Looking through the glass apothecary jars at Peterson’s grocery store, was a swirling dream of every kind of candy a kid could want. A small cardboard sign read “3 cents for 5 pieces.”

It took us all day of bottle hunting to get enough money to get our fill of candy. Glass bottles gave you a 2 cent refund for bringing them back to the store. Not much litter back then, someone was always looking for a way to make money, even a pittance.

Hand-me-down clothes was the way of life for most of us. I never really knew the difference until I was bit older. I was a fat kid so I always ended up with Sears Husky’s jeans and a previously owned shirt. It only served to enhance my level of appreciation later in life. I didn’t care about showing off for girls when I was that young anyway.

Men, like my father, worked hard at their jobs. They may not have liked working in the conditions which some had to endure, but, I think they were glad to have a job.

My father and mother worked all the time to provide for us. We will never know their struggles, for in those days, parents never told their problems to their kids. They were always afraid we would blab it all over the neighborhood. How wise they were indeed.

Most of my friend’s parents worked at the same jobs for what seemed, forever. It was not uncommon for a man to work the same job for 45 or even 50 years. They were the prime definition of people in a rut. I remember listening to them talking about their lives, I could not even fathom the thought of doing the same kind of work over and over again for that long. Oh My God NO!

I have frequently watched the people who grew older with me. They had the same experiences as I. They vowed the same vows as I, yet, when they grew up they became the exact persons that they vowed not to become. They worked for many years at the same jobs, complaining in the same fashion in which we had heard our pedecessors. I have not followed that unholy path.

One day, it dawned on me, that even if I had wished to travel the path of the old ways, it was not to be. It could not be. I realized as the people before me had, that the old ways had vanished. I was trapped in the New World.

I heard a wonderful grey haired old person say “the reason that we repeat the same old stories, is because we will never have anymore new stories to talk about” I thought,”how strong and true is that statement”?

As I write this story new ideas and new stories, flow into my mind. Wishing I had the time and energy to tell all of them to you, so you could see what an exciting and wonderful life I have had. Gosh, my body is getting wrinkly, and my joints hurt, but my mind is so very young. Your mind can keep your body going even when it wants to quit. I am convinced of that.

Comfort and warmth are good words to an old person. We want that so much. Maybe it is because when we were young, we gave that up in so many instances.

Our elders made us feel wimpy when we complained. We did not want to be wimpy, but really, we were. And guess what? Our parents were wimpy compared to their parents. It goes like that from generation to generation. We put that out of our minds because who wants that tag on them? I am laughing as I write this. I know many of you know exactly what I am talking about and that is comforting to me.

You know, I am typing this on a computer. New stuff, new days, new ways and thoughts. I always promised myself that when I grew older I would not complain about the new music. Our parents did that to us. Jimmie Hendrix, the Stones, Janice, Humble Pie. Sometimes, you can not help yourself.

Man, I really can not stand this rap crap. I don’t like gangsters making kids think that it is powerful to be a gangster. I am an old time cop from Chicago, and gangsters are bad news. Our kids feel powerless so these gangsters seem like they are a source of power. They are not powerful, they are weak and pathetic.

Contributing to society is strong and powerful. Helping people rise up is strong. Teaching young people about forgiveness, love, and family care is magnificent. Sacrifice for others is being really tough just like the old people I remember.

Many people who are trying to do just that are vexed with the new ways of society. There is not loyalty in the workplace anymore. Doing a great job for the company does not earn you longjevity, people who can still do the right thing in spite of all they face today are the real powerhouses, we should all be looking up to. Real heros in a cold world.

Greed fuels many of the social climbers and watching the families of this country struggle means nothing to them. They will gladly step on the heads of families to fill their pockets with money. No matter to them, they see themselves as the real power houses and those they step on as weak.

Now I say my little prayer,”God, please don’t let me be behind one of these people on judgement day, because I have enough to worry about without You being in a bad mood because of one of those knuckle heads” Amen.

Change is good. Look at these words and see if you can identify yourself. Good guy or bad guy? Stepping on people for greed or building people up for the sake of humanity. Gangster and proud of it, or, the person putting your arm around someone who needs it, showing them real strength?

So many voices calling for help out here today, so many who can not help themselves because somehow the world has changed into the Cold New World. It won’t be long before I will be checking out. I have been fortunate to make my changes and asked for help and forgiveness. Too few will read this small body of ideas, passing this on to those who really need it.

I am always hopeful that the flames which heated this world for so many years can be rekindled where love, kindness, and giving will prevail once again. I wish you strength, love, happiness, and good health.

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