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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Life ~ A Comparison of Two Generations

My Father's Generation

My father was the youngest of eleven children that were raised in a rural farming area of Mississippi. His family resided in a modest, weathered wooden plank house with a breezeway that ran through the middle of the house with three rooms on one side of the breezeway, and two large bedrooms on the other side. A fireplace on both sides of the house provided what little warmth the family had on cold, winter nights.

Every child that was born into the household was birthed in my grandparent’s bed with the assistance of a neighboring midwife. My father has no recollection of ever having the occasion to go to a doctor’s office for any reason.

Their home was illuminated during the hours of darkness by coal oil lamps. The drinking water and the water that was needed for cooking purposes was drawn from a deep well which was located about thirty yards from the dwelling. The water that was used for their weekly baths (in a galvanized washtub) was collected from the rain water which ran off the tin roof into fifty-five gallon rain barrels.

The only way to stay halfway cool on a scorching summer’s day was to sit outside underneath the shade of a tree, or to sit in the shaded breezeway of the home’s porch.

The wooden outhouse, located about fifty yards from the main dwelling, was the family toilet.

My paternal grandmother prepared three meals a day, seven days a week, on a wood-burning cast iron stove. I can only imagine how hot it must have been in that kitchen during the hot, humid Mississippi summer months when she fired the old stove up to prepare a meal. At the time of harvest, she spent countless exhausting hours over the hot stove canning vegetables and various fruits in glass Mason jars; which were capped with screw on lids and set aside for the coming winter and spring months when fresh produce from the garden would not be available for the dinner table.

Grandmother’s “wash day” consisted of having some of the older boys fetch enough buckets of water from the rain water barrels to fill two large, black wash pots that were located underneath the massive pecan tree which shaded most of the back yard. Then, the boys fetched sufficient firewood and built fires underneath the sooty black pots, and Grandmother took over from there. She washed each article of clothing, kitchen towels, and bath towels, by scrubbing them with homemade lye soap on a rub board in one of the pots. After each article was thoroughly scrubbed, the dear woman lifted it from the soapy pot with a section of sawed-off hoe handle and deposited it into the pot of clear (almost boiling) water.

The only daughter in the family stood beside a crudely-made table next to the rinse pot, and it was her job to wring out each piece of the wash that her brothers lifted from the rinse water and deposited on the table. She plopped the wrung out item into a wicker basket; and when it was full she proceeded to hang the freshly-laundered items out to dry on the clothesline. From what I understand, very little (if any) of their clothing was ever ironed. When clothing was ironed, it was pressed with a cast metal iron which was heated on one of the "eyes" of the wood stove.

The average price of gasoline, according to my (now) 89-year-old father, was between fourteen and sixteen cents a gallon during his childhood years.

The pork that was eaten by the family was harvested from the “fattening hogs” that were killed and butchered annually, The beef products were derived from the slaughtering of one of the few cattle the family owned. Meats were preserved by smoking them in the "smoke house". The family’s milk and butter came from the “milk cow” in the barnyard. Poultry and fresh eggs were, naturally, provided by the flock of chickens which littered the bare dirt in the backyard with their fecal droppings.

The produce consumed by the family (corn, beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, beets, tomatoes, and the like were all grown in the few areas of the family’s land that supported crop growing. Pears, peaches, plums, and apples were harvested for consumption at the appropriate season of the year. Plowing the ground was done with the assistance of a mule.

The annually-purchased wardrobe for the boys in the family consisted of my grandfather buying each of them two new pairs of denim overalls, two chambray shirts, two pairs of socks, one pair of long johns, and one pair of “brogan” shoes. In the only school picture my father ever had made, he was wearing a pair of overalls with one of the straps pinned with a large safety pin because the button was missing.

My father has shared with me that Christmas was just like most any other day, in that, there were no “Christmas trees”, toys, or candies to enjoy in his household. He said that, as a child, he had heard of Santa Claus…but figured that Santa must have only made stops to the kid’s homes that were located in the towns and cities where the homes were easily located, because he never seemed to find his way out to all the farm houses located out in the “sticks”.

Dad tells me that he never remembers having more than a quarter in his pocket at any given time in his life until he left home and grew to adulthood.

So, those were the proverbial “good old days”, eh?


One Generation Later

I was raised within the city limits of Memphis, Tennessee during the late 1940’s through the mid 1960’s. Our family’s first house was a modest, two bedroom, brick house which had electricity and a bathroom and kitchen with running water. Our source of heat was produced by a gas furnace and our tap water was heated by a gas hot water heater.

