In 1971 I paid cash for my 1st car, a 1-yr old Chevy Vega, for $1800. I filled it up for $3.80. Twinkies were 12 cents. I was 18.
My parents bought a large brick 4 bed, 2 bath, Chicago bungalow in burbs for $18.000.
Visits to the doctor were paid in cash. America was not fat. All spoke English. Saturday evenings were watching Ed Sullivan introduce the Beatles, eating huge bowls of ice cream and spending family time together.
My diverse neighborhood included Polish, Italians, Greeks, Checkoslovakians, English, Germans. Blacks and Mexicans were not far away. Master craftsman from Europe built the neighborhood, trained through apprenticeships.
People spoke English out and at home, except for maybe the grandfather from southern Yugoslavia. Everyone assimilated and practiced gratitude for their jobs, hope and freedom. Biblical world view and the Puritan/Protestant work ethic was the honor code of raising families and in the church.
When someone stole my grandmother's purse at the bus station (she was visiting from Oklahoma to lllinois). the thief mailed her her purse, identification, wallet, etc., back to her.
Transportation on trains & buses was cheap, close, easy and safe. No one took crap from anyone. If a parent had a complaint, as when a kid threw paint on me, the school took action against the kid and to the parents. No nonsense. Every kid had art, gym, Spanish, No such thing as ADD, autism, anti-depressants.
Art integrates right and left brain development in a child. Early music education teaches math learning abilities. As soon as these things became the duty of the privileged parents./kids, then started the diagnosing of all the disorders. Little boys no longer had the physical activity they needed for their brains to work and develop. So, along came Pharmaceutical America the Drugged, saving the day for the newly diagnosed ADD, ADHD, bi-polar, etc.
Corporations were not corrupt, they didn't abuse their size or functions. Not that I know of. Local water was good.
My Mother thought the $24,000 home that my aunt and uncle bought in Ohio was outrageously expensive.
My Dad gave me $12 to buy a dress.
We had guns. My sister and I knew where they were and we were told not to touch them as they were loaded. We obeyed or we would have been whooped, in some form. When some crazy guy came to our front door one winter, my Dad was outside with his gun in a heartbeat. No police were called. No one feared to protect their own.
Teachers threw brats out of the classroom. Girls who had sex were shunned by all. There were no drugs, no pregnancies, no crazy vaccinations with 50 chemicals.
I never saw racism until I came to Ohio in 1975, to college, and it was the black girls against the white girls. We tried to be friendly in the dorm, and they would come close to shoving us out of the way. Loud and obnoxious they were.
Grades were earned, not given. Parents cared. Neighbors kept their eyes on the neighborhood and the kids because they cared. Teachers ruled the classroom. They handled things their way. I and others had to kneel down to make sure our skirts touched the floor. I was sent to the bathroom one time, after my teacher put her hand on my face and rubbed it hard, she sent me to wash off my makeup. One teacher grabbed my hair and yanked it because I ratted it up high in 7th grade. Hands on by teachers and parents. Churches were somewhat or completely clueless about Christ but most people were raised in the church. They still knew right from wrong, whether immigrants (1st generation) or NBC's.
Cheap, cheap, cheap, is what everything was. Fast forward to now, I earn no more than 1,000/month more than I did in 1996, even with a Master's and a bunch of student loan debt.
If you have read this, thanks. America the Beautiful, please return.