I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Tales Of The Past

I don’t know how many times I have heard my family say “the old days were better”. Maybe they were, depending on how you look at it. Not knowing high makes low seem normal, I guess.

People did seem happy back then; they didn’t discuss options because for the most part, there were none.

I was surrounded by broken families including my own. The married women who visited our house lived happy lives or so they said. Their husbands had part-time girlfriends they were aware of and condoled because keeping the family together was more important than being truly happy. Were they keeping the family together for the kids or for the sake of appearances and the fear of what the neighbors might say, I’ll never know.

There were many unwed mothers and some were the part time girlfriend of somebody else’s husband. Who was the happy one there, I don’t know either.

We all had skeletons in the closet that we were not supposed to discuss with anyone and in an odd way we all lived a fictitious life pretending to be what we were not and at times the fantasy after being told so many times mixed in with reality and it was hard to tell where one ended and where the other started.

I loved the stories my grandmother would tell us at night. Some were of animals that talked; “Uncle Rabbit” was one of them, I wanted to memorize them so I could tell my kids the same story someday but even though I heard it for many years, I was unable to remember it in its entirely. Other stories were scary. There was the legend of the man of the lake. A man with hair down to his waist who lived at the bottom of the lake. He would come out at night and steal a virgin, a young girl, and take her to live with him in the dark waters of the lake. The girls were never found and whatever trace left behind ended at the lake.

There was also the Monster of the Forest, an evil man who fed off the blood of young children.

When I think back of those stories I realize that what my grandmother was talking about was serial killers and rapists who kidnapped their victims and their bodies were never found.

Like the happy wives, the disappearances and murders were masked with outrageous stories and the truth remained a figment of anyone’s imagination.

The comparison between the times seems almost hilarious. “Girls nowadays have sex earlier”; “marriages don’t last like they used to” and “there are so many evil people now”. Why were there so many unwed mothers if they were not having sex? Is it really a good thing for a marriage to last under the circumstances of the women I knew as I was growing up? How many incents were hidden? How many abuses were permitted? Was it really better?

It was different. People dealt with their lives in a way shaped by the society they lived in at the time, a society that has evolved and changed and allowed the truth to be okay. There are many things that were probably better back then but certainly not everything.

One major difference between the past and the present is that there is more room now, there are not that many skeletons taken up all the space in the closet