Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How did our ancestors do it?

Last week, my not very old refrigerator quit without warning. There is nothing like the sudden absence of something that we usually take for granted to make a genealogist begin to think about what everyday life might have been like a couple of generations ago. As we endured several days without refrigeration while waiting on a new unit to be delivered, I thought often about how much life has changed in the past century.

I remember a time when my grandmother's house had no indoor plumbing. Water was hauled from the well out back, and heated in a kettle on the stove if hot water was needed. Light bulbs hung suspended from the ceiling by an electical cord and turned on and off with a pull chain, making it obvious that electricity had not originally been a part of the home's design. I also remember when a pot-bellied stove stood in the middle of the living room and burned coal in the winter to heat the house. Grandma cooked on a stove fueled by propane, a modern upgrade from the previous wood-burner. It makes me a bit sad to realize that my children do not share such memories.

How many times each day do we flip a switch to turn on a light, or turn the faucet handle to get a drink, and never think about it? What would our ancestors think about such luxury? I wonder.....

1 comment:

  1. Great memories; you just never know what's going to trigger them.