Dana Clark Cutter on The Older “E” Generation’s View 12/31/11
Dana Clark Cutter, a retired high school teacher and current part-time substitute teacher in the elementary schools of Western Massachusetts, gave his discerning perspective on the accomplishments and ideals of the generation falling in the 70 year age range.
Mr. Cutter relayed to this reporter that he considers himself to be a member of the older American generation, a generation where everyone worked hard and cared about other people by setting up safety nets so children could function and be well. A generation that also contributed with dramatic breakthroughs in controlling childhood diseases such as polio, measles and chicken pox.
Mr. Cutter further described this generation as the “E” Eisenhower Generation, “We got things done ranging from road building, water works, and hospitals. “That’s us,” he added spiritedly.
If there was something that other generation's should know or understand about the “E” generation, Mr. Cutter states that it is important that they identify with how previous generations laid down the foundation for a better country for their children to function in.
Mr. Cutter also mentioned that his skills and work related talents continue to be of value to children from grammar school through college age and that his communication skills are in tune to the interactions and reactions of this diverse audience in motivating and preparing them for the future.
Challenges at work that may have something to do with his generation, are simply the art of human compassion and understanding. The importance of giving a young individual a sense of value is something Mr. Cutter learned at a very young age. He acknowledged individual value as one that you cannot over read in children in destructive families; you have to take them forward, and to do that you must create a passion for existence, while not placing an emphasis on their environment.
The most influential historic events and people that define generation “E”, as reflected upon by Mr. Cutter, he estimated, were contributions made by Elvis Presley, President Dwight Eisenhower, Senator Paul H. Douglas, President Richard Nixon, and the 1st Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver. Further, he elaborated that the most influential group of people and events were members of the Kennedy administration, Herbert Hoover’s Food for Peace Program, Barbara Streisand and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Cutter emphasized that these events and people compared with the present generations cultural historic icons had a much broader view of humanity and enhanced interactive human relations.
Mr. Cutter’s views were molded as he grew up in the Christian Socialist Community of Hopedale Massachusetts created by Aiden Ballou the site describes it as Mr. Cutter relayed “a model of a peaceful, caring community … an alternative to today's violence and greed.” Mr. Cutter described his youth in this town as one filled with hope for a ward of the state, a ward who would go on to become president of his high school class and become a business teacher who would influence generations of students based on the principals of a town that “believed in equality of the sexes, equal voice and votes for women and universal education for children as far back as the 1850’s.”
The site holds many memoirs: "One member of the old community, Harriet N. Greene, declared that the people of the village were indeed a rather peculiar people, peculiar in that they disavowed violence in any form and opened their doors to the fugitive slave; peculiar too in that there was no poverty, unemployment, drunkenness, or wasted lives in their midst." Edward Spann, stated in "Hopedale: from Commune to Company Town". “This was a town that took the stance of radical Abolitionists”, and celebrated emancipation annually in August. Hopedale was also the site of annual anti-slavery meetings that attracted as many as a thousand participants and featured prominent speakers such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Wendell Phillips, Abby Kelly Foster, Charles Burleigh, Henry "Box" Brown, William and Ellen Crafts and William Lloyd Garrison.”
In this town of rich history, Mr. Cutter was welcomed in as a ward of the State in or about 1942. He ruminated that the factories of the town placed more value on every worker than the product produced and in fact provided homes for its workers at moderate rates and created smaller homes for widows, “the seven sisters”. In addition, the Hopedale Foundation gave every student the opportunity to pursue an extended education after high school. Peculiar or not this town had a full day of kindergarten starting in the year 1942, a feat which was not made mandatory in New Hampshire until 2009 and only at a half of day. Moreover, Mr. Cutter described how the Draper Corporation provided a truck so that the high school seniors could collect newspapers on Saturdays to raise money for their annual Washington trip, and that there was no segregation in the Hopedale schools.
Mr. Cutter believes his generation is remembered for saving the environment, creating energy options and layering foundations for human advancement intertwined with its care in keeping jobs and health care rights for workers. The effects of Woodrow Wilson are recalled as perhaps one of the worst presidents, one who had his political opponent jailed for treason. This recollection is soothed only by the pardon provided by President Harry Truman.
As I recap my interview with Dana Clark Cutter in remembrance of his generation “E”, I must say it is a story I heard often growing up with my father, and one that has taught me that this generation valued the human position and believed in family as shown by his marriage to my mother for 48 years, his patriotism to America by serving in the armed forces and support of my brothers’ enlistments and his commitment to education and his community as revealed in recent recognition from the Chicopee Public School System, at Chicopee Comprehensive High School where a plaque at the school store recognizes his personal contributions to the students, school system and community.
In conclusion, Mr. Cutter, like many of his generation, worked tirelessly to personally create a storybook childhood for his children to fall back on when confronting the iniquitous ways of American life today, and taught many to stand up for those who could not stand up for themselves. Mr. Cutter’s commitment to those around him is further demonstrated by the fact that he welcomed 10 foster children into his home at various times as a commitment to the foster parents who brought him up, Victoria and Charles Hoglund, for whom he credits much of his success in life. Among all these lessons in life, I will remember how Mr. Cutter always took the time to help, contribute to the lives around him, and his steadfast belief that “everyone” is of equal value there are no wasted lives, as a measure to carry on in my generation and pass along to my son. It is a wonderful life that you continue to lead, Mr. Cutter.
Happy Father's Day Dad and many more.