American generosity

American generosity

I do not think the Americans have a class system the same as that which still persists in Britain. There are vestiges of it I suppose with some old aristocracy. But it seemed to me that it all hinged on money.
In Britain if you were working class and was given a billion quid you were rich working class. In America you became aristocracy.
Money talked.
Americans worked themselves into the ground. Most of the teaching staff had a more lucrative second job. They taught in school and then went off after school to do a second job, usually real estate, into the evening. In the summer they took on a third job and worked through the holiday – usually at Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm.
They left the house to get into school for 7.30 am and did not return home until 8.00 pm.
When did they live?
I remember walking through New York with my good lady, all long hair, colourful tunics and smiles, and this guy stopped us. He was middle-aged and dressed in a suit and tie.
‘You know,’ he said. ‘You kids have got it right. I’ve got a beautiful house, beautiful wife and kids, great car and I never see them. When I’m home at the weekend I’m too tired. I’m getting old and I haven’t got a life.’
But the reverse of all this was the incredible generosity.
In 1979 we were planning on using all the holidays to travel and see the States. We had a great VW van that our exchange teachers had left us. All we lacked was a tent.
I mentioned this to one of my classes in the hope that they might be able to suggest a camping store somewhere.
The next morning I arrived at school to find a number of parents waiting for me with offers of borrowing huge trailer van, tents, trailer tents. I could have had my pick for the year! It was a level of generosity that I was unaccustomed to. They meant it.
When I left at the end of the year all these students of mine descended on me and took me off to the local ice-cream parlour for a ‘zoo’. They all laughed.
The whole ice-cream place was taken over by us. Four guys came out with this huge bowl of ice-cream hung from poles that they carried on their shoulders like a sedan chair. There was a ton of ice-cream – every imaginable flavour and sauce, smothered in cream, with sparklers and fireworks. There was a huge fanfare. We were given great long spoons. This was a spoon. We all tucked in.
Those kids were great. Some of them came from the rough parts and ran with the gangs but they were generous, outgoing and so friendly.
There was a different psychology at work.

7 thoughts on “American generosity

  1. I think folks are generous here, too. Our church partners with the neighborhood elementary school, and just before school stated this month e all collected 146 book bags for the school to pass out to those who didn’t have one. We also have Christmas In July for the school and collect boatloads of pencils, crayons, etc. The poor teachers get paid so little they need all the help they can gt. And during our adult service week many of us volunteer to help with testing, etc. t’s so great to get involved.

    1. Yes it is good to be involved. I was greatly impressed with American generosity. It seemed to be impressed into the culture.
      Good to hear from you Cheryl. I hope you are well and on top of your troubles? Haven’t seen much from you in a while.

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