Although it was at least a thousand times better than the mess we have today, the era of the 1950s was not without its tiresome aspects. Among the most tiresome was educators’ penchant for militarizing children.
At Edgar School, for gym, we had these white X’s painted on the blacktop and you were supposed to stand on one, and then Mr. Weiss would put us through a drill, “Ten-hut! Eyes right, dress right, dress!” If you went to the Y after school, you got more of it. “Count off by fours–count off!”
Looking back on it… what were they trying to do?
Sure, I played soldiers with all the other kids, and there was always a war movie playing on TV, and everybody had toy army men. Most of us had fathers who had served in World War II (my daddy was a sailor). Left to our own devices, we enjoyed a healthy patriotism and would have been happy to slam the Bad Guys–by then, the communists: Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini were dead–anytime, anywhere.
They called it “regimentation” and it was too much of a thing that wasn’t that good to begin with. I’m convinced that their overdoing it contributed much to the cultural meltdown of the later 1960s. Halfway through ROTC I found myself thinking “Enough, already!”
News flash: They’re still putting kids through drills to teach them unquestioning obedience to The Authorities: but now they call it “school” and “university,” and instead of counting off by fours, you recite the titles of all the latest made-up “genders.”