Thursday, April 2, 2009

A frame of reference

Something got me to thinking about our sphere of knowledge. That period of time that we grew up in. Today it seems kids need a ride to the store two blocks away. They wouldn't even consider walking if their destination was 1/2 mile. Not to sound like a grumpy old fart but in my younger days we walked everywhere. Then I consider the time frame of my grandmother. She was born before electricity and cars. They didn't pop down to the local anything because they lived at the edge of town and going anywhere at that time was an all day affair. You couldn't just pop in for a quick shower throw on some clothes jump in the car and head out back then. First you had to go out and pump the water. Bring in enough to fill a copper tub. Then there was the gathering of wood to put in the stove to heat the water and add boiling water to the cold water in the tub. G'ma never told me exactly how that worked. Once you finished using the lye soap (that's all they had then) it was time to dress. Wonderful wool ichy everything and probably stiff wool ichy chothes (there were no dryers it was all line dryed). So after the coursets and slips and other protective gear which I'm sure took a while someone had to go out and hitch up the horses to the wagon. And since there weren't any phones it was a common practice to go visiting. One custom of the time was to leave a photo card either of you or your family called a carde d vie (visiting card). I have many of these cards that grandma gave me. I have no idea who the people are since like she they're long gone but there are some dates and where they were made on the back. That was my grandma frame of reference.
Mine frame is a bit different. Born a some of years after WWII and growing up in the 50s. Remembering mom and dad always telling us of the great depression although they never used the term great. Someone under twenty has no concept of what that must be like although there is a growing population going through it right now. But back to being a kid in the fifties. For me it was the real beginning of the industrial revolution. There was at first no TVs only relegated to the rich. I seem to recall at a very young age one kids family on the block got a TV and all the kids in the neighborhood went after school to lay on the livingroom floor and watch whatever kids watched then. I was a bit young then. Some of the other things I remember - no air conditioning except at one of the corner drug stores as everybody had screens and fans to keep cool. There must have been a period of transition in heating because we had a coal storage room in the basment with a hatch at the foundation for deliveries. This was changed sometime before we moved in to gas but they left the old boiler disconnected from the water lines which we used to burn trash. Insects were killed with either a flyswatter or Black Flag with DDT in one of those weird pump sprayers.

Cars were made of real steel so heavy you could climb on the hood or hit it with a football and do no damage. We kids used to play ball in the middle of the street with only a few interuptions from traffic. There weren't as many cars back then because a bus ride was a dime one way and cars were expensive relative to income. Most people shopped at a local market a block or two away.
Computers at that time were a thing of the military or very large corporations. It wasn't until the late 50s early 60s that binary code was even mentioned in school.

You took a bath with Lifebouy soap and Breck shampoo. You put on you dungarees and PF flyers. Entertainment was going to a roller rink or a movie. There was only three network TV stations then one PBS. There was a breadman a milkman and an eggman and they all delivered once a week. The mailman delivered twice once in the morning and once in the afternoon. There were no plastic garbage bags. You put your garbage in a paper bag and into the metal garbage can which always grew flys. Sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper and milk came either in waxed containers that usually leaked or glass bottles. The lawn was mowed with a push mower with no motor. There were no leaf blowers and few power tools.
So that's my frame of reference. I can only imagine what it will be like in 50 years but then I won't be here to see it.


Tom Harper said...

Nice trip down memory lane. It's hard to imagine what today's twenty-somethings will be reminiscing about 50 years from now. "We had to WALK to our computers if we wanted to go online."

BBC said...

I remember all that. Just this afternoon I went to Rick's shop for a bit, his brothers kids and wife was calling him every few minutes wanting him to do this or that for them.

Take them somewhere, or get something for them, even his wife did. WTF? The kids are on spring break and the wife took a week off of work also.

I would tell them all to fuck off and learn how to get around and do things for themselves. She has a fucking new car, let her cater after the spoiled kids.

Something got me to thinking about our sphere of knowledge. That period of time that we grew up in.

We are smarter than we were 500 hundred years ago but not as smart as we will in another 500 years.

How do you know you won't be here? At least in spirit, otherwise there is no point in worrying about any of it.

Just go have a good time and fuck the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

...and when you got new sneakers, you could 'run faster & jump higher'...

Bustednuckles said...

Think about it for a minute.

By the time our folks, Grandparents,anyone from that generation, finally got a chance to get together without supervision, there was some body fluids exchanged in a New York minute.

Yee Haw, there ya are.