Have you ever had a nightmare? Mine have been few and several decades ago but I remember them well.
Horror of horrors I dreamed I was downtown Anderson, on Market Day and I was barefooted. Another I was wearing a slip without a skirt over it! Probably in the 1940s.
Advance a few decades and I would be appropriately dressed, according to some. Flip flops and a slip dress and I'm right 'with it," in the eyes of some. Scanning the years in between and I am still, in my seventh decade, amazed at what is appropriate and what is not. It is difficult, sometimes, as I practice being non-judgmental.
What was modest in 1945 and what is modest in 2013. Taking in piercings and tattoos and short shorts in church, I'm still adjusting and working at not being shocked.
Sometimes I try to think what our world will be in 100 years. Will we all be dressed (or undressed) and wearing nothing, like Adam and Eve? Or will we go the other way and dress like Martha and George Washington? I struggle to figure out what impression our young people are attempting? Maybe in the 1940s it was TOO important, this image we wanted to portray? We were striving not to be the 'Grapes of Wrath" image? Shoes, store bought clothing was not easy to afford in Anderson in the 1940s. Maybe we were denying the fact that we were short on apparel.
Maybe our young people today are thumbing their noses at those attitudes. "I can wear what I want and (or not) and I am good enough." I please myself. My 6'7" nephew had a hard time finding shoes to fit when he was in high school. I searched all of Joplin and found a pair of patent leather white shoes he could wear in the band. Later the Navy provided his shoes and while he was so employed they weren't a problem.
Some good things have evolved with our apparel changes. Ladies wore toe-pinching shoes that looked alright, today good healthy athletic shoes can be worn without embarrassment.
Bill O'Reilly says we are "facebooking, googling, blogging, flaming, spamming and downloading. We are becoming a nation of cyberspace zombies; addicted to machines that shut out real life…." At the same time, I know of no one who has dropped out of high school because he couldn't afford to dress "in acceptable style" as some did in the '40s. College is available to most with hard work. Social security is there for our seniors and needy.
I haven't had that nightmare of being downtown in Anderson in a long while now. In this year 2013 there is no reason for any of our McDonald County citizens to be hungry, dirty, cold, or really in need. I guess I need to not worry about my niece when she insists she wants to be "comfortable." Maybe what she's telling me is she is OK, she is all right, she is acceptable. She is not striving to be accepted on standards that don't matter. She will wear her blue jeans and flip flops and even maybe get a tattoo. She has a different set of standards, she is clean, she is drug free, and she never has nightmares about not having the right shoes. Maybe we are making progress where it matters.
Would you like to witness some progress in our county? Do drop by the McDonald County Historical museum on the square in Pineville. We like to keep the doors open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday afternoons. Contact us at www.mcdonaldcohistory.org or write to us at P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856, or, better yet, stop by for a visit. We look forward to sharing our histories.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.