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Make-believe gives a growing boy the chance to take a magical trip where his imagination rules the roost.
There are no illegal substances involved, and even better, there are no folks judging or finding fault with your choices.
That’s the beauty of being a youngster.
But no matter how hard we try, reality eventually sets in and we have to face the task of returning to the present.
Try as we might, we just can’t click our heels together and wish change into being. It takes hard work and willpower to get things done.
One day, when I was about 10 years old, someone strongly suggested in a stern tone that I would be better off to focus my many boyhood adventures.
“Let the grown-up folks run things and do all the thinking, son. That’s our job.”
You know, I didn’t really have a problem with that.
Listening to and reading a lot of the war stuff written by some grown-ups was enough to scare my short britches off.
But it was confusing.
Some folks liked the idea of doing everything for everybody. Others didn’t shine to that notion at all. It didn’t matter to me.
Bless Pete, I’m only 10, I thought. I don’t pay taxes, so you can say that it’s not my business. I mean, I ain’t footing the bills.
Daddy told me that would change as I got older and started to work for a living.
“The government will start taking some of your wages before you get ’em,” he said. “Some of it will pay for the airplanes, bullets and tanks our army needs to win the war.”
Daddy said a little bit would go to some kind of new program called the “old folks pension.”
And since I was a long way from being old, I wasn’t worried.
But some adults were worrying for me. Working folks didn’t like the government messing with their pay.
Besides, I got plenty of time, I thought. By the time I get old, I’ll have squirreled away enough brownies that I won’t need any help from the government.
Now, nobody explained to me there would be all kinds of stuff to wish for and want after Aug. 15, 1945.
With houses costing less than $20,000 and cars selling for about $795 and a visit to the doctor’s office around $5, a good job with a decent wage would be enough to meet all of our needs.
The cotton mill and Col. Springs will be here forever, I thought. Folks will always need sheets, pillowcases and cloth to make clothes.
With soldiers arriving home from the war at the depot every day, there were new things to make and jobs for everybody.
And with everybody working, I figured there would be plenty of money to go around.
Since the cost of stuff will stay the same, folks will put their extra savings in the bank. Banks will have more than enough money to loan to folks who want those shiny new cars and new houses.
Mr. Dunn’s three cents candy counter is always gonna be full.
Everything is gonna be all right.
He was right; I’m only 10. I’ll let the grown-ups run everything and do all the worrying. Yep, that was sound advice I’m gonna heed.
I’ll just keep on hauling discarded cartons and using my cardboard construction skills to build any houses or cars I need.
Seems to me the grown folks pretty much have everything under control.
If you aren’t too busy, meet me down at the corner of Chesterfield Avenue and Market Street. I’ll let you help me pull my wagon back from the furniture store. They have a bunch of good cardboard back there just waiting for me.
See how well make-believe works.