71 "Different Time, Different Place?"

My little brother and myself.
My little brother and myself. | Source

I grew up blinded to real life.


Different Time, Different Place?

I must have grown up in a completely different world or time.

I was born in 1947, grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the suburbs of the Los Angeles area and always felt I had a very normal life. I never saw or had to deal with things like drugs, segregation, gangs or anything like that. I guess I can really consider myself lucky in that aspect. As far as I knew when I was growing up, everyone was the same. I always had friends of all descents and/or nationalities and/or religious beliefs. They were always just that to me, friends, nothing else.

Not until I enlisted in the Air Force in the mid 1960’s did I ever witness any drugs or discrimination. As I wrote in my hub, “Viet Nam Vets”, one of my ‘helpers to be’ was on his way from his home in Texas, after completing basic training in San Antonio, to Alexandria, LA to report for duty at England Air Force Base as a baker.

He was traveling in his Air Force dress blues. He stopped at a hamburger stand in Texas to eat. He was told that “his kind” had to go to the back to be served. Well, with my not having ever heard of someone being so rude and cruel, it really ticked me off. All I could think of is that this boy was serving his country, but who cared about that, he was “black”. It angers me to write about it even today.

Then, another kind of incident that showed I grew up different than everybody else, happened when I was stationed in Alaska serving my “overseas” tour of duty. On the radar site there was a little theater and there would be a different movie every week or two, weather permitting. One of the movies we were blessed with was called “Mary Jane”. I went to see the movie expecting to see a movie about a woman named “Mary Jane”. The guys sitting next to me actually had to explain to me that the movie was about teenagers using marijuana. Then they had to explain to me what marijuana was. I had no idea. Boy, was I ignorant? That’s why I made the statement at the beginning of this article.

Now days I watch a lot of shows on the History Channel and National Geographic’s and I have to ask myself, “How was I so ignorant of what was going on all around me?” And it’s not like I grew up in the backwoods somewhere. I grew up in the Bell, Maywood, Southgate and Downey areas of California.

Greg


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Comments 49 comments

picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

Good hub. I think you grew up right before sex,drugs and rock and roll were prevalent. I grew up about six years later than you and was witness to a lot more than you...and I WAS from a small town.


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 4 years ago from Aurora

Fortunately, you did not grow up as far back as Dickensonian England, as a poor waif.

Please continue writing. I love writing about my family's past.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

You were born a year before me. I grew knowing nothing about drugs or colored people. My hometown in England was whiter then white.

It wasn't until I was 21 that I first encountered Marijuana and was scared to death because there was a policeman across the street.

Voted up and interesting, Joyce.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Greg, your childhood doesn't sound ignorant, protected maybe. Sad to think of the innocence lost, different time and place.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

I'm not too sure about Downy but Glendale was lilly white throughout the 60's and well into the 70's. I think I had one Mexican-American kid in my grammar school classes and one kid from Indonesia (who referred to himself as being "Dutch" although he was clearly of Orient descent). In the 50's Glendale was home to the John Birch Society. The lamp posts all bore swastikas molded into their bases. I don't think there was a single black person living in the community until sometime in the 70's. Today, Glendale has become "Little Armenia," as you may know -- so things do change with time. But, I sense the two of us lived highly sheltered lives. In a sense we did in fact live in the "backwoods." I learned about marijuana in high school, and found nothing attractive about it. I never experimented -- never even had the temptation. For my nose the stuff stunk like burning gym socks. More importantly, I didn't feel the "need" to get high. I was a happy teenage kid. I had my few friends, my comic books, my science fiction magazines, my model airplanes ... I didn't feel any mental crisis. Even as I neared draft age, I had an instant out by being classified as a "sole surviving son." I watched my Elvis Presley movies, and all I could think about was girls, girls, girls. Los Angeles and its suburbs didn't really become a microcosm of the world until the mid-80's. I live in Orange County now -- once solid Ronald Reagan conservative territory -- but even that has evolved into a potpourri of many enthnicities. I always found L.A. to be a gas because there was nothing more hilarious than listening to (for instance) someone from Iran trying to speak with, oh, say someone from China. The exchange of accents was always hilarious. And I found by living there that I can understand people with broken English probably better than anyone living in any other part of the country, including NYC. NYC has nothing on Los Angeles except for its ridiculous concentration of high rises (an impossibility in earthquake-prone L.A.) People in NYC think they have the best city in the world, and they are wrong -- the west is the best. For someone visiting Los Angeles for the first time -- they would find the city endless ... and in a way it is. You can drive from South of San Diego all the way to San Francisco and never figure out where the city limits exist.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I grew up in the 60s and 70s in New York City. Growing up in the slums, I was very much aware of drugs and gangs. But was 'blinded' by choice. I found nothing attractive about my surroundings so chose to ignore the downside of life and concentrated on finding a way out.

