Big Changes Since WWII

Bill Neinast

The men  who came back from the Elbe River, Okinawa, and many other far flung places were substantially different from the boys who left home four years earlier.

These men had lived in a rigidly disciplined environment more severe than any home environment.  Equally important, they had been denied normal female companionship for many months.

So the marriage and family boom exploded.

Simultaneously, the rifle, ammunition, tank, airplane, ship and many other manufacturers of war material were switching to the manufacture of appliances  for making  home life easier that had been languishing in the production facilities for years.

Mom’s hands were taken out of the dish pan and replaced with electric dishwashers.  If there was no cabinet space to install a dishwasher, do not worry.  The earliest models came on wheels.  Just find an empty corner in the kitchen until after dinner.  Then roll the washer over to the sink, connect it to the faucet and a wall plug, and Mom could go listen to Fibber McGee and Molly on the radio with the rest of the family.

There were also those amazing vacuum cleaners to replace dusty brooms, large exhaust fans to pull the cool evening breeze throughout the house, and carpet was replacing linoleum on wooden floors.

One of the biggest innovations, however, was that new fangled thing called TV.  Instead of gathering around to hear Fibber McGee and Molly, the family could gather before the TV stations began shutting down around 10:00 p.m. to watch Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best.

The shows back then were about the ideal family.  Dad going off to work every day, Mom staying home to take care of the house and family, and the kids playing outside with the other neighborhood kids without parents hovering over them.

Unfortunately, repeatedly watching those ideal families on TV began to have an unanticipated effect.  Some began to notice that those families on TV were living a much better life than they were.  The TV families lived in nicer and larger homes; father wore a suit to work, and they drove nicer cars than the ones sitting in the viewers’ driveways.

So the TVs became want lists and viewers began clamoring for the things on that list. Dad said, however, “No way.  We cannot afford that on my salary.  If you want something like that, Mom, you are going to have to find a paying job outside the house too.”

The result was latch key kids, two car garages as standard, and no more neighborhood playgrounds.

Kids came home from school, turned on TV to watch any type of movie they liked without adult supervision.  And do not attempt to get them to the dinner table for a family dinner.  That evening meal will be a frozen dinner heated in one of those new fangled microwave ovens and eaten in front of the TV set.

This remake of the American family during the last half  of the 20th Century was thrown in the trash heap in the 21st  Century.

The new daily mold is a very small device with the power to destroy any vestiges of family life.  That abominable device may prove to be the worst innovation or invention ever put in human hands.  It goes by the name of I-Phone or I-Pad.

Now there are no more family dinners around either tables or TVs.  If all the members of one family just happen to end up around some food at the same time, each one will be on his or her I-Phone talking or texting with someone next door or miles away.

Dad will be texting a friend about the latest sports fiasco; Mom will be sending pictures of her latest hair color to a friend in Alaska, and the kids will be talking or texting with someone about God knows what.

Even worse than its power to break the family circle is the I-Phone’s ability to spark destructive riots.  Not only does that tiny device allow spoken and written communication, it can snap pictures or movies instantaneously and “go viral” with the click of a button.

That small device has sparked riots like “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” and an innocent kid confronting an Indian with a tom-tom.  Both, of course, depicted incidents that occurred very differently from the actual occurrences.

Those devices also permit and encourage outrageous posts and arguments from Donald Trump and other celebrities.

So here’s the perspective.

The America that our WWII heroes returned to is not recognizable today.  The nuclear family eating dinner together every evening as they discuss what went on in each of their lives has been replaced with a bunch of people living together in the same house and communicating with each other on occasion by text or messages left on that little I-Pad.

That I-Pad has also changed the family in another way. It has created the hovering parents syndrome and is sometimes called the longest umbilical cord in the world.

For this old timer, the days of getting Miss Annie at telephone central to try to connect you with a family member across town was much more pleasant than today’s umbilical cord.



HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3