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I had a conversation with my dear 93 year old Aunt Helen shortly before she died, about how good the old days really were.  Memories of my grandmother’s home-baked bread, of family gatherings, home and hearth and love and laughter, cuddling us both in remembered grace, were like a feather comforter for the spirit.  “Life isn’t better now,” she mused, “just faster and more complicated.”

She’s right, of course.  Life has accelerated.  Computers, fax machines, cell phones, Blackberries, all demand instant response and leave us whizzing along the electronic circuitry of life like bobsledders on a downhill run.  I’m not the first to suggest our reach is farther, but our depth of field is less.  We race from task to task, emergency to emergency, without much time to hold buttercups under our chins, or dream about the stars.  We spend more money, but seem to have less to show for it.  Our kids know more than we did about sex, but less about love, its commitment, devotion or mystery.  We’ve amassed so much knowledge, we have to divide it all up among experts, fragmenting wisdom into small compartments, so that it never quite hangs together the way it used to.  Somehow, having an eyelash specialist, a knee specialist, and a lung specialist, will never take the place of the kindly family doctor who actually cared about the entirety of you.

We live in a time when life is learned in soundbytes and film at 11.  When the bigger the lie, the more it’s believed.  We have pills to make us happy, thin and wide awake, or to calm us down, make us sleep, make us forget.  And if you can believe the TV commercials, most of them also cause liver damage, “occasional fatal incidents” (the new euphemism for death), or at the very least, constipation.

We’re exploring Mars, at the same time we’re sabotaging Earth.  Our leaders hide rapaciousness in the garb of international compassion, greed in the guise of patriotism, and upend the Constitution in the guise of keeping us safe.  We go to war to spread peace, the ultimate oxymoron, and we’re told that political debate or dissidence is an act of treason.  Paradoxical times, these…

I want to cast a vote for the way it was before we improved it.  I miss governments you could trust, love that was forever, seeds that could propagate, marriages that lasted a lifetime, air without nuclear fallout in it, rain without acid, clean water from faucets not plastic bottles, a good cup of coffee that didn’t cost $4.50, phones without menus, service people not outsourced to Pakistan, politics before spin-doctoring, Presidential elections before crooked voting machines, food as it came from the hand of Mother Nature, sizes that didn’t start at zero, affordable healthcare, family doctors, a time when the only intergalactic force we needed to worry about was God.

Don’t you?


© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2011

Posted on November 4th 2011 in Family, The Philosopher’s Teacup

7 Responses to “Legacy”



  2. Gerry Says:

    I think we have found Andy Rooney’s replacement. To be able to “tell it like it is” (truth) but keep the reader laughing at the same time is a special gift.

    I am still trying to figure out my “smart phone” (which I may not be smart enough to use). My Kindle came in handy for Lark’s Labyrinth while I was on vacation, but sheesh…I much prefer a real paper book in my hands. I somehow managed to lose the capability of typing just a couple of letters then having the whole name appear while sending out e-mails. I would love to have NetFlix on TV, but am told I have to have a “box” on my TV for it to work. Don’t know what that means. But, my grandson loves for me to play the “birdie” notification sound on my smart phone, the Kindle has the “Every Word” game on it that I am addicted to, and I MAY be smart enough to figure out the “box” thing for my TV. We’ll see. Meanwhile, Cathy keeps me smiling, but at the same time thinking and sharing her thoughts with my friends so we all know the boat we are in will NOT sink with so many determined souls aboard.

  3. Maggie Says:

    I miss the days of less government. I miss an educational system that teaches children how to reason, process information, and think for themselves, minus an agenda that pre-programs their brains and turns them into generic automatons whose world view is based on political-correctness. I lament the loss of civility in all forms. Ad infinitum.

  4. Cathy Says:

    Hi Maggie…thanks for commenting. I think we all are longing for better days. Let’s hope they’re not all behind us and that we can still change things for the better!

  5. Maria D'Angelo Says:


  6. Maria D'Angelo Says:


  7. Cathy Says:

    Let’s keep believing we can change things if we all put our hearts into it!

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