Grandma Had It Easy!

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

Grandma with her hand-operated Maytag washer, an improvement over the wash board.

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!

9 thoughts on “Grandma Had It Easy!

  1. Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong century. In my last Pennsylvania home, I installed an antique Kitchen Coal Stove. The house also had a huge fireplace and I Must confess, I Loved It. I Loved Piling, Stocking and Stacking Wood and I Loved Filling the Hod with coal every morning and emptying the ashes every day. I Loved using kerosene and oil lamps and burning candles…. But would I actually be willing to give up the convenience of Electricity? The Internet? Or Mass Communication Devices? Well…. Let’s just say it turns out I’m Extremely Glad I was born in the century I was, after all. =o)

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  2. Sometimes I feel like we are over stimulated by all the techno convenice of it all. We sit and stare at computer, and tv screens instead of enjoying a nice stroll outside with our children. Instead of coloring or playing a rhyming games with our children we plop them down in front of the TV and expect it to do the teaching. The things we have today I’m grateful for but do we really NEED it?? Hours spent on the computer could be hours spent in the word of god;)

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  3. HI SHIRLEY .AS I AM SITTING HERE READING YOR STORY I AM THINKING HOW IT WAS WHEN I WAS YOUNGER LIVING IN THE COUNTRY COMPARED TO THE CHILDREN LIVING CITY..SUCH A DIFFERENCE IT MUST HAVE BEEN..I REMEMBER THE FIREFLIES AND PUTTING THEM IN A JAR AND WATCHING THEM ..I NICE SOUNDS OF NIGHT..TODAY I HEAR TRAINS AND CARS BLOWING HORN AND SIRENS..AS FOR THE COMPUTER I STILL DONT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING..MY CELL PHONE IS AN OLD ONE I USE ONLY FOR CALLS..I GUESS I CAN RELATE TO GRANDMA…LIFE WAS MORE RELAXING BACK THEN.. LOVE YOU ADA MAE

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  4. I think that every generation has its pros and its cons. I know that I would not want to live during the time when my Grandmother was growing up…..without electric stoves, electric refrigerators, electric washing machines, air conditioning, automobiles, etc. How about having to use the outhouse and attending the one room schoolhouse! Kids walked to school in those days… (in rain or shine and snow or rain). We’ve sure seen remarkable changes in the medical industry since those times, too. There was no such thing as calling 911, and having an ambulance arriving at your home within minutes, to get you the care that you needed. Today’s technological advances are improvements; and I agree, they can also be hard to keep up with. However, it is not necessary and/or even needed to have the latest and greatest when it comes to cell phones or even computers. My father is not interested in using computers, and he still uses a cell phone that is probably 8 years old or more. He leaves the worries about technology to my step mother! LOL Cyber technology and its advances can leave us feeling stressed….if we try to keep up with it all. However, with the flip of a switch or a key or by unplugging it, we can simply walk away from it. I find it relaxing and interesting to be able to keep up with the lives of family and friends by using facebook and the computer. The biggest problem with technology is (finding the time) to keep up with it all. With such busy lives and so much to do…we have to prioritize and make the time for the things that matter the most. God, family and friends always come first! Thanks for sharing your blog…it is nice to know that I feel as you do! Grandma really did not have it easy. 🙂

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    • You handled this subject so well. I’m finding that more people are reading the comments to my blog and I’m sure yours are among them. Thanks for the insight on grandmother. You’ve certainly become a techie. Your interests are varied. I look forward to your comments.

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