For my Birthday – A lecture for you

There is a one of those cut and paste status’ going around Facebook. It’s been around for a couple of years and I decided it was time for me to make my own version.

“I grew up in Toledo during a time when it was okay to be blatantly bigoted and hateful. We ate everything out of cans and the only time you saw a garden was if you were in a grandma’s backyard.

We grew up in a time when your stepfather could send you down to the store with a case of empty beer bottles and a note for the clerk to send you back with a pack of cigarettes and the change from the bottle deposit. This made it easy for those of us who started smoking at ten years old to get our hands on cigarettes. Sometimes we would get to the keep the change and we would go buy penny candy at the little carry-out with the creepy guy across the counter, right next to the bar. We would play at the school playground without supervision and old men from the bar would come over and try to grope us on the swings. They would wait in the school playground around corners hidden from casual view but they would call us over.

We watched cartoons every Saturday morning while our parents slept in after leaving us alone on Friday night. Prayers, paddling and the Pledge of Allegiance were not only allowed in school they were required regardless of what you and your families personal belief systems were. Different was not celebrated, nor tolerated. School principals had paddles and doors that closed and teachers were allowed to maintain discipline in their classrooms and no one ever questioned whether that teacher was mentally stable enough to actually be teaching small children and what kind of discipline was being used.

We did learn from our parents and grandparents, or else. We also learned that it was okay for men to treat women any way they chose and that women were worth far less than their male counterparts, as proven by the fact that they made 58.8% of the salary as their male counterparts. Women were also objectified and a fun game in our house was to go for a ride downtown and point out the prostitutes. An excellent lesson for a 9 year old girl.

If someone had a fight you can almost always bet it was someone who learned how to wail on other kids by being beaten on at home. The smaller weaker children were always taunted and picked on in the “play”ground and well, you know, boys will be boys.

We grew up in a time when the majority of families went to church, maybe not weekly, but at least enough to make themselves feel better about their lack of empathy and charity. We grew up in a time when religious leaders assaulted children and those who knew, said nothing, did nothing and let it continue. Parents who found out hushed their children and told them not to talk about it. Protecting the child was far less important than maintaining the status quo. What did it matter that this instilled a sense of shame and confusion in these children and sometimes started a terrible cycle. The sins of the Father took on a whole different meaning.

“Re-post if you’re thankful for your childhood and will never forget where you came from! Wouldn’t it be nice if it were possible to get back to this way of life?”

Or if you’re like me, celebrate the fact that as a people the majority of us have grown and evolved. We have stepped out of the past decades wiser and more tolerant and understand that not every person has to be our NORMAL. We embrace the changes that our society has brought and instead of spewing hatred at those we disagree with we try to rise above it and make changes through being positive role models for our children and all of the children around us who are faced with such trying and terrible circumstances. Teaching our sons and daughters that we are all worthy of respect and that as a species we must continue to evolve and get better.”


2 thoughts on “For my Birthday – A lecture for you

  1. Wow! I have not seen the original. I am sure I can imagine it painted a rosy but unreal picture. Still the picture you paint is much different than if I had written something like that. I feel bad if any or all of that was a reality for you.

  2. OMG, Tracy, you hit the nail on the head. Everytime I read one of those I think about the things they don’t talk about. Our family’s very good friend who only could come out as gay a few years before he died. All his life he had to make excuses to ppl (including my mother) asking him when he was going to get married. The twins, whose father we all knew made them fight each other. Really fight and then he beat up the loser. The girl with the creepy father and I’m not kidding, 18 locks on the inside of her bedroom door. But that was none of our business. I could go on, but YES! YES! YES!

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