Mother had an electric wringer washing machine that was rolled out of the corner once a week and plugged into an electrical receptacle, and hooked up to the faucet on the kitchen sink, so she could take care of the laundering of our family members’ garments, etc. The clothes were dried outside in the sunshine on a clothes line. In the late 1950’s, Mother’s wringer washer was replaced by an automatic washing machine, and the clothesline fell into disuse when Dad installed her new gas clothes dryer.

In the early days of my childhood, we had a telephone in the hallway on a small table. To make a telephone call, one simply had to lift the receiver and state the number you wished to call after hearing the operator say: “Number, please.” In later years, that telephone was replaced with one that had a rotary dial and one’s party could be reached without the assistance of a telephone operator.The lone telephone in the house was located in the living room.

Our family enjoyed the cool breeze that was created by the electric attic fan located in the hallway of our home; and sometime during the year 1961, we were blessed beyond measure to be able to close our windows during the sweltering summer temperatures and enjoy the cool air that was provided by the two new air conditioning window units.

Our family’s groceries were purchased each Friday morning at the local Supermarket (a fairly new concept for grocery shoppers). Milk came from a glass bottle left on the doorstep by the milkman, who made home deliveries several times a week; and the nicer clothing, such as a man’s dress suit or a lady’s Sunday dress, was picked up and delivered back by the dry cleaning company’s route man.

Christmas Eve found the children of our household leaving milk and cookies on the kitchen table for Santa to enjoy when he made his annual stop at our house to drop off the toys we had previously written him letters about, and to fill our stockings with apples, oranges, and peppermint sticks. Some of the more notable toys he left behind for me were a bicycle, an electric train, and a Mattel Fanner-Fifty cap gun and holster.

In 1952, my Dad bought our family a black and white Hallicrafter television set. Programming didn’t begin until sometime in the afternoon, and the one channel ceased broadcasting at midnight. Profanity and lewdness were non-existent on television broadcasts during my childhood, even up to the day I got married and left my parents’ home in 1965.

In 1966, my young wife and I bought our first color television (which cost us $499) while I was still active duty in the Army. (The monthly pay for a new Private in the Army was $97.50 per month.) To turn the set on, to turn up or lower the volume, or to change channels, one merely turned the appropriate rotary knobs. There was no remote control.

The average price of gasoline the year my wife and I married was 29.9 cents per gallon. In 1967, the sticker price of a new, Plymouth Belvedere II was $2,499.00 (yes, that‘s two thousand, four hundred ninety-nine dollars). The price of my first new house (in 1974) was $24,500.00. The cost of my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee was $27,800.00.

Now, if we were to talk about the amenities of my children’s or my grandchildren’s generations…well, that would be another story, wouldn’t it?


I’m looking forward to reading some the “generational differences” that my fellow forum members will share during the course of this thread.
 ​
 

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As a child, I was a pre-teen before we got our first color tv, a used one at that. My Grandpa had a tv repair business. That was 1967. We also had a Plymouth Belvedere station wagon, I believe a 1966 or 67. It was a cream color and my mom once backed out of the driveway in a huff, swung the car and hit the telephone pole near our sidewalk, putting a big dent in the front fender. She was horrified. My father, not one to usually laugh those things off, did just that. He also took the opportunity to write on the dent in red magic marker "hers". He knew that fender would soon be replaced and wanted some laughs first. Anyway, fast forward to 1978 and I was newly wed. My wife and I picked out a nice RCA color tv with 13 channels and no remote control. You wanted to change the channel? You got up and did it. That tv cost $358 in 1978 $$!! That was more than my wife and my combined weekly income with a lot to spare. Today that 19 inch tv would be a flat lcd for a kitchen, not living room. It would have all the bells and whistles AND a remote, and it would cost $129 in 2013 $$.
 

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Thanks KLo, for sharing your walk down memory lane with us.

My Plymouth Belvedere was a light canary yellow color. It was a two door hardtop and had black vinyl seats and was our first air conditioned car!

It is absolutely amazing how much the prices of televisions and other electronic products have come down through the years. If only the cost of gasoline could follow that trend. :D
 
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I remember staying the weekend with my great aunt /uncle (two generations separated) . Pap. Was born in 1895 served in WWI and was a hard working man. He and his brother had a peerless oil pull and thrashing machine. We butchered our own hogs. (Smoked the meat in the smokehouse) dressed our own chickens . Gathered eggs, picked fruit from the few trees on the farm and canned them also. When he died in 72 he drove a 39 dodge pickup that he paid 600.00 for in 42 (I have the receipt! !)

