The Way It Was–The Way It Is

From the lodge at Oxmoor…..

I hear so often “those were the good old days.” Were they really? It is a regular refrain about life in general. Maybe we need to revisit those good old days…

Let us stop in the kitchen first. My grandma had a huge iron stove with double warming ovens. In winter, fall, spring or summer she had to chop wood each evening in order to be ready to cook breakfast. In the wintertime she also had to start fires in the grates to heat the house. Then she had to get a roaring fire going in order to bake those biscuits, and brew that coffee. This had to happen three times a day, 365 days a year. Oh yes, if it was a dark morning she had to climb a ladder to light the gas lights or fill the coal oil lamps, trim the wicks and light the lamps.

The last time I cooked breakfast, a few years ago, I got out of a warm bed in a warm house heated by my turning a heat dial, walked to a nice warm kitchen, turned another knob on the stove and cooked breakfast. While breakfast was cooking I threw a load of clothes in my washer, tossed in a soap capsule, pressed wash and later, put everything into the dryer and the wash was done.

It is Monday and that is Wash Day. Grandma has to fill copper kettles with water she has pumped from the cistern in the back yard and heated on the big iron stove. Then she pours the hot water into two galvanized tubs. One tub is for washing on the washboard and the second tub is used to rinse the clothes before wringing them out by hand. Then, to the back yard to hang them to dry. She has put the clothesline up from the hook on the back of the house to the coal shed in the middle of the yard. Then she has to get the wood clothes props out of the shed to prop up the clothes line and finally, she hangs up the wet clothes.

Back in this century, it is time to iron the clothes.  I plug my iron in a receptacle and my iron with a light in it heats up in few minutes.

Gramma puts her flat irons on the kitchen stove to get hot to iron her clothes. It takes several trips because the irons don’t stay hot very long. The ironing board is propped up with one end on the table and one end on the kitchen cabinet. Deluxe models had cross bar stands that folded underneath and held the ironing board up.

Whew! Sure sounds like the good old days to me!

A room by room comparison can be made through the entire house.

Those who keep statistical information have said that more inventions, more medicines, more surgical advances and more electronic gadgets to improve our life have come along in the past 50 -75 years than at any other time in history. We should all thank our visionaries, our dreamers and especially our beloved teachers, for it is truly through education that all things are possible.

We all have the opportunity to delve into new experiences. Why do some become hesitant as they grow older?  They let new electronics especially scare them away from trying. In the 80s, my job made me learn how to master the computer, at least enough to do my work effectively and I am still awed by what makes all the new electronics work. Just within the past year I was coerced, than pressed into the future when Tara, my youngest daughter was in town for a visit and she bought me a gift. It was an Apple iPad. I had never seen one, or wanted one – I sure didn’t even know how to turn it on, much less use it. Well, I got a quick tutorial from Tara (as if that would work the magic).  Within a matter of weeks, after much back and forth instruction from Tara, now back home in New York, we began to work the kinks out.  A little head-busting accident in February slowed the process but on I marched.

I had actually started writing this blog a little earlier (which was even recognized by the online Readers Digest) and the iPad made this even easier and it became a very active part of my daily life. Since then I have been writing my life history and I am in love with writing! This and other devices such as the iPhone and recording instruments make it possible to communicate with people who live thousands of mile away by voice, by words and most amazing, by sight. On my iPad I can dial up Tara on an app called Skype and we can see each other while we are talking to each other!

My iPad has opened another new world for me. At 88 I am writing, I am communicating with people all over the country and, after writing about the Olympic Opening ceremonies, even had a response from a lady who had lived in England. The local paper, the Courier Journal, did a story about some of us senior citizens who are embracing and using social media. I encourage you all to get with the new world of electronics, you will love it.

I wish good health, long life, and a positive attitude to each of you – and remember to meet life head on, dare it to challenge you, and give it your best. Nothing is stopping you but you.

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One thought on “The Way It Was–The Way It Is

  1. Really liked this and I , too, remember carrying water from a branch of water to be heated over a fire out of doors until ready for washing clothes, quilts and all. Thanks for reminding me the good old days are “here.” Pat

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