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Old 02-23-2018, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Asheville NC
1,602 posts, read 1,313,644 times
Reputation: 4165

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Does it have to be “Small Town”? What about Streetcars, peanuts, popcorn and hotdogs? Many of us brought up in the 50’s took ballet and tap; twirled batons, played baseball, took rifle and pistol lessons- horseback riding, and a miryad of “American” lessons. We pledged allegiance to the flag, celebrated holidays with family. Many of us have Ancestors who were here well before the Revolutionary War.

Just wondering after a recent thread and being denigrated as more Antifa than Americana.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,581 posts, read 17,567,761 times
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I'm assuming this is geared toward my thread. Don't really see it as a "retirement" or even "senior" issue, but here goes.

Years ago, there was more of a shared belief in a "general American heritage" and a comity than there is today. One of my favorite professors would be 76 now. He was a Democrat from Chicago. Obviously we didn't share a common background, but we had enough in common to where we could be polite and respectful, even if we disagreed on politics. We were both engaged in civic activity in town, and we found enough common ground that we could work together on some things. He is someone that would be a good neighbor, polite and respectful, and I'd invite him over for a BBQ.

I believe one of the shared threads was that America was still a fundamentally decent (though obviously there was disagreement as to how decent) country to live in and in its approach to world affairs. I know people on the far left who truly hate this country, and feel it needs to be "taught a lesson," so to speak. You see these kinds of people often protesting at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. I ran into some protest there passing through last fall. These were truly agitated, mean, and hateful people.

It happens on both sides. I know some conservatives that would absolutely not go out to lunch with a liberal. Even as recently as ten years ago, I don't remember this level of hate, suspicion, and generalized fear from regular people on the street. I certainly don't remember it growing up. When I was but a boy, some of my grandparents' neighbors would watch me after school in the evening. No one cared what their politics were. If they talked politics, I have no idea who held what views. No one was afraid of the Graters (who are in their late 80s now) or the Joyners molesting me. I was able to run and do things without my family being afraid of the "other side," or the generalized hysteria we see now around child molesters or whatever. A classmate of mine from grade school now lives in a neighborhood I lived in as a boy. That neighbor hasn't changed much, but she won't let her kids play outside without supervision. They're far more likely to wander into the road than some boogeyman getting them.

I grew up on Braves baseball, gardening, playing outside, and cartoons. With the exception of technological changes, I'm probably more culturally similar to Ed than I am to Shaun King.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:56 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,910 posts, read 1,588,036 times
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Can we relegate this to the POC section? I don't want to watch another political grievance session among people who refer to themselves as "Real Americans" in a section that is supposed to be a discussion about retirement issues.

This is particularly pertinent exactly today as the Immigration Services has released a memo a few hours ago officially dropping the phrase “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants” from it's mission statement. As far as I ever understood "Americana" is about objects associated with our history or a genre of music, I think the OP may be referring to the notion of "Americanism"? Or perhaps something else, it's unclear. SC seems to have understood it as being a political question too.

I don't know but I don't think as expressed it is not a retirement issue but a political issue worth discussing in the correct forum. Not wanting to stifle discussion, just also not wanting to politically tribalize the Retirement Forum either.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,160,046 times
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When I try to come up with a definition of "Americana," I think of customs/activities/objects that are not commonly found outside the United States, and are often ones that trace their beginnings back an earlier time in American history. State and county fairs, rodeos, Fourth of July parades, Thanksgiving dinner, serving corn on the cob at backyard barbecues, trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins on Halloween, road trip vacations... those to me are classic Americana. Basically, I ask myself "Would a person from another country visiting the US for the very first time find this fascinating, or would they say they have the same things back at home"?
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Asheville NC
1,602 posts, read 1,313,644 times
Reputation: 4165
Default I don’t remember

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I'm assuming this is geared toward my thread. Don't really see it as a "retirement" or even "senior" issue, but here goes.

Years ago, there was more of a shared belief in a "general American heritage" and a comity than there is today. One of my favorite professors would be 76 now. He was a Democrat from Chicago. Obviously we didn't share a common background, but we had enough in common to where we could be polite and respectful, even if we disagreed on politics. We were both engaged in civic activity in town, and we found enough common ground that we could work together on some things. He is someone that would be a good neighbor, polite and respectful, and I'd invite him over for a BBQ.

I believe one of the shared threads was that America was still a fundamentally decent (though obviously there was disagreement as to how decent) country to live in and in its approach to world affairs. I know people on the far left who truly hate this country, and feel it needs to be "taught a lesson," so to speak. You see these kinds of people often protesting at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. I ran into some protest there passing through last fall. These were truly agitated, mean, and hateful people.

It happens on both sides. I know some conservatives that would absolutely not go out to lunch with a liberal. Even as recently as ten years ago, I don't remember this level of hate, suspicion, and generalized fear from regular people on the street. I certainly don't remember it growing up. When I was but a boy, some of my grandparents' neighbors would watch me after school in the evening. No one cared what their politics were. If they talked politics, I have no idea who held what views. No one was afraid of the Graters (who are in their late 80s now) or the Joyners molesting me. I was able to run and do things without my family being afraid of the "other side," or the generalized hysteria we see now around child molesters or whatever. A classmate of mine from grade school now lives in a neighborhood I lived in as a boy. That neighbor hasn't changed much, but she won't let her kids play outside without supervision. They're far more likely to wander into the road than some boogeyman getting them.

