PERILS OF WISDOM (Harold Monlux)

Trying to finish unpacking from a recent move, I first came upon a box that held the last saved treasures of my past; my L.P.N. name tag from my first career as a nurse, the mouthpiece from the french horn I played from 3rd through 12th grade, (not my idea), an old small luggage lock with the key inserted, a small silver unicorn, the Indian nickel I had been looking for, some papers, a choker from when that was in style, (and might still be usable in certain situations), and the P.O.W bracelet I wore. Later while sorting through my picture boxes, I would find the letter that gave me the permission to remove that bracelet and put it away, realizing how much resolve, courage and resilience it took one individual in order to allow me to perform that one simple act.

I was a child of the sixties and seventies and we were deep in revolution, a changing of the guard so to speak, and it wasn’t just one thing, it was generational, cultural, social, political. It was the Environmental movement, Women’s rights, the Antiwar movement, Watergate scandal, Conservative backlash, Hippies, music, fashion and LSD. It was tumultuous and chaotic, loud and threatening. Multiple forces pushed against the establishment and the establishment holding the line as long as they could. And you felt it, you heard it, consumed it and lived it. My earliest recollection of any event that occurred beyond the confines of my childhood home was the assasination of John F. Kennedy; they sent us home from school. I was young and remembered coming into the house and finding it dark, blinds closed and my mother crying. Odd. I didn’t comprehend what was happening but I felt the heaviness, the pure sadness, and this feeling was only validated further by my mother’s demonstration of an emotion she was pretty much devoid of. But as the world mourned and the only conversations, news reports and television coverage was of our slain president and his wife’s bloody dress, I came to know that it was a very terrible tragedy and unforgivable loss.

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