A loss of innocence.

I grew up in the 50s. Some have called it a time of innocence. The war was over.photo-7 Our returning veterans were able to attend college or university on the GI Bill. Eisenhower was President. He played a lot of golf as I recall, and my dad criticized him for it. (Some things don’t change.) Families were buying homes with white picket fences. Well, maybe they didn’t all have fences. The point is those were the halcyon days.

Nineteen sixty ushered in a new decade fairly quietly but the calm was short-lived. I write this today in order to recall the day I realized for the first time that my safe, secure homeland wasn’t quite what I thought. On November 22, 1963, our young president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. My feelings about my country and the basic good in people were permanently altered. What kind of monster could be capable of shooting our energetic young leader? And why? Some questions have no answers.

Last week a man went to the apartment of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, NC, and fatally shot all three of them. Why? Some said it was a hate crime. Aren’t all murders hate crimes? Some said it was over a parking space. Really? The murderer was a self-avowed atheist. Did he hate all religions? Or only the Muslim faith? I’m guessing we will never know the answers to these questions either.

I’m relieved to report that he gave himself up the same day and has remained in custody since.

The night after the slaughter of these students, my granddaughter sent me a text. ” I can’t stop crying and wondering why and how a thing like this is allowed to happen. I don’t understand how this was allowed to happen in my home. It’s the worst thing I have ever experienced.” I tried to console her but I had no answers for her.

I can’t help remembering that I had the same questions all those years ago when our President was shot and killed. The frustration and sadness that H is experiencing in exactly what I dealt with at almost the same age she is. I was a sophomore student, one year older than H, and was attending university in my home town.

My granddaughter H was born and reared in Chapel Hill. She’s a freshman at the university there. It’s the oldest state university in the country. It’s small-town southern America with a great deal more diversity than most towns in the state. It’s the diversity that makes it a very special place.photo(20)

 

H’s parents have taught her to have a strong sense of justice and to do what is right. Not just for herself, but for those in her community–all of them. She has marched in the state capital for voter rights and other issues. Whenever she sees someone in need, she chooses to help if she can. Eventually this crime in her home town will strengthen her convictions. But first she has to mourn.

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “A loss of innocence.

  1. Hi Pat. Don’t know what is happening with reader but very few posts are showing up and yours are not among those that do. Hope you continue to improve and look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  2. The murders at Chapel Hill are just awful and I can imagine that your granddaughter would be very distressed. I am sure your own memories of disillusionment at a young age make it possible for you to comfort her. There aren’t easy words, but there is comfort in knowing someone we love at least understands our pain. ox

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  3. So sad to relive those awful feelings, especially when it is your granddaughter who is suffering now. How awful when tragedy hits so close to home for the University students. Our thoughts go out to them as well as to the families affected by this senseless act.

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    • Hi Chickie. I love hearing from you. I’m reading your posts but have a computer glitch that keeps me from commenting. Just know I’m here and will get this straightened out when I can make it over to see a genius at the Apple Store.

      I can’t help noticing that every tragic incident you cited, except one, has American-owned guns to blame. When will we learn?

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  4. When I was a young student I remember thinking that man was basically a good being if reared correctly. Now I think, as a whole, humanity is about the worst thing which ever happened to the planet on which we live and to each other. Those of us, and there are many, who cling to a civilised sense of life. shake out heads at the actions of barbarians and fanatics, but these are the people who open up the wounds we deal with, which take generations to heal. You are certainly among the civilised, and I am always pleased I have met people like you through Blogging.

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    • Thank you, Peter. My life is richer for having “met” you via blogging.

      Despite all that happens all around us, I’m still optimistic about humankind. Maybe I’m naive, but I still believe most people are more good than bad. I need to believe that.

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      • HI Cat. Thanks for your empathy. My granddaughter is coming for a visit at the end of the month. I look forward to that.

        I am remarkably improved. I couldn’t believe how rapidly my progress came once I got home. At first I was scared but I got over it in a hurry. I have now ditched the walker and the cane. My orthopedist tells me it will take about a year to get back to normal. In the meantime, I am dedicated to my exercise regimen. It really helps. The muscles in my legs are stronger now than before the accident.

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  5. For some reason, your posts have not not been showing up in my reader. Not until this one today… I was happy to see your face! I’ll have to go back and see what you have been up to… Love & prayers, DJ

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    • Hi DJ, and thank you. I have written very little. My last post was early December on the eve of my departure from rehab where I learned to walk again after breaking my sacrum. I’m hoping/planning to write more now that I feel better.

      Your candle sends me peace whenever I see it.

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