By Bill Ward
---- — May 24, 2014 is a day any grand parent would enjoy, my eldest grandson Brennan Ward graduates from college. This brings several things to mind, first off I am getting old with a grandson that old. Second come to think about it on May 24, 1963 grandpa,(me) graduated from Western New Mexico University which means 51 years later my grandson joins me in the ranks of college graduates. Things were fine until those 51 years sunk in and I began to think that wow was that a long time ago. Then my thoughts run to the time when I put Brennan’s diapers on backwards right after he came home from the hospital. His mother thought it was funny as did I when shown those fancy new diapers did have a front and back.
When I also began to remember Brennan was 22 or more my feeling of being old really came on. To make things worse I looked around and I graduated from high school in 1955 and that is 59 years, ouch. I went to Butler for two years the Army for three then finished up at Western for 3 years so I spent a long time doing what I did. My brother who was 13 years older than I had his freshman year at IU cut short with WWII. Gene became a pilot of B-17’s and did not finish college after the war. I was the first of my family to graduate college but numerous others have followed. My nephew has a Doctorate in Chemistry and unfortunately he reminded me recently that he is now old enough for Social Security which once again brought that old mean thought of age back to mind.
You might notice that age had creeped into this column way early and frequently. I honestly had not thought of my being 76 as being much out of the normal until this event hopped up. During the time since Brennan showed up so many things have occurred many good and many not so good. His grandmother, my wife, lost her battle with cancer to me was the biggest worse thing to have happened. Having seven grandchildren and three children has been the good thing. Brennan’s sister is rapidly approaching the time when she must decide college or life. Ethan and Aaron my daughters sons are in middle and high school now and approaching college age way faster than I would like. James three children are getting close to the age of middle and high school as well and I am feeling older by the minute.
So many things have changed during my life and I am uncertain about what my grand children will see in their future. I have known so many things that I liked and felt were good and then see them tossed on the trash pile of history. I saw our country fight a true world war and fight it gallantly and bravely. Japan, Germany and Italy found that it was not at all a good idea to kick the 800 pound gorilla in the tail. Bin Laden also found that picking on the U.S. was not at all a great idea. I have seen our country become something less than what I would like and see no reason to hope that it will turn around soon. As a grand parent and father I am concerned about our future as a country and what my grand children will inherit from my generation and their parent’s generation. I sincerely hope they do better than either of our generations did.
I hope that my children and grand children indeed find that their life will be better and easier than mine or my children’s but at the moment I have my doubts. Each generation has done what they felt was the thing to do. At times it was good but also many times it was bad. Our country and my family have lived through many bad times and hopefully they will do the same with the situation our country now faces.
As I have done things wrong so has our country. Over time we have gone from self sufficiency to dependency on the Federal Government. For some things that is not all that bad, but for many others, it is really not good. We have lost the incentive to do for ourselves and now expect others to take care of us. We have so many things our forefathers did not even think of, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment to mention a few. We have lost our sense of direction and hopefully Brennan’s generation can get us back on track and back to the country we need to be.