Richard (who would become my Dad) [he changed his name legally to Likeke in the 1970’s] and Sally (who would become my Mom) were young children at the outset of the Depression and grew up during the Depression years. Their families were midsized; Dad had a brother and two sisters (including a twin), and Mom had two sisters.
Money was scarce and times were exceptionally difficult. There was no safety net in the United States. The times called for reinvention and reexamination of what could be done – anything and everything – to help put food on the table and help “keep body and soul together.” For example, Dad’s father – a wildcat oil driller and mechanic – began crafting Irish-style lace or tattering to sell for food for his family. It was something he knew how to do!
Richard and Sally grew up to be members of what Tom Brokaw has described as “The Greatest Generation.” Dad was a Navy man and fought in the Pacific War during World War II. The experience transformed his life forever, and in good ways. Later he served in Japan during the Korean War. Mom was an office worker and dispatcher for many years until she retired.
My parents divorced when I was a young child. Dad gained custody, so I grew up in his house in Volcano, Hawai’i. After the divorce, Dad and Mom resumed being good friends. I was never forced to choose between one parent or the other.
Money was scarce. Dad cobbled together book sales, ghost writing, lecturing, storytelling, and woodcarving to bring in money to keep us fed with a roof over our heads. He succeeded.
Dad wasn’t a fan of Franklin D. Roosevelt; however, he often quoted one of FDR’s most famous lines, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Please see my quote of the day feature “The Quotidian” for September 2, 2010. Link:
One year – when I was a kid – I wanted a telescope for Christmas, and Dad found a way for us to purchase one. Most inportantly, Dad figured out how to fund my college education, and I helped by earning scholarships and grants. I also worked part time during a portion of my college years.
Fast forward to 2010: My parents are deceased. We are in the midst of a drawn-out recession – one called the “Great Recession” by many. Some fear a “double dip” recession.
As you read my blog posts, you may find that I rarely post anything that is negative. I do not post rants. I want to keep this space – my blog space – on the internet positive, hopeful, optimistic, and forward-thinking.
I call myself an optimist and have done so for a few years now. Trust me: I’ve tried despair, hopelessness, and helplessness. I can say “Been there, done that, and still have a t-shirt or two.” For years I wallowed in self-pity and self-loathing. I punished myself for my mistakes and failures. I can say with all honesty that it is a difficult road, and that it doesn’t work.
My Dad and Mom didn’t raise me to give in to despair or to give up.
A better road is that of optimism and being proactive in working on our problems. Scratch “problems.” Call them “challenges.” My friend Zarayah reminded me of this yesterday: they are challenges.
We create our reality; I truly believe this. If we focus on our challenges and obsess over our challenges, they become bigger in our lives. We are attracting what we focus on.
So, I am focusing on my writing and my editing and my increasing success. My mission statement as a writer and as an editor is to help other writers bring their work into the world. I am focusing on prosperity for myself and for those I come into contact with.
Prosperity? Don’t we need to tighten our belts and hunker down? How is it possible to speak of prosperity in difficult, challenging economic times? Simply, it is possible! What else is there to do?
I will temper my remarks here by stating that it is my hope that our economic difficulties as Americans during this “Great Recession” will lead us to see increasingly that “enough” and “sustainability” are key aspects of sustainable, renewable prosperity. It is my hope that we will gain a greater vision of prosperity for all people around the world.
Most importantly, it is my hope that we Americans will see increasingly that it is unacceptable that billions of humans around our beautiful planet live on a few dollars ($American) per day, using a fraction of the resources we use, while still lacking access to clean water, adequate food and living arrangements, and health care.
I believe that by enlarging our idea of prosperity for all will lead to greater prosperity for we Americans and all peoples around the world. After all – I believe – our elders, our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons live right now around our planet, our home. We can no longer be indifferent.
Every day I thank my Dad and Mom for everything they gave me: my life, my education, my desire to be of service and to make a difference. Dad gave me love of books and the dream of being a writer and an author; Mom gave me love of books, love of classical music, and love of animals. I am so grateful!
Blessings to the memory of Likeke R. McBride and Sally K. McBride.
Love and light – and blessings – to you and yours.
Now, please pass it on.