Once upon a time, a long time ago…

Once upon a time, children got up in the morning, got dressed, had breakfast, and went outside to wait for the school bus. They might not have wanted to go to school, but once on the bus, seeing all their friends, and just teasing each other or even talking smack got the morning started off right for them. Friendships got engendered and strengthened, and the children didn’t even know how happy they were.
And all the hours during which they were being taught by their teachers — no matter the subject — they were growing and learning and enjoying the socialization. They might even like one or two of their teachers and maybe would even try a little harder to raise their grades in the subjects they liked most. Sometimes they would ask a friend or two over for a crash study session after school to prepare for a big test. They didn’t even know how much they were learning.
After school there would be a short time for some light-hearted fun with their best buddies, then back on the school bus to take them home again. If they were able, they’d play outside with their nearby friends until they were called in for dinner, after which was homework time, and maybe one short TV show with the family before bed. It would’ve been a good day and one that would lead to a good night’s sleep.
In the meantime, while the children up and down the street were getting dressed for school, their fathers and maybe even their mothers would be getting ready for work. The father would hop in his car and head off to pick up those in his car pool, getting to work in time for his 9 a.m. staff meeting.
Meanwhile, back at the house, the mother would be getting ready to greet the committee that would be coming over to discuss the plans for the new neighborhood playground. She had the coffee already made.
Every mother and father on the block was busy with their jobs or their plans for the day. One might be taking flying lessons, another would be going for swimming practice, and still others had appointments at their favorite pet groomer or hair salon. Every family was out there, doing what they had to do, what they liked to do, or what they wanted to do.
Restaurants were busy, with long lines at many of them. The department stores up and down the avenue were filled with shoppers, as were the grocery stores, and there were those on bicycles and skateboards over in the park. It was fun to walk along the well-kept streets and listen to the birds chirping and the people chatting with each other as they leisurely walked along.
Here and there, workers were working on a sidewalk, wearing their hardhats and work boots and such, and it was even a pleasure to hear their drills making that special rat-a-tat sound and seeing a few people stopping to watch. Dogs were barking and pulling at their leashes, leading their owners this way and that. All seemed right with the world on this ordinary day.
And it was a typical spring day! But not any more. That’s just the way it used to be. We only see those days now captured in the movies we watch. We hope that we won’t have to see any movies about people wearing those masks and keeping their distance from each other.
Teaching children at home would be fine, if the children really wanted their parents to be their teachers. But they miss their friends and they miss all the interaction with them; they miss the school bus rides, and they miss their teachers and even the tests they used to study for, and they miss playing touch football outside with their friends. Even their personalities are changing.
Their moms and dads miss the car pooling and the meetings and the committee get-togethers and the wonderful dinners at their favorite restaurants and the Sundays at Grandma and Grandpa’s playing with the
children, and the wonderful homemade chicken soup that Grandma used to make. But it’s all gone and has been for a while.
Where oh where have all our friends gone, the friends we used to have coffee with, go to a movie with, or even just sit on the couch with and watch TV? Where have our children’s friends gone? They haven’t been over for an entire year and it’s really taking a toll on them.
Can’t we just go back to the way things used to be?
There’re no school graduations anymore and even church weddings are being put off to a time in the future when all the couple’s friends and loved ones can hug each other and dance together and make their wedding a truly loving affair.
Where oh where have “the good old days” gone? When all the bans are lifted, will things ever be the same again?

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