These days many of us don't raise or put away our own food (or know how) we have to have the latest electronics/cars.......pick your poison. I like modern things as much as the next person but those were great memories.

I don't miss the outhouse. Too close in the summer, too far in the winter.
 

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Another great story Harry.

My mom grew up just outside of Memphis. The lived in a Tin Roofed farm house and got their water from a Cistern. Grandpa always worked at least one regular job and farmed in the off hours. At one time they also ran a general store. We still used the outhouse when we would visit until I was 12 or 14 when they got an indoor toilet. Baths for the kids were in an old washtub heated by the sun and the adults bathed at the kitchen sink. Heat was a wood fired stove. Grandma cooked everything in a cast iron skillet that weighed as much as she did, or so it seemed. Grandpa also used to make his own sorghum.

My dad grew up in SW Indiana. My grand parents didn't live in his boyhood home by the time I was here, so I do not know anything about it. Grandpa was a carpenter and both grandparents were active in the Boy Scouts and occasionally they lived at Scout Camps.

Dad did a stint in the Navy and then went to Bethel College in McKenzie, TN where he met my mom working in the kitchen. She had just begun cutting up some tomatoes and had not washed them. He asked if she was going to wash them and she told him no. He said, "I feel sorry for your future husband." When my mom and dad got married they lived in an apartment in Memphis over a doctors office who delivered babies. Mom assisted in the deliveries and dad cleaned up what was left at night. Once dad graduated from the Seminary we moved to Springfield, MO, Mayfield, KY and finally Marshall, TX. We always had a home though they were Manses (preachers home owned by the church) until I was 14 when the church moved and gave him a housing allowance instead of building a manse.

When my wife and I got married we were both pretty well into our respective careers and doing well. The past couple of years though have been a humbling experience after I lost my good job and now am working for less than half of what I used to make. I am thankful for my past generations because I can draw on those experiences growing up and learning from my parents and grandparents to get us through these times. Mainly my grandpa's ability to fix just about anything. I have been able to take care of our major repairs so far.
 

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My, how times have changed! Kids nowadays don't know how easy they got it! I'm only 47, and my parents both had good jobs, so I really don't remember going thru any hardships as a child, aside from having to get up to turn the tv channel.. I do remember that :)

Wow, the Plymouth Belvedere must have been pretty popular.. In the early 90's, my Grandfather gave me a '65 Belvedere that had belonged to my greatgrandmother, and I loved that car! All of my 3 Aunts had driven it,and had nicknamed it Corny after my Greatgrandmother Cornelia..
 

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Not quite fifty.....but not too far off either.
Some of my best memories of my childhood are at my Great Uncle Howards farm in Missouri. I guess i was around 5 or 6 years old. He owned about 1,000 acres in southeast Missouri, full of woods, creeks, lakes, ponds, etc. Raised cattle and multiple crops. Many times staying there, for dinner, my Aunt would go out and kill one or two chickens for dinner and would chat with me while she plucked the chickens. They had a very old farmhouse, with a screend entrance, and to the left was a HUGE tin bowl with a long handled tin dipper. Inside this bowl was the coldest, best tasting well water, that to this day I swear is the best and coldest water i ever drank. No air conditioning, and no plumbing. Outhouse was about 30 yards outside of the front door to the left of the house. In the winter time, around Christmas, my dad had to get up to take me out there to use it in the snow and cold winter wind. I still remember him telling not to fall in...:). Learned how to shoot my Dads 308 there, went hunting, fishing, and especially snake hunting. My uncle had an old bull penned up on one side that bit him one day while he was feeding him. BIG bull. My Uncle Howard turned around and punched the bull squarely in the nose. Will never forget it, as did the bull, who never bit him again. Used to play in the barn, when we didnt have to milk the cows, and ride horses to the back of the property. In the evening we listened to the radio, and just talked about whatever we felt was relevant. I think back to those times often and think about now, with TV's, video games, etc, and wonder how my kids would react if they did what we did back then. To me, I had it MUCH better doing the things at my Uncles farm. When he died, his daughter stayed on that farm, and still lives there today. Every time I go back there it is like travelling back in time. Miss those days.
 

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It is amazing the difference in a generation or two. My generation and my parents all had running water, electricity and tv. Even my grandparents did (electricity and city water anyway, TV wasn't invented yet and yes I know it was invented in the 1920's :D ) but it was because they lived in a city.

