Way Back When – TTG

Yesterday my sister sent me a thumb drive with a lot of old family photos. Among them were several from what I believe was a Flag Day celebration on our town green when I was in grammar school. This would have been in or around 1958 or so. I still remember making those shakos out of construction paper and white paste. We enjoyed making those shakos. We also enjoyed practicing our songs and marching in the school yard before the big day. As you can see, a lot of the parents and towns folk were there to enjoy the celebration along with us.

Here we march up Center Street towards the green past the Petrauskas farm. That house was heated with wood in the winter. I ate many a bowl of cabbage soup in that house. I also pitched a lot of hay and milked a lot of cows there. We assembled in front of the Congregational Church, facing the soldiers monument. I grew up in the former glebe house on the opposite side of the green.

Here we proudly march around the soldiers monument singing the patriotic songs we practiced so hard to learn. The photo on the left shows the Prospect Historical Society, the former one room school house, and the Town Grange. On the right, my father caught me mugging for the camera. It’s the only time I recall wearing a bow string tie. I notice I was holding my flag at a proper right shoulder arms with my thumb and forefinger forming a perfect O. My father taught me that. He taught us all the manual of arms and close order drill.

I remember those old days fondly and with great pride. We were all so full of patriotism and a such a strong sense of community. Damn I miss those days.


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26 Responses to Way Back When – TTG

  1. TV says:

    Prospect, CT?

    • TTG says:



      • Bill Roche says:

        As a “first string boomer” born in ’46, I admit that my generation had much, to do w/t demise of the nation’s pride and its hopes.
        In comparison to my parents generation, so little was asked of mine yet so much was given to it. My generation was filled w/complaint, but my parents never complained. A good case could be made that the rot set in around 1965-66. Yeah, I’ll stick w/that. I can almost remember the scene, the time, the day. Honest, I had a sense that something was changing. My generation had an argument over patriotism and the selfish, graceless side won. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall ….. Nope, no fixin him, not all the King’s horses nor men. Happy Flag Day to all of us.

        • fredw says:

          As another “first string boomer” born in ’46, I can’t sign on to your memory of those days or of our parents’ generation. My view of the nation was of continual violence in the name of indefensible (to 10 year old me applying the teachings of what I understood as Christianity) positions. About the 1965, the manning of the race riots around Chicago changed from white to black. And at the end of 50 years of white race riots, the population suddenly decided that “law and order” was society’s primary value. I was a white midwestern farm boy who never saw a black person until I was 15. But the hypocrisy and stupidity completely floored me. And that was was just one aspect of a very coercive society. I will grant that some of the rabble rousers (SDS) were among the most repulsive people I had ever met. But for many issues, I concluded that being right had to count for something. Eventually I learned to be almost as disgusted by the better-disguised selfishness and hypocrisy of the better placed stalwarts of things as they were.

          I remember my shock at around age 14 overhearing my father and his friends talking about the actual quality of the officers they had served under in World War II. I had been raised to respect and value the leadership of the “greatest generation”. In fact there were great men in those generations. There were also selfish stupid assholes whose greatest goal was that others should obey them. The average American Legion post from those days would make any sensible person re-evaluate Eugene Debs.

          Did I experience those days as terrible? No. I later read enough history to discover that they were about normal for America. America when it is working is always like that. My parents and their friends owed tremendous debts to radicals of the 20s and 30s who created so much of the framework of their lives. And were regarded in pretty much the same way as the radicals of the 60s.

        • Deap says:

          Since my own graduation year from UC Berkeley was 1965, I was there at this very pivotal moment was unfolding, watching the lead in, watching the fateful assault and living the aftermath. It was my own lived history.

          The Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM) was never about “free speech” – the first big lie. It was always about letting very partisan leftist radicals have free run on the previously politically neutral campus itself. (UC classrooms had both radical and conservative profs, at that time).

          Ironically, at that time the immediate frenzy died down a bit when some one held up a sign with one word – the F word – on the Administration Building steps. It was mutually agreed this was a bridge too far, even for that 1960’s riotous crowd.

          When the history was told much later, it appeared East Coast radicals came to rather quiet Berkeley en masse after deciding the HUAC hearings and riots in San Francisco made Berkeley the place to be. We on campus at the time honestly did not know these people, or where they suddenly hadappeared from.