I live in a quiet little village in England. I made sure my kids knew about drugs, gangs and racism so they could make informed choices about what direction they wanted to take with their lives. So far, so good.


BeyondMax profile image

BeyondMax 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

That was really interesting to read, so different. Wow. Fascinating. I can imagine your cultural shock when you faced all the spectrum of reality outside LA.


wynnestudios profile image

wynnestudios 4 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

It's probably a good thing you grew up without that knowledge because I'm sure you had a better childhood. Raising kids these days takes a lot of work. With the internet, drugs, sex, cell phones and alcohol, these kids are looking for fun 24/7. Of course I am the mean dad for having rules and consequences.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend, i don't think you were ignorant,i just think you grew up around kids that didn't do that kind of stuff so you just were not exposed to it .


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

A lost innocence, a past world...thank you for sharing this interesting part of your world!

Voted Up!


Hubert Williams 4 years ago

I wish that children now could enjoy a drug free existence and people, just people, no colors.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Oh to have the innocence of that era again. You should have no regrets as you lived a life without the prejudism and negative influence of the decades.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

You were lucky. I grew up in a small town where only two black people lived. They were treated as outcasts. I hated it then. I hate it now. Loved your story..Thank you..


Livinfaith profile image

Livinfaith 4 years ago from Washington State

I grew up in Northern CA in the 60's and was exposed to drugs in early teens. Things were certainly simpler then in the 50's and 60's. I miss them sometimes. Keep writing please, We need more good stories.


kj force profile image

kj force 4 years ago from Florida

gregas..I am a bit older than you, and grew up in a European village where there was no racism/segregation drugs/rarely a crime ...it wasn't until I came to the U.S. that it reared it's ugly head..I have come to understand it, jealousy, hate and ignorance of others..

very well written hub..thumbs up !


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

I am just like this I envision myself as Mr Magoo, things falling around me but, never landing on me. Thank goodness your innocents was protected. Thank you for sharing your great article!


gregas profile image

gregas 4 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Pickles, Thank you. As I look back at it now, it was prevailant, I guess I was just lucky and never got involved for whatever reason. Greg

Hi Laura, Thank you for the encouragement. Greg

Hi Joyce, Thank you. It wasn't that I grew up in a predominatly white area, I guess I was just lucky and my parents didn't show or preach prejudices. Greg

Hi RJ, Thank you. Like I fold Joyce, I lived around people of all other races, I was just taught to respect people in general. That is the way I grew up and the way I still believe and I the way I taught my kids. Greg

Hi Phoenix, Thank you. Good for you for the way you handled your life and bettered your life. Greg

Hi Max, Thank you. There really was no shock, it I just accepted it in a natural way as I have done all my life. My shock is that just in the past few years I have come to realize that I did miss out on a lot when I was a kid. Greg

Hi Wynne, Thank you. You just keep those rules and consequences. I raised 3 kids and now have 8 grand kids and 8 great grandkids, so I know what it is like raising them these days too. The good part is, I get to send them home. Greg

Hi Kashmir, Thank you. I do consider myself lucky for that. Greg

Hi Curiad, Thank you. I love sharing. Greg

Hi Hubert, Thank you. That would be so nice, a life without exposure to drugs, racism, death, etc. Greg

Hi Teaches, Thank you. Yea, the innocence of when we played out on the streets at night and all the neighbors would leave their porch lights on. Greg

Hi AE, Thank you. I have always hated prejudice. I guess it came natural for me. Greg

Hi Livinfaith, Thank you. I actual miss those times quite often. Greg

Hi KJ, Thank you. It is an ugly head and it runs rampant here way too often. Greg

Hi Angela, Thank you. The Mr. Magoo thing is only good for certain things. We the people have had the Mr. Magoo Syndrom for way to long when it comes to politics and where this country is going. Greg


janniesavon profile image

janniesavon 4 years ago from NE USA

WOW, when I read what happened to you regarding the movie it reminded me of what happened to us way back around 1970. Friends had us to their place near Pittsburgh and there was a New Year's Eve "bash" going on at this one point. Where did everyone go, we wondered, when there was no one around in the home we were staying at.