That said I would talk to my grandmothers alot about what they had vs even then what I had. In their lifetimes we went from flimsy wooden biplanes (which only first flew at Kitty Hawk (the Wright Brothers) less than 10 years before) to the modern wide bodied Jetliner, to men walking on the moon, microwave ovens, instant world wide communications, cell phones, and air conditioning in just about every building, and so much more! And thats just in one persons lifetime! That never ceases to amaze me!
 

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I'm 58.

Harry, your story of your parents sounds very much like the environment my Mom grew up in, in the corn fields of central IL. They didn't have indoor plumbing, no electricity, etc. There daily activities were simply a matter of survival. Completing their daily chores assured that they would have food on the table.

By the time I was born, 1955, my Mom and all but one of her siblings had moved into town, population 800, and had indoor plumbing and electricity. One of her sisters married a farmer and they worked 500 acres over the years.

In 1959 my parents were divorced and me, my brother and Mom moved to the "city", 25,000 people. I don't remember when we got our first color TV. I do know we watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in B&W!

I can't say for our parents growing up but I can say for a FACT that my growing up was definitely "the good old days"!
 

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Harry, I could write the story of those generations in my family but with very minor differences they would be exactly the same as yours. Heck even our first TV was a Hallicrafters. My first home cost $24,000 and my first new car $3100. It was a better time, in my opinion, than today. More optimism, more opportunity, more respect for both self and others, and people actually got to know each other. I barely know the names of my neighbors now.
 

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My Dad talks about how the neighborhood he grew up in had block parties a few times a year and that the neighbors within three or four houses of the one he grew up in were basically family. You don't see that too often any more.
 

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Great thread, Harry! I don't have too much family history that I know about- my mom was a WWII bride from Venezuela and pretty much alone here in the US. Dad was 1st generation immigrant and the youngest chid in his family and by the time I showed up his parents were quite elderly. I remember anecdotes and incidents about the grandparents and elderly maiden great aunt, but am not sure that I could put them together in story fashion. Maybe that's why I really enjoy these threads where everyone can reflect on their past-for me, reading the posts provides me with a chance to have a "history", too! Thank you, Harry -and every TA member who posts!
 

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At the risk of being overbearing, I have one more "good old days" story to share. It was winter of 1963-64 and I was 7 about to turn 8. By then our family had grown to 5 boys, ages 10 to 1. It seems my brothers aged 3 and 4 were hospitalized at the same time with pneumonia. In order to visit them in the hospital, my parents brought my older brother (10) and me to our grandparents house so they could watch over us while my parents tended to my little brothers. It was only for a day, but it was a Sunday. Of course all 7 and 10 year old boys LOVE the time they get with grandma and grandpa, what with grandma cooking any and everything we wanted and grandpa showing us how to tie flys and talking of trout fishing. At the end of a great day, our grandparents loaded us into their car for the 30 minute drive back home where they would drop us back with our parents. Enroute, we were side-swiped by another car, forcing us off the road and into the undercarriage of a big dump truck which was parked on the side of the road. I remember looking up from the back seat and seeing the oil dripping into our car. We mostly suffered minor cuts and such but my grandma broke her ankle and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. Folks who lived in the house near where the accident occurred called the state police who showed up and processed the whole scene. The troopers had my grandpa go in the ambulance with my grandma and they took us into the house near where the accident took place. There they called my father and explained the situation. My father was to come to the scene and get us. While he was on his way, the troopers saw that we were in good hands with these people whom we had not met until that moment, so they left us there with the family to wait for my dad. Total strangers were entrusted with our care and more than than, they accepted that responsibility. I'll never forget watching the Wonderful World of Disney which was on every Sunday night, at the home of people we had never before met. And it was all good. And it all seemed normal. Those were the days my friends.........
 

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I remember in '63 or '64, my father signed a contract to teach school in the big city. The wages were so high that he also bought a, new to us, '62 Nova station wagon, and a new house. I didn't know it at the time but macaroni and cheese or navy beans for supper meant we ran out of money before we ran out of the month. Mom and Dad raised 5 children on a teachers salary, no one every told me we were poor, but I knew we weren't rich. Oh, and the BIG teaching contract, $3,000 a year.
 

