Maybe I should give a little more thought to the title I gave to this post. I’m hoping as you join me for this journey you’ll let me know what your thoughts are on grandma having it easy. I chose that title because she didn’t have to learn how to operate a computer and suffer all the frustrations that come with it. She never heard of a smartphone, the complicated little instrument that is not only a telephone, but a camera, an encyclopedia and dictionary, that has direct contact with the world-wide internet. Grandma would have given us a blank look if we asked if she had a Kindle or an iPhone?
The other evening I stood at my kitchen sink, getting dishes into the dish washer while listening to my husband explain how a Kindle works. He had just installed the whole Bible, New King James Version, into the Kindle in less then one minute. And a book by one of our favorite authors, David McCullough, “Brave Companions,” took less than that to enter. As I reached for my electric fry pan, he was going on about how, when using its small keyboard, I could check my email and connect with the internet.
I remember my first experience seeing someone with a cell phone pacing around a crowded waiting room, talking so loudly everyone’s eyes were on her, and the first time I saw a woman talking on one while doing her shopping. Just the other day a woman with a smartphone was pushing a baby stroller, holding another child’s hand and talking to someone on the phone. Grandma’s communications with the outside world, may have been a crank phone connected to a party line, a long-shot from the sophisticated systems of today, which allow us to do more than one thing at a time.
Didn’t Grandma generally do one thing at a time? After her day’s work, she’d sit
down and leisurely darn socks, (the same ones she had darned the week before). She didn’t have all the stress of filling her brain with the information necessary to live in this present, complicated world. Granted, she did have to go out on the porch, pump boiler tubs full of water that she’d carry to the wood stove to heat. This had to be done before she’d begin her washing, using a wash board. I know she had to beat carpets, stretch curtains, make clothing, (using a treadle machine), bake bread and keep the heating stoves’ fires going… and to iron she’d heat flat irons on the coal stove.
I figure running water systems, and automatic washers and dryers had to be invented before the digital world could take over. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the time to go to computer classes, not to mention all the time required for participating in Facebook and keeping in touch with the world through Twitter.
Would I want to give up my automatically heated home, hot and cold running water and inside plumbing, for the tranquility grandma had while she rocked and darned socks? One advantage she must have experienced, was that her mind was at rest more than we women who are constantly filling ours so we can keep up with this cyber world.
But, then, imagine her concern for sick children, with antiquated medical help, for husbands injured in the new industrial world, some eking out a living in the mines. Guess I wouldn’t trade, and guess I have to admit that Grandma really didn’t have it so easy after all!