Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm just an old fashioned girl

How do you like my washboard? I bought it from Lehman's, the Amish store here in Ohio because I'm on a fast track to get to the past. Yes...I'm going back to the good old days. I've been saving grease so I can try to make my own soap. I've installed a clothesline. And I've got my eye on a nifty gas stove that has NO computer components. Not even a digital clock.

You see, something's been happening to me over the past couple of years as I've watched what's happening to the world. I've decided I want to go back in time to a time when things were simpler and people were much, much happier.

I want to go back to the good old days when kids could safely play outside (until the street lights went on). I want to go back to when you'd buy fresh berries in little wooden cartons that the fruit distributor down the road would pay us kids to collect for him. And I want to go back to the days when you'd buy a bottle of pop for twelve cents and return the empty to the store to get two cents back.

We recycled in those days without even thinking about it. We took our pop bottles back to the store so they could be washed and refilled and sold again!

When we shopped, we didn't have plastic bags, and we didn't drive to the store. We had a little cart for bringing our groceries home from the A&P store that was two blocks away, and the groceries came in paper bags that were later used for trash.

Everything seemed simpler then. The world was a quieter place. The most fun a little kid could have in the summer was watching the big machine the road workers would use to melt the pavement on Dennis Avenue and then smooth it out again. (Even the streets were re-cycled!)

I want to go back to whem we didn't expect to have something new to wear every week and we wore what we had until it wore out!

Sometimes when people say, "I'd like to go back to the 60s," cynics respond, "Oh, you want to go back to segregation and when women earned less than men?"

No. Of course not. Nobody wants that. But wouldn't it be nice if kids could run freely again and we hung our sheets out in the sun to dry and we took our pop bottles back to the store?

Maybe I'm romanticizing the past. But when I was a kid in Toronto in the 60s, we were free to go anywhere and everywhere we wanted and life was good and everyone was optimistic about the future. We knew the names of every astronaut. We all watched the Ed Sullivan show. And government officials were people who earned our respect.

There was a big middle class, and it was growing bigger all the time. We weren't assaulted with messages that we ought to be living in a mansion, spending $60,000 on our teenage daughter's 16th birthday party, and having plastic surgery because we weren't attractive enough.

We were thrilled to go to Heart Lake to swim and listen to music with our transistor radios. We loved the fireworks at Smythe Park on the first weekend in July. We looked forward to the opening of the big fair -- the CNE -- in August.

There were special times we celebrated because everything wasn't always available. It was a big deal when the strawberries were ripe and we could enjoy strawberry shortcake for a couple of weeks each year. (You didn't eat strawberries in February! And strawberries actually had flavor.)

It was a lot of fun to go to a different town for a visit because it would be so different from where you lived. It wouldn't have the same restaurants, the same stores, the same everything as where you'd just come from.

The world was not as busy, not as noisy, not as crowded or complicated or demanding. The world was a magical place to be and we were excited by discoveries and inventions that we didn't realize would someday propel us to where we are now: living in a jaded consumer society where everything is disposable, including our values and integrity.

I wonder if we'll ever change? I wonder if we'll ever return to the days when kids were free to play, everyone who wanted a job could find one, and we had a whole lot less but life was so much better?

Boy, I sure do hope so. Because when it comes I'll be ready for it...with my washboard, my clothesline and my old-fashioned stove.


Jan Darling said...

I'm with YOU Deb! I could go on for hours, too. The things my kids think are important - it just drives me nuts. When they were little, I had to be with them all the time. I could never allow them to play outside without supervision when they were little. And money? I have a good friend who, when I took him out to celebrate his 40th birthday, was terribly depressed because he hadn't made his first million yet. Really!

On the other hand, I do live in an old farmhouse with no dishwasher or central air. Maybe a few antiques would help me feel as if I'm living in an older era?

It must be that Ohio isn't a state that recycles bottles huh? I still take all my bottles back to the store for a dime.

Great post.

Jan D.

CaroleP (ohio said...

I am with you too, Deb. It took me long enough to get used to aging - might as well, if I'm alive. But the other things are just unreal. I'm so concerned about my teen granddaughters. And watching the 11:00 news every night is enough to keep us all awake.
Taking a trip to Lehman's is a bright spot. Love their rooms and rooms of goodies! I don't think we'll go back to those times, but we can dream, and I also tell the girls what it was like (granny telling stories, oh my).

Deborah said...

Thanks, Jan and Carole, for your comments! I was in downtown Manhattan this morning and I couldn't believe the noise, the cars, the people all rushing everywhere. People were rudely cutting one another off and I wondered what it would do to a person if everyday of their life they had to contend with that noise and congestion. You'd either become numb to it (and other more subtle stimuli) or you'd be so wound up you'd be ready to spring apart! Now, three hours later, I'm staring out my window at the forest in my backyard...and I'm very thankful for the quiet. I wish everyone a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend!

Christoph said...

Maybe one day - when we understand that constantly increasing economy is not the solution, and that growth always must come frome some other place (when one thing grows an other has to shrink) - there is a faint chance.


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