Faith & Insight: A wonderful world of color

When my nephew, Caleb, was a young boy of five or six, he sat down with his grandmother to watch a classic television program. After a few moments, Caleb piped up, “Grandma, I’m glad that I didn’t grow up when you did.” Grandma asked, “Why not?” Caleb answered, “Because we have color now and your world was black and white!” Her world was black and white simple — steak and shake and drive-in movies.

I too grew up in a black and white world. Sixty two years ago today I made my not-so-grand appearance upon the world stage.

The year was 1954. Noteworthy events of 1954 included Joe DiMaggio’s wedding to Marilyn Monroe. That same year Elvis Presley walked into Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn., to record his first record. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. Marlon Brando starred in “On the Waterfront.” Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine was made available to a very thankful public. Nautilus, the first U.S. atomic sub, was launched. Westinghouse slashed the price of the first color TV (a Westinghouse 12.5-inch set) in 1954 from $1,295 to $1,110 due to a lackluster sales; total of 30 units to date. Finally, in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregation and in favor of integration in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

When I went off to kindergarten in 1959, I attended an integrated Elmwood Elementary School in Danville, Ill. Black and white playmates enjoyed their school days together.

Our family moved to Simi Valley, Calif., in 1962. At that time, Simi Valley was a small, predominately white, bedroom community. For most Simi Valley youth in the 1960s it was a “Leave It to Beaver” lifestyle. Youth enjoyed cruising in chrome-laden behemoths to fast food hangouts. Football and basketball games were a must and occasionally three or four youth would sneak into the drive-in movie in the trunk of a ‘57 Chevy! It was a black and white world — simple and segregated and shielded from the racial problems of Mississippi, Ala., and the south in general.

My world is rich and full of color, like Caleb’s, now. My world is diverse and not as simple as it used to be. With so many advances in science, technology and innovation, our world is bigger and brighter than ever.

Henry Ford paid his workers a good salary and longed for the day that all of his workers could afford to buy one of his cars. Try to find a new house today with a one-car garage!

Do we have serious problems facing our nation today? Of course we do. However, we have a God who can handle them. We have a Lord who is the same yesterday, today and forever. I will trust him for today and tomorrow. He has always been with me in the past.

When I begin to long for the simple black and white days, I just pick a tune on my 1954 Seeburg jukebox or take a drive in my 1952 Packard. There are many things worth remembering from the past, but those days were not “good old days” for all.

Caleb, you’re right. Color is better!

Ken Haskins is pastor of First Christian Church in Carson City.


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