I grew up on Braves baseball, gardening, playing outside, and cartoons. With the exception of technological changes, I'm probably more culturally similar to Ed than I am to Shaun King.
This level of divisiveness either until 9-11. And no weapons of mass destruction. I am very liberal. I see hate and fear on both sides. We can’t seem to get anything done because of this. I worked for a Democratic Governor for 2 terms in the mid 70’s. Both parties worked together for the betterment of the state. Not true today.

Child molesters were there. I know. They were not talked about. Children were not always believed. Growing up you didn’t bring up money, politics, and certainly not sex in polite society.

But that wasn’t my point. My point was those of us brought up in larger cities are also part of “Americana.”

I live in Asheville— have found much more acceptance and less hate here than many other places. Have seen no hate at Pack Square only inclusion. We see through different eyes. In the last election I handed out info for local dems. This was alongside republican canvassers. We had positive conversations. No hate.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Asheville NC
1,602 posts, read 1,313,644 times
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Default My point was not about politics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hefe View Post
Can we relegate this to the POC section? I don't want to watch another political grievance session among people who refer to themselves as "Real Americans" in a section that is supposed to be a discussion about retirement issues.

This is particularly pertinent exactly today as the Immigration Services has released a memo a few hours ago officially dropping the phrase “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants” from it's mission statement. As far as I ever understood "Americana" is about objects associated with our history or a genre of music, I think the OP may be referring to the notion of "Americanism"? Or perhaps something else, it's unclear. SC seems to have understood it as being a political question too.

I don't know but I don't think as expressed it is not a retirement issue but a political issue worth discussing in the correct forum. Not wanting to stifle discussion, just also not wanting to politically tribalize the Retirement Forum either.
I think Aredhel in post 4 has it right. And a lot of these clearly American things are in larger metropolitan areas.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,160,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funisart View Post
My point was those of us brought up in larger cities are also part of “Americana.”
So, what big city activities/customs/items would you classify as Americana? Since I didn't grow up in a large city, I can't think of many, but that's just because I wasn't exposed to them, not that they don't exist. (Baseball games at a classic stadium like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park - with a hot dog, of course, opening up the fire hydrants so kids can frolic in the water spraying out, horse-drawn trolleys and streetcars, and street games like stickball are what comes to mind for me.)
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Asheville NC
1,602 posts, read 1,313,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
So, what big city activities/customs/items would you classify as Americana? Since I didn't grow up in a large city, I can't think of many, but that's just because I wasn't exposed to them, not that they don't exist. (Baseball games at a classic stadium like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park - with a hot dog, of course, opening up the fire hydrants so kids can frolic in the water spraying out, horse-drawn trolleys and streetcars, and street games like stickball are what comes to mind for me.)
Absolutely the hotdogs-vendors on the streets. Baseball games a favorite of my youth. Forth of July parades, and fireworks. Many other parades for that matter. Trolly cars and street cars. There were Barber Shops in big cities too . Fairs and cotton candy. What more can I say?
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Tucson Arizona
3,892 posts, read 1,653,380 times
Reputation: 10224
So much of what is called "Americana" seems schmaltzy to me.
It seems steeped in nostalgia for a past most of us never experienced; Barber Shop quartets, quilting bees, Opie and Aunt Bee. It often features a homogeneous bunch of white folks and tasteless, cheaply made "handcrafts" in red, white, and blue.

I think the real story of America is of people struggling to make better lives for themselves. Some came from other countries; some migrated west, and some got displaced by those others on the move.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:01 AM
 
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,433 posts, read 1,668,181 times
Reputation: 8687
Very small town Midwest suburbia for my childhood. School functions with PTA involvement for fund raisers were common with heavy parental involvement: fish fries, carnivals with cake walks, talent shows. Summer recreation with volunteers and tether ball, four square, and box hockey, transportation there was by bike along corn fields. Fall hayrides. I was a baton twirler in parades. Sadie Hawkin Day dances. Basketball with Hoosier hysteria. Friday night football at night on a lighted field.

Small NY village for son’s childhood. PTA turned into the PTO. Functions were the Halloween Happening at school, the merchants let kids paint Halloween scenes on their storefront windows, Fourth of July parade with floats and fireworks by the pond later on, Memorial Day parade, live nativity scene with animals at a local church, village square Christmas tree lighting with Santa arriving on a firetruck with cookies at the volunteer fire station afterward. Menorah lighting a few days later. Boy Scout blue and gold dinner. Saturday afternoon football, no money for lights.

Small town nearby, living in suburbia again near grandkids.. PTO with family night movies st school, fund raisers with festivals at school (these have been the same through the years). More parades, one to kick off the season in September (originally to welcome businesses back that closed in the summer) now a fundraiser for a women’s organization with a bed race before the parade, an hour + long Christmas parade because the weather is warm and Santa is on a float along with every civic organization or local business, Girl Scout troop cleaning up litter after parade the next day, live nativity with animals again but no shift changes because of the cold, Christmas boat parade with lights, Fourth of July fireworks at the beach, Friday night football with money for lights again.

Americana is people being involved in their communities and schools with uniquely American and regional activities.

Last edited by jean_ji; 02-23-2018 at 11:48 AM..
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