We never were involved with drugs, etc. and it ended up everyone else from the party was out in their cars doing drugs. We found that out later. And we look back and are SO glad we stayed clear of THAT scene.

Greg keep up the good work with your writing about subjects that are of benefit to and refreshing to others! :)

Looking forward to that new world that is foretold in that Ancient Book. (2 Peter 3:13)


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

That is so cool. What an innocent time, even if the world around was doing it's thing , children were just required at that time to "be children." Great hub, thanks for taking me back too.


janniesavon profile image

janniesavon 4 years ago from NE USA

Gregas, enjoyed this and wanted to thank you for such a positive posting.

janniesavon


hisandhers profile image

hisandhers 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I don't think that you missed out on anything! I grew up in the late eighties/early nineties and even though some people would argue I grew up in a "less innocent time", I was very fortunate that I never had any experiences with the things you described either. I like to think it made me even more willing to refuse those kinds of prejudices as the norm when I grew older. Such a nice hub! Voted up.


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 4 years ago

You weren't the only one who grew up in innocence, although I was born a few years after you, the innocence was still there, which is great for children, but subject you to a huge shock when you realise there are other types of people in the world besides those with whom you grew up! Voted up and really enjoyed the read.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

Hisandhers: You would be mistaken that being brought up in a more sheltered childhood would lead to any type of prejudices or protect one from their ignominy. I grew up in a basically "all white" community, and I can safely say that I have no prejudices. It's not the absence of contact with other races that gives rise to bigotry. If no one is planting influences upon your mind about who is good and who is bad, who to avoid and who to trust, the open mind will not automatically create stereotypes. Living mostly in Southern California, with a mother who had friends of all races, I regarded everyone as equally kind and deserving. My only experience with racial profiling occurred when I was in the fifth grade, living in upstate New York. Our class had exactly one black student (Rodney). The teacher treated him like some kind of animal. I vividly recall the teacher ramming Rodney's head into the steam furnace for reasons that were not apparent to any of his class mates. Like the rest of my fellows, I felt very bad for Rodney because he did not deserve this kind of physical punishment (or punishment of any kind). He was a good kid. I think he got held back a grade, so he was bigger than the rest of us, but he never bullied anyone. On the contrary, he was fun-loving and had a great sense of humor. I don't think there was a single student who disliked him. But, the teacher was another matter. As a matter of daily routine, he would hurl pieces of chock or an eraser into his corner at the back of the room. This was my first direct contact with bigotry/hatred, and it left a lasting impression. I don't know what the teacher hoped to accomplish with his physical abuse, but it planted the seed in my mind that people in the minority needed protection -- that they were -- without a doubt, disadvantaged. Ever since I have sided with blacks and other minorities because the hatred in this country toward them was obvious and revolting. Even the blank mind of a child can recognize injustice. We are all covered with the grime of racial prejudice, regardless of where we grew up or what interracial experiences we might have encountered.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Gregas,

I don't think you were ignorant at all but lucky. I think children nowadays are forced to grow up too soon.

Voted up and away!


farmloft profile image

farmloft 4 years ago from Michigan

I'm sure you grew up too busy to get into trouble, and your parents must have been a good example to you.


Nigelstrawberry profile image

Nigelstrawberry 4 years ago from Cheshire

Thank you for this - it was a great read!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I grew up the same way. The only way I could have known these things would have been through my parents because my friends weren't doing any of this stuff and my parents were ignorant to it long afterwards when it did finally hit. lol

As an adult I watched some young parents not only do the drugs but bring their children into it. I loved them all and it was a hard thing to watch.

Well lets just thank God we had an innocent childhood, I am sure they are no longer easy to come by. Voting up.


whowas 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this experience. You know, I don't think there is anything amiss at all in being innocent of racism and drug abuse.

Sounds to me that you had a good upbringing to be 'color blind' and ignorant of drugs. That awakening came later but because of your childhood, your reactions were just as they should be: anger at the racism and refusal with the drugs.

The dangers of drug addiction have been scientifically demonstrated time and time again and racism is indefensible in the face of what we now know from evolutionary biology - namely, that we all came out of Africa about 150 million years ago! So we are all Africans if you go back far enough. I'm not religious myself but I know religious people who also accept the fact of evolution and they find Biblical 'evidence' that the garden of Eden was in Africa, too!

By the way, in your profile you suggest that you are not a good writer. I don't see that at all. This is a very interesting hub. Thank you!


