The Transylvania Times -

The End Of Childhood


February 27, 2017

Those born in 1938 are most likely the last Americans who experienced growing up without television, muscle cars, cell phones and kitchen appliances. Kids played on the floor with wooden toys, invented games with their friends and went to bed when told. Caring and respect for family and friends was taught by families as a unit.

This era of youth struggled with the aches and pains of growing up. We began to understand the magnitude of why a father, older brother, an uncle or a family friend was fighting in a far flung country with a hard to pronounce name until someone showed you on a globe where it was. World War II was coming to a dramatic end and the news of two atomic bombs dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki befuddled our minds. The sad part is that 72 years later, many of our present high school students do not know whom we fought in WWII or if their family had a genesis somewhere other than America.

The news of President Franklin Roosevelt passing was better understood as communications improved. The radio was our connection to the world.

Television was soon to change all that. By 1947, radio and phonograph stores selling a small round television with a perpetual snowy screen drew a standing crowd outside a window, intently watching a black and white picture quickly moving up and down as children pressed their faces against the window. The children of a household whose parents acquired the first television automatically became the most popular kids on the block. Howdy Doody’s Buffalo Bob gave Mom a chance to breathe as they grouped around the Zeniths and Emersons. No one could envision the destruction of a child’s mind as lazy trends developed and children began to say “no” when told to go to bed. This childhood era was the last of manageable belligerence and the outright rebellion of America’s youth that followed in the ‘60s. It has been chaos ever since.

This is the time for reversal. Support Transylvania County’s newly formed WNC Military History Museum’s search for a permanent location in Brevard.

Mike Di Rocco



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