A life turned backward

March 22, 1996|By Joe Murray

ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas -- During the first half of my life, the way things were:

1. If you didn't go to church, you were going to Hell.

2. You didn't dare say anything against segregation.

3. If you were liberal, they called you a commie.

4. Abortion was against the law no ifs, ands or buts.

5. Movies, radio and TV were totally controlled by censorship.

6. America was a Christian, God-fearing nation.

7. A single marijuana cigarette was enough to send you to prison.

8. A baby born out of wedlock was a horrible sin for which there was no forgiveness. Birth control was almost non-existent.

9. There had never been a divorce in your family. They made the best of a bad situation.

10. Child abuse was all but unheard of.

11. In a company town, the word ''pollution'' never appeared in the local newspaper.

12. Police beat prisoners to make them confess. They deserved it. They were guilty.

13. Women worked as schoolteachers, secretaries, clerks or telephone operators. Men called them girls.

14. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and preachers were respected members of the community.

15. Everybody read the newspaper, even if you didn't happen to always agree with it.

And now . . .

During the second half of my life, the way things are:

1. If you don't go to church, what the hell.

2. You don't dare say anything against minorities.

3. If you are conservative, they call you a Nazi.

4. A woman has a right to abort her unborn baby no ifs, ands or buts.

5. Movies, radio and TV are totally out of control.

6. America is a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto, Tao, Hindu, atheist, Druid, God-only-knows nation.

7. You can buy most any kind of dope on most any street corner.

8. Babies born out of wedlock are commonplace. There's every kind of birth control imaginable.

9. All of us have had divorces in our family. We've made a mess of a bad situation.

10. Child abuse is probably no worse now that it used to be. The difference is, now we know about it.

11. Police can't look cross-eyed at prisoners or they're liable to go free, regardless of whether they're guilty.

12. Women do the same work as men, have the same successful careers, but not always for the same pay. Better be careful what you call them, fellows. They'll sue you in a heartbeat.

13. As a result of anti-pollution laws, some companies have become endangered species.

14. Doctors live in fear of lawyers. Lawyers live well off of doctors. Preachers preach against what's being taught in schools. Teachers aren't allowed to mention churches.

15. Not everybody reads the newspaper, even if it so happens that you can read.

Joe Murray, editor-publisher emeritus of the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News, is senior writer for Cox Newspapers.

Pub Date: 3/22/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.