Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Reading Grandma's Diaries

Here's a really interesting article from the blog Home Living. The author uses her grandmother's diary to catalog the changes in American society over the course of her lifetime. In case some of my younger readers don't know what a diary is, it's an offline blog. ;-)

I had similar experiences as a child, spending lots of time with my maternal grandfather (born 1898) and grandmother (born 1916) and my paternal great-grandmother (born 1900). My visits with my grandparents were irreplaceable, and bordered on the magical. Hour upon hour, they traced my family history for me from their own childhoods in rural horse-and-buggy roads and one-room shack homes in remote mountains in West Virginia. They called to mind their own ancestors and children: coal miners, horse traders, soldiers in the War Between the States, gold and land speculators, schoolteachers, farmers, moonshiners, prohibition officers, World War II vets, and most of all, loving mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers.

The generation born around the turn of the 20th century arguably saw more change than any other before or since. As children, they rode horses on dusty roads, lived in shacks, hunted and farmed their own food, had no electricity or refrigeration, and even lacked running water and indoor plumbing. In their old age, they lived in air conditioned homes, watched cable television, incorporated kitchen appliances into daily life, flew in airplanes, saw a man on the moon.

They also observed profound devastations in family life and the life of the church and society.

A very interesting article indeed.

1 comment:

Thursday's Child said...

I loved hearing Nana tell about driving the buggy to school and the paddock for the kids' horses to be loose in while they waited. How her grandfather fought in the Civil War and she and her brothers and sisters used to comb his long white beard.
Grandma used to tell me about her father coming from Sweden and working for Burlington Northern while her mother, a former seamstress, made all their clothes. She made sure they were the best dressed kids in school, even though money was tight.
Thanks for reminding me!