Keep The Flame Going

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I had the wonderful privilege of spending time this afternoon with a lovely woman of a certain age. You know the type, grandmotherly and always ready with a smile, but with an underlying weariness from having seen and done so much.

Indeed, she’s witnessed many things during her long life on this planet; a stock market collapse and depression, World War II, the atomic bomb, a baby boom, Rosa Parks, riots, Civil Rights, Elvis, the Vietnam and Korean wars, bell bottoms, the fall of the Berlin Wall and 15 different U.S. presidents, to name a few.

Plenty of misery to go around in those days but still much joy and optimism too as America grew in to it’s post war prosperity, much of it brought on by the back breaking hard work people did during that time.

Sometimes I wonder if these folks don’t secretly regret all the sacrifices they made so the rest of us could live in such peace and prosperity. I mean really, is a society where more people know the name Kim Kardashian than Kim Jong-un really worth saving?

I don’t know, but I do think people of that era are just a treasure to talk to. There is a certain dignity and common sense about them and they still have many things to teach us. If we bother to listen.

In honor of that I thought I’d share a few pearls of wisdom from that Greatest of Generation woman I conversed with today.

“Mr. President (Eisenhower of course), I had to knock down 7 men to get to you and I’m glad I did, what an honor it is to meet you.”

“I don’t like confrontation. Today it seems that’s all people do.”

“I always thought staying in the same place for too long sounded boring. I was right”

“Isn’t it amazing all the choices women have nowadays? I mean you can literally do anything you want to.”

“Whoever thinks when they build steps up the front walk that one day they’ll be too old to walk down them?”

“I’ll never understand why people get so flustered around famous people. Just because you make pictures, doesn’t mean you’re a good person.”

“That Bob Hope, he really did a lot of good for those poor boys over there.”

“It felt so good to make a difference in someone’s life.”

“I walked by the headstones (Omaha Beach) and just wept, I could feel the terror they must have gone through that awful day.”

“Seeing our flag at Lafayette’s grave made me so proud to be an American.”

“I really like giving advice but not many people come by here now.”

That last one saddens me. There is just something good and solid about that generation that’s fading away fast as time catches up with them. Common decency, humbleness, a strong faith in God with a shared purpose, a strive for excellence, pride for ones country; these make up the torch they are trying to hand off to us. Please, let’s not drop it and let the flame go out.

 

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13 Responses to Keep The Flame Going

  1. Oh, amen to this post! I feel so privleged to have the job I have, because I get to hear the best stories, stories about the great depression and the war. Stories about love and life and struggle. Nearly all of my widows have a kind of anxiety these days, they tell me the world feels just like it did right before we went into WW2. I get to hear tales about what it was like being one of the first stewardesses on the first airplanes and what it was like to work with computers when they took up three floors of a building. These people are a wealth of information that give me hope, just because they help us believe in the triumph of the human spirit. The people who came before us, they’ve survived some remarkable things.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Tricia says:

      That is so cool about your job IB ad that you get to hear stories like that from amazing points in time by our wonderful elders. I too sense the trepidation they have about what’s going on now, as if the world is completely upside down and it’s inevitable for something like WW3 to break out. They give me hope too which is always good. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Did you ever see the movie Saving Private Ryan Tricia? If you did you will get this, if not maybe I can capture it quickly. At the beginning and the end of the movie, Ryan and his family, him now well aged are visiting a cemetery in Europe. Then the bulk of the movie happens and so many died just to save Private Ryan. At the end he finds the grave of the fellow played by Tom Hanks who led the expedition to save him and died. That was the question Ryan asked over the grave…that he hoped he had lived a life which made those men dying worthwhile

    Good one again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Well thanks so much Wally for mentioning Saving Private Ryan, even though it’s a bit hard to watch at times, it’s one of my favorite movies! And you’re right it does capture the essence of those older folks so well. They are truly an amazing group of people, they are national treasures and should be respected as such.

      I hope you get this response. When I was typing my original one, I hit the wrong key somehow and accidentally trashed your comment, sorry! Stupid WP 🙂

      Like

  3. ColorStorm says:

    Just plain special trish.
    Your friend found some good ears to pass along the joy of living. Love those quotes too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this, Tricia. I enjoyed your musings, and your passing along the venerable gal’s comments.

    Some years ago, my father (who was in his late 80s) was telling one of the many stories I’d heard of his early days — a teenager in the Roaring Twenties, a hobo during the Depression, an oil tanker pilot being bombed by kamikaze pilots during World War II, a blimp pilot in the post-war years — and I decided to try to capture this.

    I bought him a tape recorder (which used microcasettes at the time) and got him to tell his stories to the recorder. Later, with about a hundred hours of material, I transcribed those tapes and organized the stories chronologically, and made a book out of it. He was delighted, and the book was a hit at family reunions which gave him tremendous pleasure.

    Perhaps something like this would be useful for your friend — and give her a sense of a lasting contribution.

    Best wishes!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hey Keith, what a wonderful story about your dad, thanks for sharing that. How fascinating it must have been to listen to him talk about those times, I just love stuff like that.

      That’s so neat too you were able to get him on tape and compile a book. Hmmm, it does give me some inspiration, thank you! 🙂

      Like

  5. Al says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Tricia. And what a coincidence, as just yesterday I was reminiscing with my wife about some of the funny, but enlightening, things my grandmother used to say to us. So glad my wife got to spend several years with her also. I only hope that I am imparting just half of the thoughts of value to my granddaughters as she did to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jncthedc says:

    You have just honored this lovely woman in the nicest way possible. You shared her with us, and I, for one am grateful. Those with years under their belt have so much experience that can benefit the rest of us. In this country, retirement represents the end of “self worth.” I believe this is a huge mistake. These people should be recognized and appreciated. We should tap into them and politely use them as wonderful resources of experience. Instead, we typically avoid them and treat them as if they are a burden to society. I hope your post makes people think twice the next time they pass by an elderly person sitting alone. We benefit as much from the interaction and communication as they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      What a wonderful comment Jonathan, it’s worthy I’d say of a blog post of it’s own. I so agree with you of our casual dismissal of our elderly and the enormous value they offer, it’s a huge mistake. I speak with seniors a lot and a common theme is loneliness because they just have no one to talk to any more. Would that we would listen more.

      Like

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