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DEPRESSION: THOSE REALLY WERE THE DAYS

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Dear Ann Landers: In a recent column, you said you doubted that anyone would want to go back to Depression days. Well, you're wrong. I would.

Money was scarce, and times were hard, but when things got tough, we did without and cut back on our lifestyle. We didn't look to the government to make up the difference.

People with food stamps weren't buying junk food or trading them for cash to buy cigarettes and beer. Churches administered help to those in need, and the homeless were taken care of by relatives.School children learned because it was expected of them. They didn't have their education sugar-coated or made ``fun.' Teachers were respected, not insulted. The courses were geared to life. I mean reading and writing and arithmetic, not entertainment. You didn't worry that kids in your child's school might turn up with a handgun or a knife or cocaine.

If you couldn't afford medical treatment, there were county hospitals. Many fine doctors learned a lot in those places.

Men took off their hats when the flag passed by, and children were taught to stand at attention. Everybody knew all the words to the national anthem and ``America the Beautiful.' Today, one out of three people in any public gathering would have to fake it.

If we did something we shouldn't have, our folks heard about it from the neighbors, not the police. We got our backsides tanned and didn't do it again.

The Sabbath was for church and other religious observances, not for football on TV or ``getting away from it all.'

Holidays were observed on the day the event occurred and not moved around to give people a three-day weekend.

I will concede that we have made considerable progress on the medical front. We now have antibiotics, organ transplants and better medicine for high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

But the big difference is that most people aren't as honest or as noble or as hard-working as they used to be, and that bothers me. I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better. - A Relic in Washington

Dear Relic: Integrity is an intensely personal attribute, but don't despair. There are still plenty of people around who have it. The problem is that we have become much more materialistic and acquisitive. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ``Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind.'\

Dear Ann Landers: My boyfriend and I met three months ago, dated, became friends and fell in love. We really are crazy about each other.

There is one problem - I'm a sophomore pre-med student with at least six years of school ahead of me. My boyfriend is a senior. He will graduate this spring and is ready to start his life away from this town and away from me.

People are told to hang on to true love and cherish it. Ann, I know I'm only 20, but I want to hang on to this one for the rest of my life. I don't want him to leave town without me. What can I do? - Head Over Heels in Kansas

Dear Kansas: Cool it. If this is the real thing, it will survive the separation. True love is like quicksilver. If you hold it in the palm of your hand, it will remain. If you try to grasp it, it will slip through your fingers.

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Write to Ann Landers in care of the News & Record, P.O. Box 20848, Greensboro, N.C. 27420.

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