EDITORíS DESK: A past thatís worth recalling
I know many of you enjoy reading Mel McFarland's columns (as do I), so it's a pleasure to be able to put into print some of the history of a person who embodies the
old-time feel that Mel writes about. Interviewing Fred Bishop, who already had a full life even before residing in the same Westside house for the last 54 years, was
like stepping into a kind of time bubble. Through his recollections, I felt myself floating back to a way of life that was once the essence of Americana but more and
fading into unfortunate irrelevance. We modern people, plugged in with all our gadgets and creature comforts, would quite frankly have had a hard time in the world of Fred Bishop's youth. For one thing, hard work was a given. America was not a "service economy" back then. Most jobs involved lifting, digging, hauling, hammering and sometimes struggling with mules, cows, goats or horses. People like Fred's dad frequently walked miles to work and thought nothing of it. Cooking a meal might start with collecting wood for the stove. A garden wasn't a hobby; it was survival. And an "icebox" really was a box with ice in it - as Fred well recalls from all the places he delivered blocks of different sizes around the Westside. In big families like Fred's, everybody contributed. It was expected. Kids in those days were handed chores when they were old enough to walk. Today we have the leisure to muse about such issues as global warming or world poverty inside our climate-controlled houses. People back then dealt with weather, not in the abstract, but face on because so much time was spent outside. And they knew hardship, all right - their own, on a daily basis - but when it was beaten back through earnest striving, small advances shared with the family, they knew a joy that we as Americans may never know again. Unless we jump in those time bubbles. Thanks, Mel, and thanks, Fred, for helping remind one person of some of the roots that grew into our Westside.