          “We on campus” in fact were very few, the politically elite power structure of our 27,000 student campus. First strategic blind spot. A new zeitgeist was forming and we only danced on the edge of the cultural shift volcano, and missed the sharp, existential focus shift brought by the draft and Vietnam. And civil rights, and the assassination death of JFK ….and the Pill, which fueled the counter-culture sex drugs and rock and roll which left Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Rogers and Hammerstein, the Beach Boys and the Limelight’s well behind.

          Two campus issues stood out the year before everything broke loose in Dec 1964: (1) could a dorm guy become student body president instead of a frat guy; and campus humor magazine, The Pelican, did cartoon series about the dorms and the frats having gang war following the plot of Westside Story, only to have a guitar strumming hippie emerge from the rumble’s smoking heap.

          We laughed – how silly that anyone would choose those few bombed out hippies on the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph and elevate them as winners on this campus class war scene. how prescient the human mag authors in fact were.

          Good one, Pelican humor mag. And then the FSM happened a few months later, and yes a dorm guy did win student body president. And the “hippies” also emerged victorious.

          And since humor also died with this radical movement, so did the campus humor magazine a few short years later. We no longer had a shared cultural common denominator to poke fun at. On the edges of this soon to be humorless time time was the emergence of Bill Cosby and Steve Martin which did give us some laughs, particularly when Bill Cosby opened for Ella Fitzgerald at a campus concert.

          The campus quickly melted down into several years of major chaos after I graduated. And then I moved to Ohio (another foreign country for a Californian) and on to Italy only to come back to the US in 1971, to a radically changed world it took years for me to fully absorb since i had missed its day to day transformation.

          Yes, 1965 is when everything changed. I have been running to play catch-up ever since.

          • Bill Roche says:

            I’m not surprised you should also pick ’65 as the watershed. I graduated SUNY New Paltz in ’68. In ’65 you wanted to be a BMOC, a student scholar was a good thing, there was still a home coming queen, the whole campus pledged the flag on important occasions, the student body was proud if a professor (yes some were conservatives!) rec’d an award, and the beer barrel rolled Fridays and Saturdays. Not every one “went to town”. Some went to the library and that was ok. Take pride in your school, your accomplishments, and yourself. But by ’68 a deep change was overtaking campus. Every thing had to be challenged, even goodness. I thought then, this malaise is not just about Nam. I wondered if ’65 was the turning point for the renaissance. Did the west suffer a fatal attack of individualism in that year? Nothing matters, religion, trust, god, country, family etc., just me. I’m a sorta libertarian, all for liberty, do your own thing, etc. But you can’t have a nation, or be a community w/just libertarians. They don’t provide enough social “glue”. The left were not libertarians but totalitarians. They were dreck who never quite fit in. Much like the kid who looses the board game, they came to knock it over so others might not enjoy it. What kind of people take joy in destruction.
            1965 was not a perfect point in time. Much could be improved but improving society is not what the left wants, it wants destruction. It only took a beer or two w/them back in ’65 to know that. Oh yeah, I picked up the tab, even back then.

          • TTG says:


            We must have been years behind the cultural curve in rural Connecticut. I started high school in 1967 and was firmly in the grasp of the Jesuits for four years. I remember the McGovern campaign and the first Earth Day, but that was about as counter-culture as we got. Father Pedro Arrupe didn’t coin his “A man for others” until I graduated from high school, but we lived under that Jesuit dictum throughout high school. Before that, we lived under a similar dictum in grammar school, in church and in the community. I remember countless examples of being admonished to respect and help those around us. That respect extended to the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations and even into the Nixon administration. I don’t know if Watergate changed that.

            I graduated from RPI in 1976. We had a satirical humor magazine all while I was there. I remember George Carlin shows in the field house and we listened to Cheech and Chong records. “Fritz the Cat” played in our theater. The rathskellar in the lower floor of the Rensselaer Student Union was the center of student life, for the hippies, the nerds and the jocks. Drinking age was still 18 and we all drank. Marijuana was also prevalent. There was a lot of overlap among the hippies, nerds and jocks and there was little real political divisiveness. The Viet Nam war was over and the fuel crisis didn’t divide us. Between rigorous studies and heavy boozing, there really wasn’t time for political or moral outrage.

          • Whitewall says:

            Deap and Bill,
            This article fits right in with your time frames:

            Gradual gangrene ever since.

  2. cobo says:

    From sea to shining sea, this can’t be let to go down. I’m in CA, and I have no tribe, but CA is incredible. If CA can’t make it, the world can’t make it. And we ain’t all about what we’re being deceived to be.

