My childhood was in a suburb (Upper St. Clair) in the 1950’s. TV was new. Not every family had a TV but almost every kid in the neighborhood had a dog. When we played baseball– just kids, no coaches or organizers of teams– our dogs were spectators waiting for us to finish the game and be our companions walking to our homes. Some kids were less popular than others, but a dog that stayed off the field while the game was on raised the owner’s social standing.
I acknowledge– this was a completely white neighborhood. I had no awareness of any other Pittsburgh area location, except Kennywood,, which I thought was a magic place that only special bus drivers could find. Now I’ve lived in Wilkinsburg longer than the median age of a female resident (43 years). I know my childhood was insulated and relatively privileged. I don’t consider that my life was absolutely privileged because my parents were stressed about making ends meet, and my mother took a job outside the home (nurse at the new Upper St. Clair Hospital) years before other mothers did.
It was idyllic to play in a neighborhood with no one afraid of companion dogs and no one– I mean absolutely NO ONE– worried about where a dog would pee. This was real life, and Lassie on TV was more talented than our dogs, but still believable. Could there be a path to recreate that one good aspect of the 1950’s without bringing along any other aspects that produce inequality?