The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.




Scene 1.  I was 16 when I got lost on my way downtown,  driving  a convertible with the top down, and found myself in a neighborhood: of  tenement housing, broken windows, homeless people sleeping in doorways, and streets littered with empty beer cans.  Today I recognize the potential danger to a young white girl in that situation but I am no more familiar with places like that now than I was 60 years ago.


Scene 2.  I live more modestly today than I once did but always in an upper class suburb.  I am not surrounded by the downtrodden and the indigent. The streets are not littered with garbage and the cars on the streets cost triple what the 10 year old rusty Fords of the ghetto cost. I am happy to buy a designer dress for eight or ten dollars from a resale shop rather than spend two hundred or more for the same dress at Neiman-Marcus.


The inequality between the two scenarios bothers me.  What troubles me more is the tendency of those who live in Scene 2 to succumb to the marketplace.  It is as if the advertising geniuses have leashed the populace who are willing  – nay, even anxious – to be led to the cash register.  The parking lot of an upscale mall I frequently drive by is always full and I envision a woman inside buying her 50th pair of shoes, a man trying on a Brooks Brothers suit to add to the 20 he already owns, a teen searching for yet another gadget to add to his computer.


How did it happen that people became so addicted to the latest and the newest; that they adopted a philosophy of “I want it all and I want it delivered”?  Doesn’t anyone  pause to think about the simple things that have been lost in the pursuit for MORE?

Is it no longer possible host a child’s birthday party with ice cream and cake and no hired clowns?  How many people would choose a in the woods instead of a walk through a shopping mall?  Does anybody consider visiting a neighbor for a chat instead of sending email?  Think of what one might do instead of shopping.


He might plant a few flowers.

He might lie in the grass and watch the clouds go by.

He might take a walk on a beach, dip his toes in the water and collect seashells.

He might make a cake from scratch and lick the beaters.

HE might read a story to a couple of kids.

He might clean out your closets and make a Good Will donation.


I once spent a summer living in a small Israeli apartment and was without a car.  I survived very nicely without bowing down to mechanics, the insurance company and Standard Oil.  There is freedom to be found in not being a slave to possessions. We’d do well to break away from the ad tycoons, the entities that employ them, and reclaim that freedom.

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Julie Rose


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