Predicting the Future by Anonymous

Prompted By Magazines

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

Over the years, I’ve read many types of magazines from gossip rags to National Geographic. I read Teen Magazines to follow what The Beatles were up to. Then cried at the tearjerkers in Reader’s Digest when visiting grandpa who had no tv.

Believe it or not, the most significant ones I ever read were My Weekly Reader in 6th grade.  I was 11 years old when I read two different stories from it that stuck with me. I’m now 67, so obviously they made a rather big impression on me.

The first article  was about the progress of robotics in manufacturing. I grew up in a Detroit suburb. Therefore, it wasn’t unusual for a kid like me to have 5 uncles and a dad who worked in factories that either made cars or parts for cars. Plus one uncle who worked for U.S. Steel. Robotics was touted as a dream come true for The Big Three. Yet, my young inquisitive mind focused on the bigger picture. That was, job security. If robots were to do the work of 20 men. Then what would the 20 men do?

The next conundrum I had with Weekly Reader was another article about the progress of industrialization. Many new factories were being built along rivers of cities big and small. In Gary, Indiana it was steel mills. In Atlanta and Cincinnati it was  paper pulp mills.  Again, just as the job retention issue bugged me about robotics, environmental pollution was my concern for our rivers. They say at one time the Detroit River was so full of sludge you could walk across it to Canada.
In a way, I guess I was simply before my time. My continued perplexity over these issues is, why did it take decades for the nation to recognize these were problems effecting our future? But mostly, why didn’t I do something?


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    We all ask ourselves that about environmental issues and changes to our workplace and economy that were obvious long ago. Change is difficult but inevitable.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I, also, am 67 and grew up in Detroit and its suburbs with close family links to the auto industry. I think it so interesting that you still remember those two Weekly Reader stories and thought about the long-term impacts they might have for you and your family. Of course, you were quite right. I don’t remember hearing that you could walk on the Detroit River due to pollution, but I think it caught on fire! (Or was that Lake Erie?) Either way, the side effects from industrial waste have been horrible and our current administration is rolling back all the protections put in place by previous administrations, so we are going to be cooked even sooner.

    You are also correct to point out that the Chinese didn’t “steal our jobs”, automation was a large contributing factor. Those jobs will not come back from overseas, as the nature of the work has changed, so we must change our educational system to reflect that. Your words are wise.

  3. Marian says:

    Well said, thanks for the reminder about these issues. I also am 67 but from New Jersey, and I remember when Lake Erie caught fire. The month before I moved to California the Passaic River flooded and left disgusting sludge everywhere in its path. I was in my high school environmental group and did glass recycling. Seems pretty inadequate from today’s perspective.

  4. Suzy says:

    Thanks for this story. People might think of My Weekly Reader as babyish, but in fact (as I was just reminded when I googled it), it was distributed to 1st through 6th graders in schools all over the country, and was used for discussions about current events. Obviously it had an effect on you in 6th grade, so it was doing what it was supposed to. Good question about why did it take so long to recognize the problem. Whether you could have done anything as an 11-year-old, I don’t know.

    • daiseaday says:

      Thank you Suzy. What bothers me today, is how CURRENT EVENTS are handled in schools. I ask my grandkids, ages 9 & 11. They don’t seem to know what I’m talking about. I was certainly the first person to talk to them about the Corona Virus. It had already become a problem in the US for a month. Also, asked them about people harassing Asian students for bringing it here. Granddaughter said, we’re not supposed to talk about that at school, but kids on the bus do it.

Leave a Reply