Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How did they do it all?

So I've been reading about the Great Depression lately, and the stories of how families survived and made things homey in the face of these great hardships is really making me feel lazy and wasteful. It's also an interesting revelation that those engaged in this "green revolution" are all going full circle with many of the ideas and ways they had back then. The way that women used to sew dresses out of empty feed sacks and use every last scrap of material in creative ways made me think of the way some people are "remaking" clothing they get second hand. How people were creative about ways to keep warm or cool down, and finding fun interactive and free things to do for entertainment. Making a big pot of stew and adding "fillers" (like additional veggies, some rice, whatever is on hand) to it all week is not unheard of today.

The difference mainly is that they had to and we want to. When you want to do something but you don't have to, there is a lot of wiggle room. I really enjoy gardening, and I have a great veggie garden, but I can go to the farmers market or grocery and buy whatever I need pretty easily. So I find I don't get into the garden every day and it becomes a bit of an overgrown mess. I have several patches now where one crop has come out and I should be planting another, but it just hasn't happened yet. People used to can everything, and save it up for winter. I never got past chopping the tomatoes for sauce last summer, so I am hoping to actually get the sauce made and canned this year.

As I am reading about women taking care of homes, cleaning dirt floors so they looked and felt like concrete, sewing and mending, feeding their families on what they grew or raised, and still seeing the pictures of them smiling with family and friends, I just think wow. I complain about not getting any time for myself during the day, but really, I'm sure I have a few minutes here and there that I just piddle away when I could be finishing something that looms over my head. I wonder what would happen if I HAD to do all these things. Would we be a family going hungry? Would we have clothes to wear? I'm not sure. I do have to admit, that hearing about these lives in the 1920's and 30's has lit a bit of a fire under me and really made me appreciate all that we have today.

No comments: