Changing Times in Yonkers: It Ain't Like It Used To Be
No. 7 Trolley on Main Street in Yonkers, New York, passing Genung's at Getty Square
Hitler's Face on the Palisades Viewed from the Hudson River
Newsies & Bootblacks
None of us is getting any younger, of course. But some of us, who have seen 50 come and go, tend to become a little nostalgic.
We long for "the good old days," the days of yesteryear when the music was our music, when the dances were our dances, when girls were girls and boys were boys, friends were friends -- and good triumphed over evil.
It's pleasant, after you've begun the back nine of life, to recall the days when it was a sin to tell a lie, when convicted criminals went to jail, when the kids -- nonviolent and drug free -- that roamed the halls of our grammar schools and high schools couldn't wait to grow up to become responsible adults.
We all thought, in those days, it was a good idea to love one's country, to be proud and patriotic, to be willing and ready to fight for our country -- and for the rights of our friends and neighbors, whatever their race, religion or nationality.
Remember the Trolley Cars
Today, we look longingly back at those days; days when trolley cars rode the rails on our main streets and took us everywhere we wanted to go -- cheaply, efficiently and, more to the point, enjoyably.
We resist the temptation now to say, "Those days are gone forever."
Where there's life there's hope; what goes around comes around. Maybe we'll all wise up one day and take a good look at ourselves; at what we were, what we've become.
Not long after you've passed the south side of 50, you begin to notice things, little things. It's a cliché, but true, that one of the things you observe very quickly as you get a little older is that the cop on the beat -- I beg your pardon: the cop you see in the patrol car -- seems to be getting younger all the time. You want to ask: Is he -- oops, I mean he or she -- really over 21?
The Times They Are A-Changing
And, there are other things! For instance, have you noticed:
* * * Banks don't give you clean, new money all the time anymore when you cash your check. In the old days, they'd weed out the faded, torn bills and often give you crisp new ones.
* * * When the telephone rings these days it's just as likely to be somebody trying to sell you something as your long forgotten aunt calling from Keokuk, Iowa.
* * * It's not easy to get fresh fruit anymore, even in season -- especially tomatoes (Oh, what I'd give for a good old-fashioned, vine ripened tomato!)
* * * Getting your car fixed is about equivalent to what it used to be like getting a tooth pulled.
* * * That guy you saw digging a sewerage hole in your neighborhood recently was a girl!
* * * It doesn't take half the time it used to take to make out Christmas cards.
* * * Few people turn their front tires toward the curb anymore when they're parking on a steep incline.
* * * A lot of things that used to be free -- such as festivals -- now charge you a fee, or, perhaps ask for a donation.
* * * Your golfing partners are a lot more likely to talk about their recent quadruple bypass than yesterday's basketball scores.
I wrote this "My View" column for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on April 23, 1994.