We've (Grandma and I) had a busy couple of days with doctor visits. My grandma will be 90 this year. Sitting for hours in doctors offices can be stressful for her so we spent a lot of time "walking down Memory Lane" to distract her. She didn't tell me anything I haven't heard before, just lots of the same old stories, but I found myself listening to them with a different ear- maybe because I'm older, but most likely due to my sustainability ventures.
Instead of hearing, "you should be grateful that you have it better than we did back then" I heard "we lived how we lived because that was all we knew." She said it more than once, that line of, "that was all we knew."
The raising of livestock, gardening, canning, walking a mile to school... were all everyday things to her. I heard about the endless chicken dinners and how the one-room schools (named after the family who's land it was on) had a place to park your horse. She told me about her parents going to work war time jobs while she and her siblings took care of the home and farm. Her dad finished high school but "Mom didn't because most girls didn't do that back then." And that was "all we knew."
And "people ate different." Usually "we had to sell a hog or some chickens for the money to go to the store for what we didn't make ourselves." There weren't any convenience foods. Going to the store meant "hitching a horse to the wagon so we all could go." It wasn't a quick trip every day for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. It was a family affair that took some planning. But "that was all we knew."
It was fascinating to listen to her memories about her younger days. I've always admired the amount of work that must have went into just surviving those lean years of the depression and WW2. I struggle to not feel ashamed about how much we take for granted now, how much time we spend working for stuff that is so unnecessary. And now I can understand why my grandma says that the life we live now was harder to get used to than "all we knew."