Wide spread drug use did not exist until ’65 – ’66. The downhill slide started with the Kennedy assassination. Then, Martin Luther King and later Robert Kennedy was killed. continued …
Viet Nam ratcheted up at the same time. Every town had someone who was killed. Four guys from my graduating class were killed.
There were massive protests. Drugs started infiltrating schools around 1965-1966.
Watergate happened and people stopped trusting the government.
Baby boomers grew up, married, had kids. Small towns were “built out” with older homes so the ‘boomers’ moved into newly constructed homes in suburbs built closer to cities.
The “downtown” areas of small towns had always been communal places where people encountered people they knew with histories they were aware of. This shared history resulted in an unspoken sense of community.
While the three block business districts of small towns offered the same goods and services to people in suburbs and cities, malls were built with more access. The business district of small towns slowly declined from lack of use.
The shared information between people in small towns no longer existed among masses of people at large regional malls. Anonymity … the space between the minds of people … replaced the sense of community.
The open spaces of the countryside were chopped up by highways and the closed environment of suburbia making it harder for kids to explore the world.
The world, no matter how technologically advanced it becomes, can never return to that ten year period of time … the Golden Age … when the sense of community prevailed, there was a closeness to nature and technology was a part of life rather than the dominating force.
Nor could the world return to that mode of living, given the complex dynamic of population density we live in today.
I see an interesting parallel between social networking and the desire to be part of a closer knit tribe, efforts to save the environment and movements to return to nature ironically, mirroring many, if not all, of the aspects that characterized the small towns that proliferated the landscape of America during that brief span of time.
*ok, so i know it wasn’t a perfect utopia and there are exceptions to every circumstance ever noted. I’m speaking in general terms so please don’t pepper me with a ton of exceptions. Maybe you just had to be there. ks