  3. JK/AR says:

    “I remember those old days fondly and with great pride. We were all so full of patriotism and a such a strong sense of community. Damn I miss those days.”

    As you ought TTG, as you ought.

    “Damn I miss those days.”

    Me too.

    Probably took me sometime into my 20s before I looked the word up, etymologically speaking before I really had a firm grasp of what Great Grandma was really meaning …

    “I hearken back” she used to say. And, kneehigh to a grasshopper (aware she often used words in ways beyond me she knelt, grasped my hands in hers, full-gazed my eyes and said some further “What do you understand I appreciate to mean?”

    I used to think some form of ‘wonder’ but I think now more akin to awe. ‘Wonder’ seems to me, now; a concept within a child’s grasp.

    Awe a thing entirely a scale beyond.

    “Damn I miss those days”?

    • Deap says:

      Our local zoo has a plaque for some reason by the penguins: “Wonder is the foundation of wisdom”. Ascribed as an ancient Greek saying. I love those words.

  4. leith says:

    As I recall it was our teachers back in the 50s that led the flag day celebrations.

    Nowadays no ceremonies around my way other than retirement ceremonies by our local veteran groups for torn or damaged flags. We also sponsor an essay contest at the local high school. But it took some convincing of a newbie English teacher who was dead set against it until she heard of the potential scholarship money, and the assistant principal who is the daughter of a Viet-Nam vet also helped her change her mind.

    • Deap says:

      Our local HS grads wore shawls around the necks of their graduation robes that sported the Mexican Flag symbols of the Eagle, Cactus and Serpent. I guess this was their way of thanking us for 13 years of free, California tax payer supported K-12 education.

  5. Jovan P says:

    I have to ask a few politically incorrect questions for the baby boomer and similar generations –

    Can it be said that the LGBT+ ideology (adoption of children by gays, indoctrination of little kids to change gender) , woke ideology and ensuing witch hunts, liberal laws about surrogate parenthoods (where you practically buy babies), and etc. have the goal to weaken the family, hence the US and potentially the world?
    Or is it just fashion?

    Don’t want to sound romantic ’bout the good old times, keeping in mind the Roman historian Marcus Porcius Cato who spoke that everything was more decent in the old days than at his time, and later his descendant wrote the same about his times compared to his ancestor times. And I еxpect the earth to keep spinning around, with God’s help.

    But it seems that this ain’t no technological breakdown…

    • Bill Roche says:

      Jovan re ur question. IMO, yes. The left are destroyers of all which does not conform to their world. Fascists, their world will result in anarchy then tyranny … more Greek than Roman. I too am reminded of Cato’s comments but the left aint for gradual change around common principles. The left brings destruction. They have always been so. I am against them.

      • Deap says:

        The Left today, is what the Reign of Terror was to the high-mindedness of the French Revolution.

    • Deap says:

      “Children by choice” mentality that emerged after the introduction of The Pill in the mid 1960’s was more of a sea change in attitudes about self, family and future than we have yet appreciated.

      “Every child a wanted child”, the cri de guerre of Planned Parenthood ultimately paid off in the obsessive narcissism we see in both today’s parent and child. As well as the extraordinary costs of hospital neo-natal survival efforts diverting health care resources into a new, unquestionable and emotionally charged funding mandate. While at the same time, millions of pre-term babies are discarded down the Planned Parenthood garbage disposal.

      This has been a huge psychological dislocation, about what was previously a fundamental act of nature – birth and perpetuation of the species since time immemorial. Never has there been such a convoluted path when forming one’s own sensibilities about children and family.

      NB: Children by choice was always a backdoor option, it just came out of the shadows and became now an active pre-emptive choice; not an after the fact consequence. Yes, there have always been crude forms of birth control, abortions and orphanages for abandoned babies.

      But never as publicly self-conscious and up front as it is today. How has this translated into the psyches of young men nd women who now for several generations raised with the awesome choice – to reproduce, to retreat or to kill.

  6. MJ says:

    As a GenXer I still fly the flag and still love America warts and all.

  7. Whitewall says:

    There was and is a generation between The Greatest Generation and the Boomers-I am an early Boomer, the generation is often called the Silent Generation, born between about 1927 and the years of the Depression and just after. Their numbers were less but they were believers in FDR and government is good and trusted. Many in this generation became college lecturers and associate professors until they gained tenure. This group had a lot of influence on the 1960s students especially at major schools.

