Theresa Hong: Good times never go out of style

04/06/2011 1:11 AM

04/06/2011 1:17 AM

Although it seemed to be a much simpler time, my grandparents' generation and the one subsequently after -- the WWII and post-WWII generations -- sacrificed more than my generation would ever dream of doing. What's more, they did it with style, grace and a kind of dignity that in today's world seems sadly lost in translation.

I imagine this wormhole in time like a wooden rollercoaster thundering through the Coney Island of yesteryear -- up, down, around and, of course, upside-down. Swirls of black and white screams of delight and laughter playfully intermingle with splashes of bright Technicolor stars and stripes that represented hope, pride and dreams.

I was fortunate enough to witness this quickly disappearing wormhole of sorts Saturday when I attended the Merced Arts Council sen-ior dance -- and boy, was it fun. I was reminded of the many times my grandpa (Opa) placed my tiny feet on the tops of his feet while we danced to the big band music on the record player, and then handed me over to my grandma (Oma) as she took the lead, shimmying like an Andrews sister.

Growing up, I was always reminded this was a generation that, despite any challenge they faced, always seemed to look ahead while enjoying their "now." And their now is a far cry from our now.

Our "now" is something they probably saw years ago while they sat eating popcorn, watching with horror, a B-movie science fiction flick on the big screen -- hundreds of thousands of drones "plugged into" our smartphones, headphones and devices ending with "pad" or "pod." In a sense, their fiction has become our reality.

Today's generational networks no longer consist of going to a dance or having a few drinks on the neighbor's front porch. Not a chance. Sadly, they've been whittled down to nothing more than powering up the computer, logging into Facebook or some other social media site, and smugly admiring how many friends he or she has.

And although I firmly embrace many of the technological wonders our world has birthed since WWII, nothing beats an old-fashioned, media-less social, where people genuinely enjoy each other -- dance, laugh, eat, share a drink and talk to one another -- not to a computer.

So, as I deeply inhaled the Coney Island-esque air and embraced the beautiful scenery last Saturday night, I fought the urge to update my Facebook status. Instead, I simply enjoyed the "now." I even thought I saw Oma and Opa on the dance floor -- they would be so proud.

Theresa Hong writes about food for the Merced Sun-Star. E-mail her at

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