Thursday, May 1, 2008

Golden Ages

Debbie's blog had me thinking about the past. Many of us think back on the past as a golden age. I know my mother did, as did my Nana and Dad and Grandpa. I do it too. Lots of people must, judging by the popularity of clogs and shawl sagas.

Was my past a golden age? I don't really think so. One of my grandson's had a project for school in which he had to ask Nana what was invented in her life time. Well, the list was endless, all sorts of good things. Jet travel was in there, without which I would not get to see him every year!

When I travelled to the States to live amongst you, I came by boat. Now that was a way to travel. No, I wasn't in first class but ordinary class was great. The food was tremendous and there were lots of entertainments. Now you can be in the States in seven hours and not in the seven days it took me originally. Yet there is no glamour in jet travel. Not like on the big liners. So that is something has has its pluses and minuses.

When I was growing up we lived in a house with no hot water. If you wanted hot you had to boil a kettle or bucket on the gas stove. Nana had a cooking range and always had a kettle boiling away just above the glowing coals. We had no indoor plumbing and the comfort station was in the backyard. A bit spooky going out there at night, I can tell you. And don't think of a yard as you Americans know it, I am talking of a courtyard with just stone flags and a hut by the back gate. I tell you when I got to America I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Hot showers, hot baths, running water, fridges, washing machines and all that food in the Diache supermarket. I won't even get into colour t.v. and cars.

No it was not a golden age, certainly there were compensations - little crime, a feeling of being safe, but it could be a narrow, hard society for anyone that didn't conform. If you were born in a certain class it was hard to climb out of it too. This is the golden age, for all its faults. Let us be thankful for what we have. As a great writer once said, "the past is another country."

Chin chin,



Kathleen said...

What a thoughtful post, Margaret. We certainly are blessed. I'm especially grateful for cell phones. They have gotten me help in several emergencies.

Sarita Leone said...

Oh Margaret you always give such insightful posts. I love peeking into your world, so far away yet so close, too.

Have to admit, the comfort station idea makes me pretty darn uncomfortable when I consider the nighttime visit. Just plain scary! Or maybe I'm a fraidy cat? :)

Have a great day!

Debbie Wallace said...

OMG, yes! I recall grandma always had an old cast iron kettle on her stove top. And our outhouse was located in the connecting shed between the house and barn. However, it was too spooky to go out there at night time so we used a chamber pot next to the bed.

You're so right about traveling, too. I much prefer cruising than flying.