Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Inquisitive Mind by Nannette Croce

I am grateful to my parents for raising me with an inquisitive mind.

My parents, especially my mother, always discussed current events around the dinner table. She inherited her strong political beliefs from my grandfather, who added some recent history to the mix during his Sunday visits. My mother and father read the newspaper every evening, watched The Huntley-Brinkley Report immediately after dinner, and, much to my dismay when I preferred to watch Wagon Train or one of my other favorites, always tuned into the documentaries that often preempted regular programming, back when broadcasting still reflected a social conscience. I couldn’t have been more than five or six when we watched Edward R. Murrow’s Harvest of Shame, exposing the plight of American migrant workers in the 1960s and the NBC White Paper showing white real estate agents giving black clients the run around. Not that I understood it all back then, but the names of people and places stayed with me: Joe McCarthy, Medgar Evers, The Bay of Pigs. When we studied them in high school and college, when I could search out books about them, I hungered to understand.

Now, in addition to books, I have the Internet, and I often follow the trail of some person, event, philosophical movement that sparks my curiosity. I’ve heard that life-long learning keeps your mind agile in old age. If so, I am doubly grateful.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Your dinner discussions were much different than the ones at our table...what a gift you were given! Of course, I'm sure I was given gifts around our table too, like, how to beat some one up even though I am a girl (I was the lone sister with four brothers- and all the kids ate dinner at the table, without our parents), how to catch crawfish in the backyard where the ditch ran along, how to Moccasin Polo (fat black snakes, bikes, and long sticks were involved...erk), how many crackers could be stuffed in a mouth at one time, and "stop looking at me!"


OnDaBayou said...

Shoot, I'd be grateful for any type of discussion around my dinner table tonight. With three older teenagers, the best I can hope for is to lure them all to a restaurant just to see them all at once!

Nannette Croce said...

It was a gift, and one I never thought about until now. Not to say it didn't sometimes deteriorate into the personal. My sister and I joked that my parents could reduce the entire Second World War down to "Your mother said this."--"Yeah, well your father said that." (We are Italian, after all.)

But, politically, they were mostly in sync.It's amazing how those values stay with you.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love Italian families! *laughing*

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