Editor’s Note: Artys Cole is a godly, loving mother, grandmother and great-grand mother. The article below is from her “My Memory Book.” At the time of its writing, she was 82. She is now nearing 97. Her memories, particularly of life during her teen years, help give us all a much needed perspective on how life in our nation once was and how it has declined morally and spiritually over the years. After this simple, but penetrating read, I believe you will definitely agree that Grandma has something to say!
God has given me many years, 82. I am not a writer, but I am writing in “my Memory Book” to leave to my children. Everyone has a story to tell. While doing this project, I am reminded again and again of the changes in values over the years, personal changes and that of society as it affects women.
A long time ago, I walked to a rural school. The result of that was that it kept me healthy and it gave me an awareness of nature. In High School, we had respect for our teachers, sometimes to the point of fear, and teachers could teach, so we learned.
We dated a little, but not seriously. I didn’t know any girl who smoked or drank alcohol. A “drug” was something you bought at the drug store to help your ailment and “gay” meant happy. Teens are angry today. Too many of them have parents who have let them down. They are so busy with careers and doing their own thing.
I had Christian parents. They set boundaries for our own good, to protect us from the consequences of misbehavior. Now, many allow teens to make their own moral decisions and parents are afraid to say “no” because they might make them (their kids) angry. There is much peer pressure today, to be a part of the crowd and to be popular. There are the influences of TV with their casual sex, nudity, violence and quick solutions to big problems. We didn’t have TV.
Marriage, in my time, was for keeps. Divorce was rare, living together without marriages was unheard of, having a baby outside of marriage was a disgrace and abortion was illegal. We didn’t show a lot of skin when we dressed. We didn’t wear socks to school, but one warm spring day, some of us girls decided to shed our stockings for anklets, only to get pointed right down to the principal’s office. Make-up was fine if it made you look better.
Now, we weren’t a bunch of goody-goodies, but we knew certain things were wrong so it wasn’t done openly. There was an awareness of sin, but today they say if it feels good, do it.
I ask myself the question, “Would we have been happier to live in all the freedoms and materialism of today with the liberal views of society?” I think not. We lived and thrived with loving discipline, so we knew how far we could go. We had more respect for authority. I think it is harder to be a teen today than it was in the 30’s.