What My Grandma Knew (Part 3)

Jill Eileen Smith 6 yrs old
Jill Eileen Smith 6 yrs old

I was born after those years—at the tale end of the “baby boomers”. We were still a nation that didn’t think much about locking our doors and people went to church on Sundays and dressed up on Easter and believed in the Bible. That’s not to say things were perfect. “Father Knows Best” might have been a favorite TV show, but the social structure and changes that began in the Twenties? They kind of reignited in the Sixties. I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies. Anyone who knows history knows of the racial tension of those times. I remember the race riots in Detroit and how suddenly we didn’t feel so safe. There were rumors that turned to warnings in school telling us kids not to talk to strangers and how there was a strange car lurking around my elementary school. Walking home alone wasn’t quite so peaceful for a time, and when I would pass certain buildings, I ran just because they had that creepy look about them, though as an adult I now wonder what made me so afraid.

Mom Dad Den Elaine Jill 1960s
Mom Dad Den Elaine Jill 1960s

The Sixties changed a lot in this country. “Free Love” was the cry of the younger generation. To my ten-year-old ears, it sounded like a good thing. My dad didn’t quite agree with me, and I think society today would prove his feelings on the subject, that “free love” had far more consequences than we could have imagined. You see, there isn’t anything “free” about that kind of love, which isn’t love at all, but back then you didn’t want to advertise “Free Sex” lest it get you arrested or it sound like prostitution. But most of the time, it wasn’t much different.

Commune living, cults, living without restraints became the motto of the “Flower Children”, but what it resulted in was a lost generation that wanted to throw off responsibility. While some good came of that time in the Civil Rights Movement, there was a lot of unrest. Sex outside of marriage slowly became acceptable. Unwanted pregnancies sprang up and abortion became legal. And well, I could go on and on with the moral changes we’ve seen since then, but then I’d have to write a book, which isn’t on my to-do list right now. At least not this kind of book.

Part 4 tomorrow~