Changing Times in My Time

By | February 8, 2024

[February 8, 2024]  As a teenager, I saw that America was changing, sometimes fast and flashy like a county fair carousel and also slow and sleepy like a hound dog taking a nap on the front porch.  My parents would tell us kids about the “good old days” when they walked miles to school and then had to work after at a job and to help out their parents, cousins, and elderly grandparents.  Formal education was not as crucial as family relations or being good Christians.  Yep, those were the days.

I resisted somewhat because I didn’t like some of my cousins, going to church was “boring,” plus I wanted to get out of our house and “do my own thing,” which, looking back, was often stupid and dangerous.  But hey, no one said I was the smart one in the family.  But I remained a believer; I just disliked sitting in church pews for an hour.  Sunday School was better because you could get funny jokes – sometimes a tad dirty if we promised not to tell – from whoever was the layperson, always a man, running it.

By the late 1960s, the hippie generation had replaced the hip hop generation of the 50s and thought of us religious folks as backward, inflexible, unaccepting, and slavish to our religious beliefs, with Neanderthal-like minds, especially if we grew up in the rural Deep South; like me.  Our churches enshrined a firm belief in God, family (both father and mother), epic Biblical stories, the Ten Commandments, treating others with kindness, and protecting those same principles.  That modern generation rejected anything resembling a “creepy religious society.”  “Don’t trust anyone over 30” and “Stop the war” were common slogans of the era.

Like my parent’s generation of the 1930s and 40s, my generation bore little resemblance to theirs.  We had a telephone that hung on the wall, running water, electricity most of the time, paved roads in town, and medical care (if you traveled an hour away).  And we had television, even if we only had one good channel, which was not in color.  They had none of these until the 1960s.  Sure, my parents struggled but worked hard to follow the right and proper path.

We also had things in common.  We all owned guns and lots of them.  The 410 shotgun that my grandfather had given to my Dad when he was a kid is now my shotgun.  Going hunting and fishing was a weekend activity we enjoyed nearly year-round, except when it was too cold outside.  Floating down the river was something very special.  Baseball was our favorite sport, and we went out to watch ball games played by the High School boys and girls; cheering for your local team was just expected.

But the most common behavior was our independence.  Our parents didn’t tell us where to go or when.  Just try to be home by dark and eat supper.  We had one car, and we weren’t allowed to drive it – except once when I took out their Oldsmobile 450 big-block V8 engine and drove over 100 mph on the loop around Abilene.  “Don’t tell me what to do.”  That pretty much summed up what many of us thought but never said to our parents.

Like my Dad, no one went to college because you were expected to “get a job and be a man.”  They were disappointed when I told my parents that I wanted to go to college to be an Engineer.  My Dad had already mapped out my adult life.  Join the railroad, and in five years, I’d be a Trainmaster, a lower officer position but tracked for higher rank.  Later, I worked as a Relief Agent and Yardmaster in the railroad union Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.

The Vietnam War was raging, and I read everything I could about it.  I couldn’t see why anyone would be against stopping a Communist regime since they killed you if you didn’t convert.  I saw those who dodged the draft as dirty, cowardly, lazy, and good for nothing.  That’s what I thought, anyway.  Later, I would meet many, and those early stereotypes turned out to be true.

Before heading to college and going against my parents’ wishes, I was still free-thinking free-acting.  Of course, I paid the price for not gaining any valuable skills.  I’d not yet learned that to live a good life means adopting responsibility for my future.  I was more like those lazy draft dodgers than I appreciated.  That changed when I joined the Army.

The Army was a vessel of old American values, which was fine with me.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Changing Times in My Time

  1. Ron C.

    Got to admit that Gen. Satterfield is right. Too many folks believe they are privileged and only they know what is right. Sadly, these are largely single, white, college-educated women with no lives. They were called spinsters in the old days and the old days are right.

  2. Janice Williamson

    In this article, Gen. Satterfield tells us that he started to see changes in the American value system. For good or bad, which he didn’t know at the time, he noticed that our values were changing. Now, that is something that most teenagers or young adults would never see. That says something about the young Doug Satterfield that we should notice. That is one of the reasons he was successful, he is truly one smart cookie,

      1. Army Captain

        Let’s not overlook the fact that Gen. Satterfield as a teenager was able to see the values changing and perhaps not to his liking. Joining the US Army was one of the ways to enmeshing himself into a subculture that maintained America’s original value system, the very one he was raised in. That was a place for many of our generation to exist within and not have to worry about the degradation of American society that we witnessed in the later 1960s.

        1. Kerry

          Indeed, well said to us and thanks Army Captain for someone who also was there.

          1. Jerome Smith

            Army Captain, you da best …. IMO
            “By the late 1960s, the hippie generation had replaced the hip hop generation of the 50s and thought of us religious folks as backward, inflexible, unaccepting, and slavish to our religious beliefs, with Neanderthal-like minds, especially if we grew up in the rural Deep South; like me. ” — Gen. Doug Satterfield nails the view of these hippies from the 1960s that are today’s Democrats. Tells us everything we need to know.

        2. Eddie Gilliam

          Well said army Captain. The good old days were the best days when kid’s were kid’s. Now days the cell phone and internet are creating serious problems with the youth. Kid’s does not have physical education in school; lessons from some books are not right.
          Bible says in Proverbs a book of wisdom. Train up a child in the word while they are young when they are older not depart

  3. Emma Archambeau

    Gen. Satterfield, thanks for another well informed and creative blog post. I just finished reading “55 Rules for a Good Life” and I found it wonderful to read and relaxing and very very informative. Len J. below just commented on this book and I had to say that I too love the book and recommend it. If you can, please write another book like it. This is one of the few books that I’ve gotten on Amazon that actually made me smile.

    1. Joe Omerrod

      I agree, Emma. The book made me smile too.

      1. JT Patterson

        Yes, indeed. And another reason that I read his articles daily.

  4. Len Jakosky

    Wow, Gen. Satterfield, this article could have been one of your “Letters to My Granddaughter.” Just me thinking out loud. It’s also a reason that I keep coming back to your pages. I recommend for all new readers to get a copy of your books, esp. your newest “55 Rules for a Good Life.” That book gives many rules on how to be better. But it requires you adopt a certain kind of attitude (or philosophy) of life. Keep these books coming too.. I look forward to your next article and book.

  5. Emoji Girl

    Another excellent article, well written., thanks Gen. Satterfield.

    1. Liz at Home

      Emoji Girl, I haven’t heard from you now in a long time. I hope you are well. Yes, indeed, this is “another excellent article” from Gen. Satterfield. That is why I come to this page and read every day. I’m also one of the long term readers and commentators as well. I find what Gen. Satterfield has to say as worthy of my time. BUt I also have to work to implement what I do learn. Welcome back!!!!

      1. Goalie for Cal State

        It is always good to know that there are those like you Liz that recognize good individuals and are willing to say so. Thanks. 👍

  6. Emily Baker

    Got that right, Gen. Satterfield. Times are changing and not necessarily for the good.


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