    • Deap says:

      The narrow group called The WarBabies – born during WWII – before Boomers – also have a unique transitional niche – children raised by Depression Age parents who knew deprivation and passed on frugality to their children, along with being active participants in religious institution-value childhoods, which included productive civic engagement.

      War Babies also remember when both TV and credit cards were introduced as the culture moved from family-centered values that had immediate consequences for right and wrong decisions, to mass entertainment values which diffused this formerly intimate and immediate local control over our lives.

      We also lived with death as part of life – family members, child hood friends, frail relatives often living at home, and even one parent who never came back from WWII, or came back too damaged to be actively engaged in our live and instead retreated into dark silence. Life was sober and precious.

      Our strength was receiving bedrock values – we knew right from wrong and consequences were swift and often physical. Our adult lives witnessed assaults on every one of our bedrock values. With mixed results – some needed remediation; others paid a huge price in their loss.

      As a Californian, I scoffed at the tenacity of Southern States who demand the Ten Commandments be placed in every public school classroom. Yet, now older and having been exposed to the moral relativity and moral depravity that replaced those old bedrock values, I find little not to like about their fundamental moral guideposts.

      I am sorry we now have several generations who were never even exposed to the concept of unifying bedrock values. In that way, diversity is not our strength.

      I appreciate today the Ten Commandments are not necessarily denominational, they are not uniquely WASP nor “white”; they are universal and are repeated in most every language and culture across the eons of time whenever people gathered together and formed civilizations.

      There must be rules. The Ten Commandments work was well as anything else, and maybe even better because they are short, direct and un-nuanced.

      • Whitewall says:

        I remember the rules you speak of very well. I was born and raised and still live in North Carolina and remember the Ten Commandments in class rooms as well as class starting with the Pledge of Allegiance. In the South of that time it was normal. Our elementary school had the customary flag pole and each day those of us who qualified as ‘safety patrol’ or simply ‘patrol boys’ would raise the flag each day and after school, lower it and fold it correctly to put it in the office.

        The South of that time was usually about 3-5 years ‘behind’ social trends of the rest of the nation and thus we were made fun of. That never dawned on me until I entered college. That was where on rare occasions a class might be conducted by a young instructor who may have Berkeley ways and if he insisted on making us recite what we didn’t believe in….well, a time or two a few of the students offered him a fast trip outdoors through an open window. Not always ground floor.

        Your comments have sure brought back a lot of old memories for me.

    • scott s. says:

      Whitewall: Not sure I can agree with that, based on personal history. My parents were born 25 and 29 and married in 52. They had no particular feeling about Roosevelt but became staunch Eisenhower Republicans.

      • Whitewall says:

        scott s.

        My parents too. Where I was aiming was along the line of who taught the classes to the 60s Boomers and where did they come from? I attended college in NC, with a stint in Austria, and the schools that had begun to trend ‘soft on Communism’ as we called it had lecturers who were from this Silent Generation. They were washed in the blood of New Deal idealism and the likes of Harold Ickes Sr. Government central planning would solve everything and the USSR just might be on to something according to them. It seemed to catch on around the country and eventually places in the South.

  8. Deap says:

    Thank you. I miss those days too.

    Even in heathen California, we did things like this in that era too. And we loved eating that white paste right out of the jar, when we could get away with it. Before Mrs Martin’s ruler whacked our knuckles.

    We pledged allegiance to the flag every day in school. We saved our pennies to buy Memorial Day red poppies to wear on our velveteen coats when we went to church. And our fathers were members of the American Legion which taught us proper flag protocol.

    And in the fifth or sixth grade, we debated if Alaska and Hawaii should become states.

  9. John A says:

    That’s the old America.
    It’s gone – deliberately destroyed – and not coming back.
    Believing it can come back absent a violent separation between “Red” and “Blue” tribes means the same thing as believing in Santa Claus.

    • Deap says:

      People, even in California, are getting sick of the moral relativism that marks these post-modern times. Law and order is creeping back into more online dialogues out here. The recent recall of the SF District Attorney who let “small crimes” run rampant, while he chose to take onon only the big crimes and corporations, was a bellwether.

      Old joke, a conservative is a liberal who got mugged. People are getting mugged out here in ways both big and small these days. It is creating a simmering outrage.

      Just as old is the joke, a liberal is a conservative who got arrested. Social justice criminal enforcement, or lack thereof, is now losing its virtue-signaling luster as crime reaches down and is hitting everyone now where they live. Literally. .

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