Shopping... Wishing... Hoping
by Stan Scislowski
think there are many people of my age who, as I did, way back
in those now distant and dim days of the Great Depression,
enjoyed window shopping or pouring through catalogues. Few
of our parents had much money to spend on food and clothing,
or all the other things needed to survive, let alone the frivolous
things their children yearned for.
how I wished I could have all those wonderful things my gaze
fell upon. How those wishes burned deep. But, I knew in my
heart that my wishes would likely remain only day dreams.
think for a moment how things would have changed (but not
necessarily for the better), if we had had the money to buy
whatever our hearts desired without a moment’s hesitation.
I’m certain that we would no longer have had anything
to wish for, and before long, boredom would have set in.
it any wonder why some people who have money far beyond the
point of decency and fairness, live basically unhappy lives?
Why? They have lost the one thing that makes life worth living,
and that one thing is “hope,” a hope for something
good to come along, be it large, or be it small, be it expensive,
or be it something you can’t put a value on.
I was a year or two past the toddler stage, especially when
Christmas was not far off, I used to lie on the floor face
down with an Eaton’s catalogue and leaf through the
pages in the toy section. My eyes would widen as visions of
owning all those wonderful toys danced through my head. Although
I very rarely, if ever, got what I wished for, those were
magic moments for me and I reveled in them. My hopes and daydreams
of acquiring all those good things made the day go so much
When I grew into my early teens, my wishes evolved from wanting
toys to having a chemistry laboratory, just like Thomas Edison
had, with which I might concoct all sorts of magic compounds
that mankind could benefit from. I did eventually acquire
a laboratory, (though no great discoveries came about despite
my tireless efforts), and this did show me that sometimes
wishes do come true, even though they might not be exactly
as you dreamed they would.
I found myself desperately trying to stay alive during the
days of battle in WWII, I also found myself hoping and wishing
for many things. I wished for, or looked forward to, any change
for the better in the rations; I hoped I’d get a spell
of leave away from the dangers and terrors of the front, even
if it was for only a day; I yearned for a letter or two from
home, or a parcel of goodies that would make the day a little
special. And, on the cold, rainy days of late November, while
on our way down some shell-beaten road, I hoped we’d
end up in a house with a roof intact, just to get out of the
rain. When this occasionally did happen, what a noticeable
improvement in my spirits!
“hope” is what kept me going in the right frame
of mind during all those hard years. When hope is absent,
the spirit flees, and the days ahead are not worth looking
though I’m now living a life of comfort and am free
of want, there remains that desire to own something new and
exciting. But these days I just can’t justify spending
the big money on it!
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