This Article is About
little snippets
family gatherings
melting pot
life experiences
american dream
Glimpses Of Times Past
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Glimpses Of Times Past

When I was a young boy I didn’t particularly appreciate or value extended family gatherings. It was the “old country" custom to have all the uncles and aunts and cousins get together about once a week or so for a Sunday meal. It was always some sort of pasta and some kind of meat to go along with the wine and orange and ginger ale soda. The kids would generally eat very quickly and take off, leaving the old folks to sit around the table and talk and talk and talk. I would catch little snippets of conversation enough to hear that they would discuss things like family history, life experiences in the new country (along with plenty of opinions and advice), religion, and sometimes just gossip. Occasionally big arguments would break out, but not very often, as the result of such a disagreement might mean the temporary banishing of the offending party from future gatherings for a while.

As time passed, the gatherings became less frequent as each family grew and the American dream of unlimited opportunity demanded more and more of the adults’ time and attention. After all, the old saying that the streets of America were paved with gold wasn’t exactly accurate as these immigrants soon discovered. The real story was that the streets of America were laden with the opportunity to prosper for those ready, willing and able to work their asses off for it, and they generally did.

The upside was of course the prosperity which could not be had in the old country. The downside to this American dream was the sacrificing of family time and attention. It was something that occurred gradually over time, a deceptive alteration of customs handed down for generations, lost in one, here in America. As it occurred slowly over many years, it is now in my adulthood that I realize what was lost in the great melting pot and how this first generation son was taken in by it as well.

In addition to the pursuit of the American dream, the wide availability of television sealed the deal to end quality family time as it was once practiced. If a television couldn’t be located in sight of the dinner table, then the invention of the TV tray made it possible to eat and zone out quite effectively anywhere a TV was located.

It is only now, many years after my mother has passed that I realize what she meant when she said that America was good for only one thing, and that was to make money. She saw how the fabric of the family was torn apart and she hated that it was the price to be paid for the material well being of the family, but the cost was awfully high.

The regrets for the past cannot be altered, but the future has yet to be written. My glimpse of a new vision is that I take the time and effort and the initiative to gather friends and family around a dinner table with no TV in sight. There would be pasta and vegetables, wine and Smart Water. We would talk and talk and talk. We would delve into our family histories, or daily experiences, or speak of spiritual and philosophical matters. We would connect on whatever level was possible and encourage, advise, console, support, amuse, even entertain each other, whether family or not. My mother would be pleased and I would be taking a positive step to fill one of the many holes of neglect in my own life.

Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Free Ringtones for Cellphones: Things You Should Know First
When you get a new cell phone, you are excited. You think about ways to make it more personal. You get new skins and wallpapers and of course, new games. But, one of the most important things that you will get are ringtones. Everyone wants at least a few ringtones…
By: Ryan Ellis in  Communications  >  Mobile Cell Phone   Feb 18, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Post Holiday Financial Blues And How To Beat Them
Many people get desperate during the holiday season and take risks they would otherwise not find themselves taking. It could be the pressure of not enough money to cover gifts for our children, or the pressure of having to go to family gatherings without any presents to give Now they…
By: Shawn Lee  in  Finance  >  Debt Consolidation   Feb 28, 2013  
  Likes: 13

Writing Successful Internet Articles
There is a whole world out there waiting to read about your thoughts, feelings and experiences. And, you'd love to share with them and possibly earn an income at the same time. Do you need to learn some techniques for writing successful internet articles?
By: Alice Rovney in  Internet and Businesses Online  >  Internet Marketing   Jan 30, 2011  
  Likes: 1

5 Tips To Lose Weight Over The Holidays
While losing weight is hard, it’s even harder to lose weight over the holidays. There are family gatherings, office parties, New Years parties; the list seems to go on and on. All these parties are usually accompanied by large and endless amounts of delicious but high-calorie food. I could sit…
By: Jon Childers in  Health and Fitness  >  Weight Loss   Dec 29, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Precious Memories
Over one year ago a tragic devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the Northern coast of Japan. This unstoppable force of nature wiped out entire cities, small villages, farms, trees, and devastated all the lives of everyone on the island. This awful natural disaster left 15,000 people confirmed dead and 9,000…
By: Merrily Kelley in  News and Society  >  International   Mar 17, 2012  
  Likes: 2

Christmas - The Gift Of Giving A Memory
It was in 1995 when the family tradition of giving each other comedy presents first started. We decided that Christmas was too commercial and that we never knew what presents to buy for each other anyway. So instead we would just get a funny present to give each other a…
By: Shawn More in  Home and Family  >  Holidays   Nov 29, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Memorial Day-a Good Time To Look Back
Memorial Day is a holiday that we sometimes think of barbecues, family gatherings, and a day off of work. It is also the day we enjoy the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Nascar. Many people take the day and visit cemeteries to remember their loved ones, and many…
By: Marla Overton in  News and Society  >  Military   May 29, 2011  
  Likes: 0

That weekend was Amazing!
I just spent the most amazing weekend with my wife! I know this might sound strange but ever since my two-year old daughter was born it has basically been a relationship between wife and daughter and me playing the bystander. Don't get me wrong I love my wife and daughter…
By: alstallio in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Jun 08, 2016  
  Likes: 0

How to Get Your Girlfriend Back – Consider Couples Counseling
You just got out of a serious relationship. She ended it and you want to win her back. You are probably scratching your head trying to figure out how to get your girlfriend back. You have tried the simple things – chocolate and flowers did not work. She wants more…
By: Brad Miller in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Jun 18, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Can I Get My Ex - Girlfriend Back?
If you are asking that question, then you obviously have some doubts, and rightfully so. Well you are going to have to ask and answer some tough questions. First of all...have you figured out what caused the breakup to begin with? Was it you...was it her...probably a combination of both...right?…
By: Stbrac1 in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Dec 26, 2011  
  Likes: 2

Your Girlfriend Left You - Seven Winning Ideas on How to Get Her Back
Your girlfriend just left you and you are at a loss for what to do next and how to get her back. You want her back, but just are not sure what steps to take to get there. It can be very rough sometimes when a relationship ends before you…
By: Brad Miller in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Jun 18, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Five Lessons From Guys Like You – Learn How to Get Your Girlfriend Back
Sometimes the best advice comes from guys who have “been there, done that”. They are the best teachers on how to get your girlfriend back. Here is a collection of the best advice from guys who have learned the hard way what to do and not do. Take this advice…
By: Brad Miller in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Jun 16, 2012  
  Likes: 1

Get My Ex Back – The Power Of Opening Up Your Life To Possibility
If how can I get my ex back is the one thing on your mind after a breakup, the only thing you might want to do is hide out on the couch or in front of the computer. But, after an initial day or two of moping or tears, it…
By: JackieJ in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   May 29, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Help! I Still Love My Ex
What do you do if you find yourself thinking: "I still love my ex.”? How do you know if it is real love, or just a residual fondness, and seeing your past relationship through "rose colored glasses"? In reality, it is perfectly normal to have residual feelings for your ex.…
By: Mitch Anderson in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Jul 12, 2011  
  Likes: 3

How to Make Your Ex Girlfriend Think You're Back Together
If you're desperately trying to get your ex girlfriend back into your arms from another guy, it can be tough to figure out what the right steps are to take. Sometimes your ex might be really angry at you, especially if the relationship went sour towards the end. The good…
By: Max Grimnar in  Relationships  >  Reconnecting   Mar 21, 2011  
  Likes: 7

Article Views: 1714    Report this Article