Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

We are blessed to live in a country as good as this one. Things aren't perfect, but when are they ever? But we keep trying, and it amazes me how well we do.

My 401K has done very well over the past few years, and being (semi) retired, that is very important to me. Unemployment is very low, and while I wish pay was better, we are getting there. Salary increases in 2016 are already exceeding expectations. In addition to feeling some pretty fair financial security in spite of the Great Recession, here are some things that our country has fixed.

I can remember when I was denied a job because there were no women allowed in the programming department at J&L Steel. That was in 1968 - and 1969 - and 1970. Can't say I didn't try!

I lived in a town that didn't allow African Americans within the city limits after sundown. A NORTHERN state town, not the deep South.

The child restraint system in my car was swinging my arm in front of my child, who was standing on the front seat beside me, when I braked too hard. I shudder when I think of that!

When I went to Illinois State [Normal] University in 1959, the African Americans were in the basement of our dorm, and had their own cafeteria. No intermingling allowed.

There was no EPA, and when my husband and I went fishing in the Illinois River, we brought the fish home live and threw them in a water tank for a few days to get the smell and taste of diesel fuel out of them before we cleaned, cooked and ate them. Now the Illinois River has won awards for its cleanliness.

When I was pregnant, I knew it because the smell of cigarettes made me sick, wouldn't even let my husband smoke in the house. Thank goodness! Of course, I started back up as soon as the babies came. I kicked the habit permanently on September 26, 1972, but not because the tobacco companies had fessed up. 1965 - 42.4% of US population smoked. 2013 - 17.8% smoke. Damn those rules, that political correctness. (I don't know the emoticon for sarcasm.)

I was pregnant with my first child when thalidomide was released - without proper testing! I had bad morning sickness, but my doctor told me to go to the drugstore for Dramamine instead of prescribing thalidomide. How fortunate I was! My friend was not so lucky. Her baby was born in the same hospital, one day after mine, and his hands were deformed.

Looking at the list, I realize how important the rules and regulations we often rail against have been in my life - and yours.

Happy 240th Birthday, United States of America! 

Warts and all, you have always been great, and hopefully you always will be.

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