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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Not All Changes Are Bad

hogarth-gin-lane

It's amazing how much the world has changed over the last two hundred years (no, I haven't been around that long personally)...mostly it's for the better. How often have you heard the older generations talk about how much society has gone wrong and how things have changed...they have but not always in negative ways as they imply.

Imagine having no doctors, or no doctor who knew something about medicine. What would it be like to have no anaesthetics? I know one think for sure, I for one would have died if I had lived then. So many of us would have because of illness or the need for an emergency operation, diseases like diabetes or the often fatal child birth. Mothers and babies who survived the ordeal often had to face the fact that one in five children died before their fifth birthday and the mother still had to avoid Child Bed Fever. It makes me shudder just to think of it. Give me good anti and post natal care and hygienic conditions.

Mind you, we would all be much fitter having to walk most places or at best riding on horse back.....think how many of our muscles would be bulging!! Wash day would be literally that, an all day affair once a week, boiling the water and scrubbing the clothes. Oh yes and then wringing them all through the old mangle to get out the water. This delight would be followed by ironing day...warming the flat irons on the stove and changing them as they cooled. I think I'll just stick with the front loader and the steam iron!!

Working hours were longer, holidays none existent and travel was severely restricted for many...well, unless you got transported. No fast food or supermarkets, no fridges or vacuum cleaners...boy it must have taken for ever to clean and care for a house...and people say that women never used to work!!!! They did, but after they were married it was not for money, but to keep the family organised and fed. We think we have a hard job but it must have been a real slog then.

Having said all that, the past did have positive things too that are often difficult to find in our modern society. The sense of community was strong in general, families normally lived closer to each other before our high speed travel age. The average person belonged to a community and enjoyed the benefits of belonging and a sense of self. That to me would be something that would make a big difference to modern life but it doesn't really go hand in hand with our anonymous cities. People can go for years now and never get to know their neighbours beyond a quick hello in the street or on the stairs.

I would love to spend a day in the past but I would hate to stay there. It would be wonderful to see how people lived and how they coped with life's challenges..and there were many!! But I enjoy my life just where I am, the past sounds way to dangerous for a wimp like me...and cold...imagine, no heating!!! Worse still, when Winter came I would have to stay in the same clothes for most of the time until it got warm again..no showers, hair washing etc until Spring when I got a soak in the river or a tub. Just face and hands washed in a bowl...I would stink by March, well okay... before then. And can you imagine not brushing your teeth at all...yuck!! What a fortune deoderant salesmen would make if they could go back in time and offer their products!!

I deal in the past but when my sense of romance gets the better of me I think of how it really was and give thanks I was born when I was. Life today and society has problems..huge ones in fact but we at least have some say in trying to solve them by voting and voicing our opinions without fear.  We have a good chance of surviving to an old age and our children being healthy. All that is enough for me to feel grateful to be here now...not then.

So count your blessings and remember the past as it was not through rose coloured glasses!!

Well, enough of the rambling...I'm off. See you tomorrow with an other goody!!

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6 comments:

LilysGramma said...

Great post! Really gets you thinking. I would certainly not want to live in the old west though. Even In the 1960's, my grandmother would get up at 4 am to make breakfast for the men and then she worked the fields in the mid day, sometimes I would help pick potatos and carrots or whatever was growing that time of year, then she would go inside and start supper for the men folk when they got in from their long day. That, on top of laundry, house work etc, that was enough for me! She had a hard life.

Leaonna said...

Im really glad too....I would have been dead at a very early age*ROFLOL*
my Granny had bent knuckles from getting caught up in the wringer machine....and to think I hate doing the laundry now...LOL

Keryn said...

Mmm - wouldn't have minded having a horse and sulky but I do prefer today too. And yes - I try to count my blessings every day.

Hugs, Keryn

Ajila said...

Cen, that was a great read. I've often thought about what my grandmother went through. It wasn't all that long ago when cooking and cleaning were something none of us could even imagine. She had all of her eight children at home too. You write so well and I love reading your posts. Thank you so much and leaving you some love.

Carl said...

I got the same feeling when I visited Paris back in 2003. Looking at the historical buildings, paintings and sculpture in Louvre, really got me thinking what it was like back then. If you found out a way to go back time, share with me. I want to go with you too.

goodtexan said...

Yeah, right. I personally could never understand all the rap about them good ole times.... Women had an even rawer deal back then. The good ole times aren't that far away, a couple of thousand kilometers and we are on some islands where there is 100% anarchy. Good ole times, yeah right.