TODAY I’M 88. On 19th
At double 8’s, I’ve heard and seen it all…well maybe not quite.
Strauss–Howe Generations and Fourth Turning books kind of say, “history repeats itself every 80 years.” In other words, although we think history is linear, it is actually cyclical and we can predict it…somewhat.
Thus at 88, I’m 8 again, and its 1942.
America is in the midst of WWII and we are united by fighting Germany, Japan, and Italy in Europe and the Pacific Islands. Oh and by-the-way, America isn’t winning. In fact, we aren’t sure we can win. In June, the Battle of Midway changes the course of the war. Although Japan plans an incredibly complex attack, American technology breaks part of their secret coded messages. We know their plan.
Fast forward to 2022. Our war is biologic—the Covid pandemic. In 2020, we were losing, but again, American technology in the form of vaccines and their revolutionary delivery system, mRNA turn the tide of humans versus the virus. Today, we deal with Covid like the flu, but unfortunately with more frequent booster shots.
Wars and pandemics affect other parts of human life.
In 1942, there are food and fuel shortages. People plant their own “Victory” gardens to compensate. We have a lovely vegetable garden, Bossy the cow for milk and butter, as well as Snippy the Pony for plowing the garden, which he reluctantly does, running away from time to time to avoid it. My grandmother has chickens, so there are plenty of eggs. We are in much better shape than the city dwellers, as we have backyards to farm. The urbanites have to rely on ration coupons and eat mostly carrots, which are the only vegetables widely available in the cities.
Due to the Covid pandemic, we currently experience food and fuel shortages. People once again plant vegetable gardens. Grocery store shelves are empty and just like in 1942, we learn how to make do.
Before December 7, 1941, Americans are divided between those in favor of The US entering WWII and those who want to stay out. The latter are called isolationists and “America First,” with Charles Lindberg and Gerald Ford as members. The war effort is aided by propaganda, and the Office of War Information is created in 1942 to spread war news and promote patriotism.
Our propaganda is distributed differently in 2022. Movie news reels and the radio have given way to social media and phones. Where propaganda is used to unite Americans in favor of the war effort in 1942, today, propaganda is used to divide us.
One of the worse things to happen during WWII, is when President Roosevelt signs an executive order to create the Japanese Internment Camps. History is repeating, except in 2022, we are dealing with the effects of President Trump’s executive order to cage children and families crossing our southern border.
I was born with heart issues and when I turn eight, I’m allowed out of the bed where I have just spent the last six months. Radio serials are my friends. I am terrified when hearing the words, “The Shadow knows.” Jack Benny and Amos & Andy make me laugh. And Sergeant Preston and Yukon King keep me safe.
Today, I’ve come full circle. My favorite pastimes are to listen to books via Audible and podcasts via Apple. Perhaps it’s because my eyes aren’t quite the same as they were when I was eight, due to some macular degeneration, or perhaps it’s because I so enjoy listening to the radio serials and now audio books every afternoon or evening.
A fun fact: At eight, I begin my career as a journeyman electrician. Because of that pesky macular degeneration, today I can’t see well enough to continue. So in 2022, my 66-year-old wife starts her career as our electrician. She hopes to be one for more than 10 years. (And she helps me edit these little ditties too!)
I’m thrilled to have made it to 88. A great big thank you to my doctors who keep me healthy and my family and friends who keep me young.
Here’s hoping you all make it 88 and beyond to witness your history repeating!