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

I was born in 1945, and although innocent of drugs ran into a nasty racial incident early on. When I was 14, I lived in a small town in northern New Jersey. There were no African Americans in my high school. My stepfather hired an African American man from Newark, and we became friends with his family. I babysat his four kids frequently. Once when I was out with them on the high school playground, some of the kids I knew came over and started to hurl horribly nasty racial comments at the kids, bringing us all to tears. I yelled back at them, but all they did was insult me as well. I felt so horrible for those poor sweet children. It was my first up close and personal look at how ugly prejudice can be, and I never forgot it.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

Ecclesiastes 3:

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob Bamberg 4 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

Hello, Greg,

You're not alone! I could have written this hub, with the exceptions that I was born in 1946 and grew up in a small town (17,000) outside of Boston.

We only had one black family in town and the kids were my friends. We played ball together and swigged from the same bottle of Coke that was passed around. We complained about their faults and they complained about ours, but they rode in the front of the bus like the rest of us and no one thought anything about it.

I, too, was in the Air Force and saw the ugly face of discrimination for the first time. It was quite a shock for the naive kid from the burbs. I thought I'd have to pretend to be a racist to fit in or, at least, not be harassed.

My folks counseled me to stick to my guns and I did. I was a bit of an outcast in some circles, and just part of the crowd in others...and it's been that way for 50 years.

Fortunately, we've come a long way since those terrible, terrible segregated days when you and I were kids. To our grandkids, those days will be an ugly chapter in the history books, just like slavery was in ours. I just wonder how long the healing is going to take.

Great hub, voted up and interesting. By the way, I have a sister-in-law in Downey. Regards, Bob


healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

I grew up in a small town and was a little sheltered also. Eventually reality does set in and you catch up. I try to tell my children the realities of the world but I don't think it's possible to truly understand prejudice until you encounter it. Thanks for sharing your story.


Sarra Garrett 4 years ago

Voted up and Awesome. I'm a babyboomer who grew up in the mountains of New Hampshire. We were definitely shielded from everything. To me, people are people no matter what color they are. What predjudice is is the fear of not knowing. Sad we still have it going on still.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

Great hub, and I understand exactly where you are coming from. Brought back some memories. Very enjoyable read.


sanjay-sonawani profile image

sanjay-sonawani 3 years ago from Pune, India.

Wonderful write.


Little Grandmommy profile image

Little Grandmommy 3 years ago from Small Town Tennessee

I was born in 1958 in Pacoima. Lived in Glendale, Semi Valley and Van Nuys before moving back to Tennessee where my parents are from in 1970. I was totally unaware of many things until I was an older teenager and looking back on it now, I'm glad I was. Really nice hub.


RealityTalk profile image

RealityTalk 3 years ago from Planet Earth

I was born in 1957 and I grew up in a small suburb in Western New York. Although I grew up in the 60s, my first exposure to drugs was not until the 70s in High School.

Before High School, I was very naive about a lot of things. I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone, except one retired couple, had a large family. We were all of the same ethnicity. We all had the same religious beliefs. And we all were living with both our parents. We never locked our doors and it was not uncommon to see 50 or more of us kids playing baseball, or kick the can, or hide and seek, or whatever game seemed fun in the street. We never had to worry about being hit by a car. Most families stayed home, except for our dads who left 5 days a week to work. No one played inside. I guess partly because there were only 3 channels on the little black and white TV we owned and there was nothing much to watch on TV until 8 p.m. And mom (most of the moms were home all day) did not want us hanging around in the house. On a non-school day, we woke. At breakfast. Played outside. Came in for a 5 minute lunch. Went back outside. Came in for dinner at 5 p.m. exactly. Then back outside again until bedtime. This routine was always the same, no matter the season.

I remember in the 3rd grade a black family moved into our school district. This was the first time I ever saw or spoke with an African American. The family had no children and one of them was a boy my age. I was fairly popular in grade school, and partly because I could be friends with anyone. No one wanted to be his friend, so I made a point of befriending him. I also met a boy whose family moved to our neighborhood from Germany. His parents barely spoke understandable English. Norbert and me became best friends. I never thought about racial or cultural differences when I was younger. I just thought people were different and it was fun to get to know them and understand them.

When I entered High School is when I was introduced to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I actually went to High School in a different neighborhood as my family moved the summer before. This neighborhood was a little different. Door were locked. No one played in the street. Other kids could only be found at some distance by walk or bicycle.

