71 "Different Time, Different Place?"
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.