A number of ezine readers recall 1953 and to those of us who do, it doesn't seem that long ago. Since I was a teenager then, I knew a lot more about everything than I do now. Notwithstanding the fact that teens still go through that phase but with government support, our people as a whole enjoyed many more freedoms than we do today.

Children and teens, until their eighteenth birthday, are now wards of the state who can dial 911 if mama swacks the kid across the seat of learning with a handy switch or a handy hand. Parents are supervised by the government. In 1953, we were supervised, disciplined and yes, owned by our parents, for better or for worse. And the age of majority (emancipation) was 21, not 18.

If we were as free as we were in 1953:

* Children would belong to parents unless a crime (actual crime) was committed against the child.

* We could fly without being searched, stripped, humiliated and detained for carrying nail clippers.

* Graduating from high school would mean someone had a decent education, and attending or graduating from college or university would mean that the person had met the academic requirements rather than a social agenda.

* Medical costs would be at a level where we all could afford to go to the doctor and most of us would be able to afford prescription medication without any help, unless it was some help from the family.

* Our medical, financial and family records would be our business, not the government's.

* Spy cams would be on a program shown by that newfangled gadget, television, not the street corner.

* Computers would belong to giant businesses to process tabulating cards, sometimes called "IBM cards" and the word "hacker" would leave people with a blank stare.

* No one would be straight jacketed into their automobile, the kids would not be harnessed up like animals, and most people would obey the traffic laws.

* Security would be a matter of installing a dead bolt on the door.

* The only terrorist fear we would have was that another nation possessed the atomic bomb.

* Women would consider it natural to stay at home and the government would not consider them an abused minority for being married, having children, and baking cookies.

* Social workers would be few, and have little to do on most days.

* Most citizens would not have any fear of the police, particularly on a routine traffic stop.

* Divorce would be frowned upon and marriage vows would be taken with the best of intentions.

* Children born out of wedlock would not be subsidized by the government.

* Christmas wouldn't be the subject of litigation against displaying a nativity scene or singing carols.

* There would be no laws against prayer in schools or anywhere else, and Christian children would not be forced to learn the Muslim religion.
Owls and fish would not be given preference over humans when discussing land use.

* Most goods purchased by Americans would be made in America and made to last.

* Being on welfare would be a disgrace, not a government entitlement.

* Neighbors would not be encouraged by the government to snitch on one another, nor would the people who deliver milk, mail and read meters think it "patriotic" to snoop on the people in their neighborhood.

* Homosexuality would not be a mandated subject for "education" in public schools.

* Stupid litigation would not result in windfall awards, making litigation a viable source of wealth for some individuals.

* Personal responsibility, cause and effect, and consequences of bad decisions would not be replaced by terms such as genetic defects or the results of a dysfunctional family.

* Most courts would not be very busy. Neither would most trial lawyers.

* The borders would be there for a reason other than to make lines on maps.

* Abortion would not be a subject for Supreme Court deliberation and opinion.

* American citizens would have the right to protect their lives, families and property without fear of being prosecuted for doing so.

* People would not blame guns for killing people, they would blame people.

* The public wouldn't tolerate the trash on the media.

* We could still have fun with Ole Svenson jokes.

* Newspapers would try to outdo one another for a story rather than following the official drumbeat.

* The police would not look like a cross between space travelers and a military special forces team.

* No one would care about a place called Iraq.

That's my list. Or as much of it as immediately comes to mind, but if there were a couple of other ezine writers here, I'm sure it would be too long to publish.

However, any reader can print this and start adding to the list and if enough people do that, we might wake up to the fact that in 2003, we are a lot less free than we were fifty years ago.

Just as an afterthought, fifty years ago we drove into a gas station and said "fill 'er up, check the oil, water, battery and the tires." Cleaning the windshield was part of the routine and we didn't even mention it. With a full tank of gas, we could then proceed to a malt shop (not a drive through) and get a malt made with hard ice cream, syrup, fresh milk, malt powder, all stirred together by a Hamilton Beach mixer. And it cost about a quarter. The government didn't warn us about cholesterol or force no-smoking signs in restaurants, buildings and even the city parks. The surgeon general, whoever he was, minded his own business (whatever it was) and we could eat butter without guilt or fear. The grocery store didn't give us bargain prices in exchange for tracking our eating habits. Now, back to my rocky road ice cream.