuse to get mostly naked and stay high on the street drug of choice for a week or so. It concludes with a huge bonfire and the burning of a male sculpture, thus its name.
People love to talk about how great things used to be and in many ways, I’m no different. Several conversations recently have me thinking about those good old days. So, I decided to make a list of what we used to pay for things. Feel free to add to it.
Do you ever wonder when wealth becomes, obscene wealth? Well, consider this.
“$70,000 per minute. According to Bloomberg, that’s how much money the Walmart-owning Walton family has made in the year since Bloomberg’s previous list of the world’s richest families. The Waltons top that list this year, with wealth of $190.5 billion. The Mars, Koch, Al Saud, and Wertheimer (of the Chanel fashion house) families round out a top five. The 25 richest families in the world
When I left Ohio for California in 1964 the old slogan was California or Bust! Since the 1840s California had been considered the land of golden opportunity and that’s pretty close to what I found there. I found immediate employment and access to affordable education. I also found this and more at a price that was within my economic means.
I haven’t been in the Golden State since 1970 but I’ve kept tabs on what the years have brought. Mostly time has brought more people, more traffic, and the cost of living that is becoming increasingly less affordable for working class people. In 1968 a nice two-bedroom starter home could be had for around $40,000. Ten years later that same home was selling for over $100,000. A quick Google of current prices indicates it would take a half a million, or more. The same home in Greenfield, OH can be had for around $80,000.
Hearing Greenfield people talk about how much they enjoyed the Midsummer’s Night on Midway events back in the early 2000s got me thinking negative things. People are always talking about there not being anything to do in a small town and then when something does happen, most don’t show up.
This was true in 1970 and truer today. I’d guess it is due to there being more recreational options and greater pressure on people’s free time. I don’t know about other towns but I suspect it isn’t much different.
Early in my teaching career, I attended a conference for history teachers. One of the workshops I attended concerned local burial practices and using a communities cemetery as a source of historical information. If, for example, you notice a large increase in burials around a certain date, it may indicate a medical epidemic. Burial practices, obviously, are often dictated by an area’s geology.
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans or Southern Louisiana you probably noticed that people aren’t buried underground. This isn’t dictated by any religious or ethnic custom. Instead, it all has to do with the water table. If you dig but a foot or more in New Orleans you hit the water table and caskets just won’t stay buried when the rainy season arrives. Therefore, long ago it was decided that bodies had to be buried in above-ground vaults. (SEE POST NOTE BELOW)Continue reading We All Don’t Bury Our Dead the Same→
I followed a Facebook thread today begun by a former student who was reacting to the unfolding college admittance scandal. She was relating how hard she worked to get into college and to pay her own way without help from others, including her mother. There is nothing unique about this woman, she did it the way most of us did it, on our own merits and our own labors. She wasn’t whining or bitching but instead, just expressing the disappointment she felt that American higher education is so difficult for the most while others can evade the hurdles with little more than monetary bribes from their parents.
I recently received a news feed that I found interesting. Not important, just interesting. The Axios-Harris Poll did a study of what companies are preferred most by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
For example, Democrats for whatever reasons prefer buying products made by Kraft-Heinz while the favorite GOP product is Chick-fil-A. I can only suppose that the John Kerry connection to Heinz explains the Democratic choice and the Chick’s opposition to all things same-sex draws the loyalty of the moral high ground crowd.
Back in the ’50s, it was quite common to see bent willow furniture sitting on people’s porches and patios. A childhood friend had two chairs on their porch and I always loved sitting in them. They were handmade by an older man who lived in a small shack along a nearby creek. The creek and surrounding wetlands gave him all the raw materials he needed.
He would build single chairs as well as couches and side tables. The fellow didn’t have a car or truck so he pushed a large two-wheeled cart loaded with his furniture up and down the village streets peddling his wares. On days he didn’t have furniture to sell he would push his cart around town hauling away people’s scrap metals and newspapers.
I believe the only piece of willow furniture we ever had was a small child’s rocking chair that one of our daughters used for her children.
Several years ago I was driving through the Florida Panhandle and came upon a large pickup truck with a cab-over rack. The vehicle was heavily loaded with beautiful bent willow furniture. I don’t know where they were from or where they were going but I sure wish I’d chased them down and brought a couple of chairs home.
It’s been a long time since I gave the subject any thought but today I came across a video of a young man in Kentucky who’s keeping the craft alive. If I wasn’t so damned old now I’d look the guy up and place an order. I’ll post the video below and hopefully, this will bring back some pleasant memories for you.
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