We have all heard people say, “In the good old days, things were different. We didn’t have all these fancy gadgets like they have today.”
Sometimes I think back to the ‘good old days’ when I grew up.
Men worked hard, often under harsh and unsafe conditions. After work, there was the home to maintain, mowing the lawn with a hand mower, raking up the grass clippings with a metal rack. All this took most of the weekend days.
Women had special days to do their house chores, Monday was washing and ironing day. Boiling the whites in the copper and washing the clothes in the tubs with a washing board. Using the hand wringer, or mangle to remove excess water. Clothes were hung on an outside line to dry when the weather was fine.
Then there was the house work; down on their hands and knees washing and polishing the floors. Every woman had a good straw broom for sweeping verandas.
There were the children to care for meals, meals to prepare each evening, clothes to mend. All this usually took six days a week.
Sundays mornings were set aside for church. Sunday afternoon was the time to visit family members or have them visit you.
There was a midday roast dinner then doing the dishes. Men read the newspaper. Women fancy worked or knitted. In the evening everyone listened to the news or a favourite serial on the radio.
The telephone was usually at the post office or outside the local shop. It was mainly used to ring the doctor or for other emergencies
If something important happened people went to the post office and sent a telegram. This was usually to congratulate newlyweds or to inform someone of a tragedy.
They wrote letters to family and friends that lived a long way away, family news were usually a couple of weeks old but eagerly received when it came.
Children played outside, they got dirty, climbed trees, made mud pies, built cubby houses, played Cowboys and Indians and hopscotch. They survived and were happy with their lot in life.
Now, I ask you how all these ‘newfangled gadgets’ make life any better today?
Today, men work in safety regulated conditions; they have fully automatic mowers with a grass catcher making their work less time-consuming.
Women can do the washing using their automatic washing machine and put the clothes in the dryer, independent of the weather.
Vacuum cleaners can be used while the clothes are washing. The women are able to multitask and have more free time on their hands.
Evening meals are easily prepared on an electric or gas stove. The dishes put into the dishwasher. The rest of the evening is spent with the children, watching world news on television, documentaries or just enjoying their favourite show.
On weekends we drive in air-conditioned cars to visit family and friends. We can take our children on trips to the mountains or the beach, or even overseas. Enjoying the time together as a family.
Every home has a home telephone in case of emergencies or just to keep in touch with friends and family. Most people today have a mobile phone which keeps them in touch, takes photos, and does so much more.
Computers connect us to the outside world, they give us information help with school work, and we can play games on them. They connect us face-to-face with loved across the world.
People talk to each other more often; doctors are easily reached in cases of accidents or ill health.
Today we live a full life pursuing the things that can even further enhance the lives of family and friends.
I believe that we need to advance in life keeping an open mind. Being willing to accept changes in our way of living, and maintaining our standards for living a moral and respectful life.
I met my husband through a pen friend column and we were happily married fifty-four years until his passing. My son met his wife on the internet and they are happily married.
As we advance through time, we learn from the past how to improve the future.
All the ‘newfangled gadgets’ are now part of our way of life. My great grandparents thought of the egg beater, the gramophone, and the bicycle as ‘newfangled gadgets’ in their day.
The good old days will always remain in our memories. The new ways will always become part of how we live. I believe that the key to a happy life is to keep an open mind and be willing to learn something new.
The ‘good old days’ and the ‘new ways’.
I sometimes think it simply a matter of how we look at life.