I am not one of those who repeat “all time in the past was better”, I believe that the human has developed generating social products in a cyclical way; but I do feel a certain nostalgia for the near past.
I grew up in Buenos Aires, then a city as important as New York, the destination of many European immigrants in search of a better future.
When children play and shout at my door, despite the volume of their howls, “I can hold it”, because I remember that as children we played soccer in the street and drove the poor neighbors crazy. We not only screamed, but the fearsome ball hit walls and windows without any consideration.
When the neighbor went crazy, he called the police, then the lookout that we always put up for such an event shouted “yunta!” and we were all running in different directions. The slowest ended up inside the police van (the yunta) and at the police station. Your parents picked you up and after beating you, you went to bed.
Still, the “corner cop” was our friend and trusted person to resolve any danger.
Our favorite science program was Walt Disney’s “Futureland.” My Favorite Martian was the best we had on aliens. And we all knew that the Moon was inhabited.
You could leave the bicycle on the sidewalk for a few hours, the school teacher wore a jacket and tie and on weekends he would take us to play soccer on a real field.
My old job for forty years in the same company: the naval shipyards of Argentina, which then had one of the largest fleets in the world, a world where everything was balanced.
God lived in the neighborhood church, the priest did not fuck the boys and we all studied the catechism believing that that made us better. The worst sin we could confess is having lied to our parents. We all knew and respected the old lady in the neighborhood: Doña Amelia.
The doctor was a kind of genius who would come to your house when you were sick and could solve anything, even repair a poorly done surgery, or design a master recipe that the pharmacist would later mix.
It was a pride to have a military or police relative or friend … or teacher … The school principal was the most respected guy in the area.
The best of all were birthdays, weddings and communions … we ate like linyeras (homeless), we danced and sometimes we squeezed the neighbor girl, without going overboard …
We had a terrible epidemic, of poliomyelitis … I don’t remember the terror, there was none, we didn’t wear chinstraps. My best friend and my godfather had it. My godfather made a full recovery and became a police inspector, he died of tobacco angina… no one ever said it was due to polio or with polio. My friend never recovered, but he got to receive a medical degree … from his first day of illness, in his bed, I was going to play with him.
When I look at us today … scared … breathing badly through a mask, maintaining a “social” distance, hating those who do not wear a mask, putting our children on fishbowl desks at school … I wonder: WHEN WAS WE INVOLVED TILL WE BECOME “THIS”?
When did governments stop fearing us?
When did the priests start having sex with children and their mothers?
We are a terrible spoil of a society that promised to go towards a wonderful future, but fell into the darkest of abysses.
When did they start lying and disrespecting us?
Was it with the trip to the Moon? The Peron dictatorship? The Second World War?
When everything changed and these beings who hate us to death took over and have turned our existence into a dead end hell?
I don’t know for sure … I just know that, in those days, we wouldn’t have allowed it …
They would hang from a bridge like the infamous Mussolini …