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When the World Was Young

Written by Jeff Drake
1 · 26 · 21

When all the world is young, lad,

And all the trees are green;

And every goose a swan, lad,

And every lass a queen;

Then hey for boot and horse, lad,

And round the world away!

Young blood must have its course, lad,

And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,

And all the trees are brown;

And all the sport is stale, lad,

And all the wheels run down;

Creep home, and take your place there,

The spent and maimed among;

God grant you find one face there,

You loved when all was young.

by Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875)

Do you remember when the world was young? Think back. If you’re as old as me, way back. Past college and high school. Past that first kiss and first communion. Past your first bike, past your dolls and your baseball cards, and now where do you find yourself? I find myself in a sandbox. I can still remember the scent of the sand when it was soaked with rainwater and could be shaped into magnificent castles and roadways using your hands and a simple pail. I remember the smell of sheets and blankets that were dried with sunlight and the smell of grass all over my clothes after a game of hide and seek.

I am reaching that point in my life where it is becoming easier to divide my memories into different epochs, like a personal history book, with only one exception: infancy. Uh-uh. There are no memories there, sorry, so no place for it in my history book. Was I ever really a baby?

I remember childhood, of course, or at least some of it, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that qualifies in my case as ancient history, for sure. Jeezus, I was a child for such a short time.

Then there was grade school. That certainly was a series of related experiences worthy of its own section in my history book. I have many grade school memories.

My high school epoch followed in due course. It’s interesting that for some of us high school was a four-year sentence and then it was on to the next period in our lives, while others seemed to get stuck and still have difficulty moving past it, even now.

For me, the next epoch was brief, consisting of transformative military experiences, followed by a major family epoch consisting of college, marriage and my life with my wife raising our beautiful boy, Jason.

Then there was the post-family epoch involving relocation to Oregon. (I don’t mean to imply that parenthood stopped, as that never truly ends. I’m referring to being empty-nesters while our son found his own way in life, as we all need to do).

And then there is the epoch I’m currently in, something called retirement, for lack of a better term. Thinking about it, I can see there are specific threads tying these different epochs together, like connecting tissue. My career is one such thread. Each of my life-long friends could also be considered threads, capable of spanning the years, weaving into and out of my life, holding me together in many ways, a constant, wonderful presence.

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  1. kathleen Treb

    Wow! I love this blog post! You are such a good writer Jeff.

    • Michael B Connolly

      Ditto what Kathleen said! The thought of coming back home smelling of grass…Boy, that brought me back.

    • jeffdrake-wp-admin

      Thanks for the kind words, Kathleen, and for reading my stuff!

  2. Don Head

    Sometimes it appears to me that you and I are somehow ‘entangled’. Two days ago I received an email notification concerning this New Post, “When the World Was Young.” As it happened, I had just started a new writing project using a template included with Word–Table of Contents (TOC). I intended it to be a mash-up of my family genealogy, an autobiographical timeline, and significant world events timeline.

    The Charles Kingsley poem and your essay of past reflections captured my experience perfectly. Thanks, Jeff.


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Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.
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