I loved this article. http://recycledpromos.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/we-didnt-have-the-green-thing-in-my-day/#comment-11 Too bad it is anonymous. The author writes of a time during which I grew up. She points out that life itself was “green” at that time.
When a thunder storm was coming (we knew because we heard the thunder in the distance, not because of weather alerts on TV) I was sent inside to help shut all the windows. The windows were all wide open because we did not have air conditioning. We cooled our homes with breezes from the outdoors.
My parent slept outside in the yard in canvas hammocks, on very hot summer nights. Washington DC was hot and humid. They used to close down the government sometimes due to heat just as they might for a blizzard these days. It was fun for us children though, we played outside till dark. We tooks drinks of water from hose to cool off. We waited for the Good Humor man to arrive in his truck with it’s distinctive bell. That is how we got a treat. A frozen ice cream bar tasted so good on a hot evening. We did not have a freezer.
Many of my friends only had one telephone in the house. It was usually in the front hall on a telephone table or else hanging on the wall. In rural areas many people shared phone lines and had a specific ring on the “party line”.
There were NO super stores. Markets had more real food (unprocessed) than packaged. There were many different types of flour and the variety would surprise most modern women. In fact I can remember being taken to the poultry store which was more like outdoor sheds and pens. This was at a corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Van Ness Street in Washington DC where office buildings have been built years ago. At that time we went to buy a chicken or two and picked the ones we wanted out of a cage. The owners would kill them and pluck them and we would come pick them up later.
Working people often wore the same clothes day after day. They had a Sunday outfit that they only wore on Sunday. Men who were still “old fashioned” wore the same shirt but changed the collars. We were lucky because our mother loved clothes and made sure we had many. Some mothers made their daughters clothes, and all of them knew how to sew. (even mine who never made a dress in her life)
We had no television and I do not remember listening to the radio during the day time. We played games when were free of school or chores. These games usually were played in our imaginations more than with real “props”. We used imagination all the time. We had amazing power to be whatever we imagined. We had a lot of real fun. Not so much thrills, just steady fun generally, but we could take chances that made us conquer our fears too. We climbed trees. Does anyone do this any more? We swam in ponds or “swimming holes” in a stream. We caught little animals, we picked flowers and we collected things like unusual looking rocks or shells. We made forts or “bowers” and decorated them with things brought from the house or with imaginary things made from branches or leaves or other things we picked up and transformed with our minds.
Childhood for many of us was truly “childhood”. We did not hear violent words spoken. We saw very few violent images and only as a photograph, not in moving living color as children do now. We did not have constant fear mongering going on in our living rooms or kitchens via Television. It would have been unimaginable then. The things that have become normal faire would have been banned by censors. Sex remained a mystery except for mating of animals which we saw on occassion.
We went to church and Sunday School. Our parents were not fundamentalists. They just went to church because it was the thing one did on Sunday. There friends were all there and so were ours. All the stores were closed. You could not get food at a market or items of any kind on Sunday. There were a few drug stores where you could buy medicine. That was all. There really was such a thing as a day of rest. People did relax on Sunday and though there might be some lawn mowing or fancy cooking it was a quiet day. For us it meant a big Sunday Dinner soon after we came back from church. It was always the same. Fried chicken that really tasted like chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, petitte pois (baby green peas out of a can) or green beans (fresh) and often pop-overs with lots of butter. Coffee ice cream for desert with the offer of chocolate syrup if we wanted to add that.
My goodness, that sounds delicious. Memories of that time are fun because each one brings another along with it. I could write a book about this….but I won’t because I am actually a forward looking person. I love technology and all the advances we have made in so many ways. It is just sort of fun…and maybe really important to look back and see where we have come from and be aware of whom we have become.