I wholeheartedly agree with Jim Gannon “that the world we knew as youths has come to an end. The country we inhabit bears little resemblance to America of the 1950s, the last normal decade.”
But I have trouble with that last phrase when thinking about Rappahannock and beyond. “Normal” in the 1950s describes the segregated Scrabble School and massive resistance to integration. Interracial marriage was a crime until the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia. And our norms in the 1950s sustained that male bastion, the University of Virginia, which would not have admitted women graduates of Rappahannock County High School, let alone African-Americans. Norms, if not laws in Virginia, have changed to acceptance of gay and lesbian partnerships which have benefitted our country.
Rather than “Wake up, and smell the . . . decay,” as Jim’s letter is headlined, I am awed by changes in our world since the stultifying 1950s. I celebrate the norms which have converted the Scrabble School to use by senior citizens and as a museum, and the norms which encourage citizens to volunteer in countless activities – from the Food Pantry to the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League.
And as someone old enough to remember the ’50s, I take quiet satisfaction seeing a woman dentist in Flint Hill, women vets at Rose Hill, our Sheriff Connie Smith and many other women in professions virtually closed to women in those “good old days.”