Family Togetherness: An Alternative to Prozac?

My grandkids think I grew up in the Stone Age. It's my own fault, because I keep telling them stories about my youth - stories that involve living without television, air conditioning and computers. They cannot understand how we survived without those things. I try very hard to convince them that my life as a youngster was really pretty good with family picnics in the park, listening to my favorite radio programs and, on hot summer evenings, taking long rides in our old jalopy just to cool off. The glorious culmination of those trips, I explain, was eating frozen custard. Undoubtedly, to them, these activities sound "boring" (their favorite word!) I, on the other hand, believe they were not only fun, but beneficial to my emotional stability as well.

Every night after dinner, we sat, as a family, in front of the radio. My parents didn't have to monitor what we kids listened to, because, in those days, there were no X rated programs. They were, however, concerned that we would be terrified listening to the war news, but, because they listened with us, were right there to alleviate any fears.

Summer picnics in the park were among our most treasured outings. Even if we didn't actually escape the heat and had to fight off the bugs, we enjoyed camaraderie with complete strangers who were doing the same.

I was always glad when we picnicked in a place that was part of an amusement park. How I loved the dodge-em cars and riding the roller coaster which, compared to what's available today, was like riding in a kid's stroller.

So maybe we didn't have television and all the other wonders of the modern world. And maybe most of our travels took place within a five-mile radius of home. What we did have was a lot of family togetherness and maybe - just maybe - a whole lot less stress.

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