The most beautiful sound in my life, dearly recollected, fully remembered, was the sound of a folded newspaper kiting through the summer air and landing on my front porch.
Every late afternoon from the time I was nine until I was fourteen that sound, and the thump it made hitting the side of the house, or the screen-door, or a window, but never the porch-planks themselves, that sound had an immediate effect upon one person inside the house.
The door burst open wide. A boy, myself, leapt out, eyes blazing, mouth gasping for breath, hands seizing at the paper to grapple it wide so that the hungry soul of one of Waukegan, Illinois’ finest small intellects could feed upon:
It’s hard to imagine that today’s 9–14 year olds will recollect their childhood treasures as breathlessly. There’s your Great Stagnation.