Good stuff Clifford! This is especially a good read for those of us who know you and know of the great relationship you had/have with your father. Thanks for posting.
The answers to some of your questions are likely centered on the notion that it (the 70’s) was very much a different place and time. Grad school tuition was MUCH less expensive. Tuition has really sky rocketed in the last 30 years. They were also a different generation and culture. They were willing to live off of canned soup for months while content in the shelter of an 800 sf studio apartment. Much of our generation is spoiled in reaping the benefits from the sacrifices made by their generation and generations before. Yes, we are living the good life. As my father used to say, “We just did it. We didn’t think about it.” They made tough decisions with their hearts and had the guts to deal with the consequences. Today, we look at the potential consequences of a decision and say, “Oh hell no. Not going there. I like where I am just fine.”
Then again, my father went to his grave not fully understanding what it is that I do for a living after he made considerable sacrifices so that I could pursue a profession of some sort. So the lack of understanding is on both sides of the generation gap. All of their information was in letters, books, magazines and newspapers. They had to get in their car and drive to a library if they wanted to research something.
For us, it is just about being grateful for what we have and being in the moment knowing that there are questions that will just go unanswered.