By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ah, The Good Ol' Days!

I am feeling better--less stressed and less depressed. My optimism is rising to the surface again. And I realized I hadn't written anything for my blog in awhile!

I have taken a brief vacation from more intellectual studies to do some spiritually-oriented reading. I have been reading the Teachings of Presidents of the Church manuals. I started by reading the Heber J Grant manual, since I read it piecemeal last year while we were having lessons from it. When I finished it, I started Joseph F Smith. I enjoy the biographical bits from their lives and I like the old-fashioned way they phrased things. I can almost imagine the meetings in which they were speaking. I know they had their share of problems, as evidenced by the things they talked about, but there is something peaceful about contemplating simpler times--times without television and computers and information overload. Oh, I wouldn't really want to go back--I enjoy having my computer and all the information it brings me. And certainly, when a disaster like the tsunami strikes, think how much faster help got to all those people because we learned about it so quickly and have the modern, speedy transportation to deliver food, water, medical supplies, and manpower.

Still, as I read things from earlier times and contemplate how many fewer distractions they had and what appears to be a greater feeling of community, I think that would have been nice to have.

My grandparents on my Mom's side came to Northwestern Oklahoma in a covered wagon. They lived in a dugout home for awhile. (And, no, I'm not that old! My grandma was 42 when she had my Mom, and Mom was 33 when she had me, so we cover a lot of years in just 3 generations!) When Grandma and Grandpa had saved up for a house, I hear through the family grapevine, they ordered one from Sears. Sears sent them all the materials and a man to build it! He lived in the basement while he built the house (I am sure my family worked on it, too, because there would be things that required more than one pair of hands to do.), then when it was finished, he went back to Sears and they sent him out to build another house somewhere else. Interesting, no? This would have been in the early 1900's.

My family on both sides farmed and lived in small towns. My great-great grandparents came from various countries in Europe. It is a fascinating subject to learn of family history, but it is also fascinating to me to learn about how people lived their daily lives in various times and places. And, yes, even though they had much harder physical work, it was a simpler time in many ways, and that appeals to me. I suspect I idealize it. I am sure they must have had problems that worried them just as much as the problems we have today worry us. My grandparents may not have had TV and the internet, but they had radio and newspapers and were not isolated. They had politics to worry about, and wars, and the Great Depression. There were local issues and problems. Still, there is something appealing about the good ol' days!

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4 Comments:

Blogger lizzy said...

I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I truly wished I lived back then. Things seemed simpler. So many choices were already made for you. If you lived on a farm, more than likely you would work on the farm (and marry a farmer). No need to worry about career or marriage.

It is very appealing. But, like you said, there are many wonderful things about living now.

I guess, in the end, we're born when we're supposed to be (and that's comforting).

10:01 AM  
Blogger Titus Todd said...

As you know, I also have some Oklahoma roots. I find it quite fascinating that Sears would send a man out to build the house (I had heard previously you could buy houses from Sears "in the good ole days")!

As we drive on our various family trips I see various older buildings no longer in use. I can help but wish to go back in time and see all the stories that went with those buildings.

I love family history because its such a wonderful way to learn history and about your family at the same time. I try to make it to the places my ancestors resided so I can perhaps see some of the same things they saw and picture them there.

Yes, sometimes the good ole days sound appealing. But, as I type this, there are somethings I would definitely miss - such as computers and the internet.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Titus Todd said...

Ugh, so many errors in that post. Please forgive me (it may bug me more than it does you)!

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

I often romanticize about simpler times. I lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for a couple of months on my mission. How it does calm the soul to see those black carriages drawn by horses with the orange triangle fixed on the back moving at a slow pace against the backdrop of the snowy streets during the Season I was there. We also had the opportunity to go to a quilt show where the Amish ladies took copius notes to see what the quilts were going for. Once we were able to go into a home as some members there were close to a couple. She had a quilt that she would work on a portion and then send on in the back. In the shed, the gentlemen had a massive loom that he could expertly manuever. He also kept the art of caning chairs alive and well doing that detailed work on chairs. You know when you meet them. They are really very much like you are I. They have opportunites to travel. What struck me is that they seemed to be very inquistive about my missionary companion and I as far as our work goes. Upon contemplation, I think I have known much of the sense of community that existed in days gone by in my lifetime. Up until age 12, I had a very Norman Rockwell childhood. When I was four, we moved next-door to Goldie and Glen. Being the cute children that we were, they took to us and we were also welcome when they were on the porch to visit. We could have a folding chair and sit and watch and visit. I loved to watch Goldie skillfully crochet. She was so gifted that she did the Last Supper for her son and later grandson. We were given the chance to also play and frolic in their thick, green lawn. I perfected a few gymnastic routines there. Another sense of community I had was being with family. When I was young, my grandparents lived on a farm and just all being there was a good feeling that you do not realize so much when you are young. Just being secure and with loved ones being free to wander. One time we were crossing a creek, I think somebody fell in and we all decided to join them. Such a carefree afternoon we spent! I have a cousin who has had such a troubled life and has so many mental problems. I posed her an open-ended questin once asking her what her favorite experience was with no expectation of a specific time frame or event. She recalled that very afternoon on that warm day when we played in the creek as children. Later, grandparents moved to town, and their house was positioned in the most prime spot being close to the park, Catholic Church--my faith at the time, and the swimming pool. In the other direction, they were very near the Town Square. If you have ever seen Cold Turkery with Dick Van Dyke, it was actually filmed right there in that town and I have distant relation as extras. It was always fun to go there. I had one of those Grandmas who delighted in hospitality. She always made her banana cream pie with piled high meringue and during holidays many other goodies too. She was loving and cheerful. Grandpa was demonstrative too. My mother said when grandma was in the hospital and rallying a little towards the end of her life, she mentioned some of the candy people could have at the house and also suggested which buns not to buy. Her thoughts were of others as she was in so much pain from her lung condition caused by inhaling grains due to helping on the farm. After she past away, I realized what a sense of community existed right in that town. I was walking with my second cousin who was around four. We encountered a little boy around my cousins age who was so genuinely open and friendly. He let my cousin ride his bike. When his parents asked my name and I offered it. They said that they had heard my Grandma passed away on the radio. I live in a bigger city so such news is not reported unless it is of a prominent person or a major tragedy. A lot of people from the community who I do not think my grandparents knew too well personally brought by the side-dishes that people do with such kindness. I am used to only people from Church or close friends and family doing such gestures. Time with my other Grandparents who lived nearby was also treasured. This Grandma suffered for years while my other Grandma did not get sick until towards the end of her life. Despite her painful Rheumetoid Arthritis, she always built up her grandchildren and gave love from her wholesome heart. A cousin of mine recently put on dvd silent family movies of us children playing. They had a wonderful backyard and we seemed to run and jump freely. The big event was riding or pulling the wagon or the other lawn contraption of grandpa's with wheels. Yes, children seem to make a community wherever they go with their sense of exploration and the ease of which they shower love on others. I remember seeing my mom and my neighbor Goldie often standing on their respective sides of the fence engaged in friendly conversation. Our new neighborhood such engagement is rare and far between. We were older when we moved here. Mom does say that children make you close to neighbors. People can take the effort though. Just a block from me, there is a stretch where people have a block party from time to time. On holidays such as the fourth of July, they all put flags out some of which have fancy poles in yard that are tall. There is a flag that is hung over the middle of the street. Norman Rockwell's era has nothing on them!!!

8:10 AM  

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