The Necessity Of Privacy

Open green fields, and the Silence within us . . .

       We know what Privacy means to us , but we’re also know that everything, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g about us, from birth to an hour ago, including our bank account, is there for wily ones to find, and the info sold to advertising companies. Without our knowing or permission.

And the dark strip on the back of our Charge Cards tells enough to give us a Stroke, and while those having access to that ‘strip’ are sworn to secrecy . . . well, ho, ho, ho, the right amount of money tells all.

As a child I learned one aspect of privacy. Our Mail Man told my Dad (and my little-big ears) that he had learned to tell where every envelope was going, just by looking at who the Sender was.

What really caught my ‘little-big ears’ was when he told which one of our neighbors got piles of mail from another Religion, and he grinned at my Dad as he said if he told the Mormon Bishop, that family would really be in trouble.  And from then on I viewed ‘that’ family with suspicion. Those kind of words shouldn’t be spoken around Innocent children. Well, ‘little-big ears’ don’t stay innocent for long.

As I got older my idea of privacy widened.  If someone helps with your housework, again your privacy is wide-open.  Yeah, even though you have strict rules against opening drawers or closed doors, the one who cleans your rooms, knows you.  Especially if they also do the laundry.

Anyone who works for you in ANY way, sees the magazines and books you read.  What stuff fills your frig, freezer or pantry, your kitchen and linen closets, medicine cabinets, and on down to the casual possessions in your den or garage.  Your home is where your life is lived, and your ‘stuff’ is in room after room, for your use, but anyone helping to see.

But there’s another side to privacy.  The crowded tenements and apartments of cities, forces people to the sidewalks and streets to get away from the crowded rooms, only to find the sidewalks and streets are also crowded. To release the tension they don’t even recognize, gangs are formed to strike out at anyone, or everything simply to release their angst.  And as that often sends them to jail or prison, their privacy is met in another manner.

I learned a lot as a Teacher down there, and saw that most inmates are absolutely terrified at the loneliness (privacy) of prison life, and nightmares and paranoid problems arise.   But there is a smaller group of prisoners,  from more affluent environments where personal space and privacy were taken for granted, and on entering prison are terrified with what to them is the utter lack of privacy.  They become easy victims of organized prison gangs.

We think of privacy in different ways.  To most of us it’s having a room, bed, private shower, or bath, and a quiet place to relax and read.  A state of life taken for granted but absolutely terrifying to one who has never in their life ever, ever, been alone, Just think, never in their entire life, been alone !

And another privacy once known and enjoyed by most people of our valley, but now gone, perhaps forever throughout the entire world,  are the ‘green fields we once knew’. There were acres of gardens, pastures, or undeveloped land, where we could stretch our eyes.  Large front and back yards, where kids climbed trees, played war, dug in dirt and water, found animals, as squirrels, snakes, bugs, each other, and innocently explored and learned about them all, too.

Remember? Before WW2, Kearns, and West Valley City didn’t   exist.  Taylorsville, Bennion and the Jordans, were groups of large green farms, centered with homes, barns and cattle.  Today’s countless streets, pocket-sized lawns, and wide Freeways were all open Green Fields, but now buried by concrete.  The heavy growth now sprawling  on all sides of the Point of the Mountain were lovely  open, green fields with trees and streams reaching to the hills and then to Utah Lake.  Bingham City and its huge Copper mine were isolated and circled by green fields.

Thousands of sorely needed homes and stores arrived, but with them, we lost privacy of open areas and the more bizarre crimes we see, I think, are the result of no open spaces where kids can run and play and get into all kinds of harmless mischief that kids love.  Where people relaxed without even aware they were relaxing. All because of those Green Fields that we once knew.

       Privacy, now found in so few places of the world, is not a luxury, but proven over and over to be a necessity for sanity.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

 

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