Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

August 17, 2011

Back to the future of the good old days

I set the novel I just finished writing back in the good old days.

Back when times were simple and easy.

Back in 1979.

The story could’ve played out fine in 2011, but I didn’t want to bother with all the noise, interruptions and implications of personal electronic devices, computers and technology. Packed with powerful metaphor and imagery, I wanted the story and characters to be less distracted and more timeless.

Funny thing is, I remember 1979. I wished more than anything in the world I could be Laura Ingalls. You remember her — the star of the Little House on the Prairie television series. Back in 1979, I wore a long dress whenever possible, pretending to be her whenever I visited Connor Prairie. My mom even bought me an old-fashioned mop hat, so I could tuck my braids in and keep my head warm at night, like Laura and her sister Mary did at the end of so many shows.

If only I lived in 1879 in Walnut Grove, my life as a pre-teenager would’ve been so much better.

No pimples.

No television.

And certainly no middle school.

Just a one-room school house with Miss Beadle, my lunch tucked in a tin pail and chores with my smiling Pa every afternoon. (Unless my sister Carrie fell into an old, abandoned mine. That’d take two whole episodes to fix, that hot mess. But I digress.)

Sadly, life isn’t like 1879 anymore.

It’s not like 1979, either.

It’s 2011, and the only thing that hasn’t changed is most folks — in each of those generations — wish(ed) for simpler, happier times when the world stops and everything from the economy to famines to tornadoes to yes — even middle school — makes more sense and goes down smoother than a sip of lemonade while rocking on a front porch swing with your sweetie.

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