I don't regret my experiences growing up. Each one was a growing experience whether it taught me something good or bad about human nature. I will say however, I miss my old "Mayberry" type neighborhood when I was very young. Everyone seemed to care about everyone and everyone seemed to know everyone else. No one was afraid to leave their doors unlocked. We even shared "party lines." Do you remember those? But, I can't go backwards.

Maybe ignorance as a child is a good thing. Children grow up so quick and as adults have to face many challenges. It's nice to be able to look back on pleasant memories.


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi RT, It is good to be able to remember good things, and unfortunately, a lot of bad memories come up too. But, like I have always said, we need memories, good or bad, to move forward with our lives. They're all good as long as we learn from them. Thank you. Greg


whatilearned profile image

whatilearned 3 years ago from England

Great hub, interesting to read. Were you into Bob Dylan in the 60's/70's? I'd find it hard to be ignorant to him!


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

Greg, you and I have a lot in common about growing up naive and not knowing about the "real" world. Frankly I have come to realize just how lucky I was in the way I was raised and the family I had back in the forties. Nice work my friend. whonu


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California. Author

WIL, no Bob Dylan, back then I couldn't have even told you who he was. Greg.

Who, Yeah, when I look back I consider myself very lucky when I consider the other ways it could have gone. Greg.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

gregas,

This was a great read and I really enjoyed it. I was born in 1944, and like you I never knew about drugs and segregation and race problems until I entered the Navy in 1967. Although I lived in a suburb of Milwaukee up until I was almost 10, I never remember playing with kids who were into any drugs. There didn't seem to be any then. After I moved onto a farm, I didn't see my first black kid until our 8th grade class took a trip out to Washington D.C. in 1958. I didn't become cognizant of drugs like LSD until I was in the Navy and had to watch a movie in 1969 about the effects of LSD on Navy personnel. I wasn't introduced to marijuana until I went back to college in 1972 and was 28. Voted up and sharing with followers.


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California. Author

Hi Paul, thank you for sharing. Greg


Joseph Beridze profile image

Joseph Beridze 3 years ago from Los Angeles

Well, as I understand, your life was Strait and Prudent.

You were also lucky, or were you? All destinies, in time,

The time that is here and now, growing to sad congruent

Of memories of past. I was born in 1942 and life of mine

Wasn't so lucky, or was it? Sad memories, but I still fight.


W1totalk profile image

W1totalk 3 years ago

There are always different mindsets. You can feel blind but the reality is people think in so many different ways and accept many different rules. Great read.


Joseph Beridze 3 years ago

As once a hero of British classics said,

Each mind is a whole Universe of its own

And when shrapnel exploded his skull (sad),

His Universe blown along with it. He is gone.

But eternal God's and Universal Laws stand.

There were many Levites, in time of Christ,

With different mindsets, maybe even rules,

Respectful people and families, being alive.

But for conspiring plagiarize or kill him, all,

Condemned - no more joy for canning guys.

I didn't mind an honest life of American man,

I didn't mind that he had different "mindset".

I mentioned it because I was identified, then,

In 1947, as four years old child, being blessed.

For help to the suffering world, I was betrayed.

Russia's leaders sentenced my mother and me,

Invited USA and Brits plagiarize what God gave

And all my life I am not lucky, in "pain amplifiers"

Of East and West, not unlike Crist, tortured by Dave.

Blessed those that are not dancing joyfully at my Cross.


Tolovaj profile image

Tolovaj 2 years ago

You are right, different times, different places. But this probably doesn't mean you can't find very similar places today, some kind ob bubbles in the global chaos ... You wrote you don't mind if you missed some things and I can say the same for myself. The problem is we too often forget how happy we actually are with our lives before something bad happens.

Thanks for some food for thought!


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 10 months ago from Central Florida

I'm a year younger than you, but living in the country buffered us from issues of the day. We belonged to 4-H, entered our rabbits in the fair and enjoyed life. Now, youngsters have a lot more to deal with and I'm sorry they miss out on the carefree childhood we had.


Victoria Hanna profile image

Victoria Hanna 4 months ago from Suffolk, United Kingdom

I think it was good that you grew up unknowing of all the bad things, but I also think it was a good thing your eyes were opened. You were not taught to hate at a young age, so it made it easier for you to stand up for something you knew was wrong when it came to your attention. I respect that. Thank you for your service, my husband is in the Air Force, as well and we will be traveling to the UK as his first duty station this Fall!

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