Tuesday, October 30, 2012


She's gone for weeks and then she's back two days in a row - the Curmudgeon. But as I was throwing Sunday's newspaper into the recycling I saw a headline that stopped me with an idea for an essay:

I loved this headline in this Sunday’s Community section of the Charlotte Observer: Outdoor Fireplaces: A hideaway in your yard.  Oooh! Things are getting bad: folks on the lam are searching for hideaways. And what about those “bedroom retreats”, and “adult sanctuaries”?  What I want to know is from what are some folks fleeing?  Why do they have to retreat? Why must they hide away?  Are things getting so bad that instead of sending recalcitrant kids to their rooms the parents flee to their own?  Are things getting so bad that folks must flee from the world in general?

Being just two weeks this side of seventy, I’m from an era where togetherness was the key word for families: togetherness at meals, togetherness for an evening’s entertainment and learning, togetherness in all times good or bad. It seems now that every family member is entitled to their own inviolable space. Entitled, I tell you!  Our son has three girls, and each has her own bedroom. The girls are all under six, so there aren’t yet any “go to your room” orders, or even their own desire to get away from the rest of the bunch - but they’re getting older every day. Of course, the parents have their own suite, and there’s a small guest suite on the first floor. Five bedrooms: gotta have ‘em! I’d better not complain too loudly: I may need that guest suite one day. But you know what I’m getting at here.

Excess, excess – it’s everywhere. (Witness yesterday’s blog about Booing.)

The size of the average American family home is increasing – doesn’t every home need a living room, a great room, a playroom, a media room, a billiards room, and maybe a gym?  Our son’s home has four of those six, yet along with those five bedrooms it’s one of the smaller houses in his golf club community.  I ask you!  But why not, it’s what up-and-comers do these days.  And I really shouldn’t comment, because they are doing so well. But it just chews at my conscious. Though I’m sure it is mainly doing what they think best for their family, it all seems to me to be the eternal keeping up with the Joneses, the maintaining face, if you will, and the showing themselves that they’re all right Jack.  Seems to me it might be our fault for not instilling simpler values in them.  It’s a vicious cycle, and many parents will probably be lamenting about this for eons.

Well, that’s off my chest for now – but I’ll probably still stew about it later on in life.




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