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Ironically, at 35, I shared in some of your Father's amenities, at least during summer. I grew up most of the time in New London, CT, a small city with all modern amenities. Life for me started the day school got out and Dad would take us up to the family property in VT. It was a larger house with limited electricity and some running water. It had a two seater outhouse through the big attached barn. I never saw two people using it at the same time, I guess it was for emergencies? The best part was it was on our own 800 acres and there was a large pond 50 feet from the cabin. Some times we would stay for 2 weeks at a clip, once or twice we stayed all summer. Once, just once, right before my estranged Uncle sold the place out from under us, I was allowed to stay the entire summer there by myself, at 13 years old. I chose to skip baseball that summer (not easy) to be a lone wolf in the woods. It was by far the best summer of my life. I had no phone, no tv, limited running water, a bicycle to get me to the general store 6 miles away via hilly dirts roads, tons of firewood and .22lr and freedom.

My wife and I are looking for some land (considerable smaller plot unfortunately) in Southern NH where we can build a zero impact, off the grid camp. It is my wife's dream as a designer to build a self sufficient (solar power, rain collection/well etc.) dwelling and mine to be in the middle of nowhere with no nanny. We also want our son to grow up knowing how to appreciate something other than an iPad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I remember staying the weekend with my great aunt /uncle (two generations separated) . Pap. Was born in 1895 served in WWI and was a hard working man. He and his brother had a peerless oil pull and thrashing machine. We butchered our own hogs. (Smoked the meat in the smokehouse) dressed our own chickens . Gathered eggs, picked fruit from the few trees on the farm and canned them also. When he died in 72 he drove a 39 dodge pickup that he paid 600.00 for in 42 (I have the receipt! !)

These days many of us don't raise or put away our own food (or know how) we have to have the latest electronics/cars.......pick your poison. I like modern things as much as the next person but those were great memories.

I don't miss the outhouse. Too close in the summer, too far in the winter.

Definitely, too far in the winter!

And...too far at three o'clock in the morning when the urge hits ya' during a pouring rainstorm.

(That's when the little white, porcelain-clad bucket with the lid was pulled from beneath the bed and put to good use!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another great story Harry.

My mom grew up just outside of Memphis. The lived in a Tin Roofed farm house and got their water from a Cistern. Grandpa always worked at least one regular job and farmed in the off hours. At one time they also ran a general store. We still used the outhouse when we would visit until I was 12 or 14 when they got an indoor toilet. Baths for the kids were in an old washtub heated by the sun and the adults bathed at the kitchen sink. Heat was a wood fired stove. Grandma cooked everything in a cast iron skillet that weighed as much as she did, or so it seemed. Grandpa also used to make his own sorghum.

My dad grew up in SW Indiana. My grand parents didn't live in his boyhood home by the time I was here, so I do not know anything about it. Grandpa was a carpenter and both grandparents were active in the Boy Scouts and occasionally they lived at Scout Camps.

Dad did a stint in the Navy and then went to Bethel College in McKenzie, TN where he met my mom working in the kitchen. She had just begun cutting up some tomatoes and had not washed them. He asked if she was going to wash them and she told him no. He said, "I feel sorry for your future husband." When my mom and dad got married they lived in an apartment in Memphis over a doctors office who delivered babies. Mom assisted in the deliveries and dad cleaned up what was left at night. Once dad graduated from the Seminary we moved to Springfield, MO, Mayfield, KY and finally Marshall, TX. We always had a home though they were Manses (preachers home owned by the church) until I was 14 when the church moved and gave him a housing allowance instead of building a manse.

When my wife and I got married we were both pretty well into our respective careers and doing well. The past couple of years though have been a humbling experience after I lost my good job and now am working for less than half of what I used to make. I am thankful for my past generations because I can draw on those experiences growing up and learning from my parents and grandparents to get us through these times. Mainly my grandpa's ability to fix just about anything. I have been able to take care of our major repairs so far.
Your account was a sobering reminder to me of the personal sacrifices that a man in the ministry and his wife willingly make in order to serve others in this very special way. You were blessed to grow up in your parents' home.

I am dismayed to read of the hardships that you and your wife are enduring due to your losing a job that paid well, and having to make do with a job that pays less than half of what you are used to earning. I've been there and done that. In 1965 I was drafted into the Army, left a great-paying job at Illinois Central Railroad and entered the Army making well under half of what the railroad was paying me. The LORD provided for us during those lean times, as HE continues to do now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My, how times have changed! Kids nowadays don't know how easy they got it! I'm only 47, and my parents both had good jobs, so I really don't remember going thru any hardships as a child, aside from having to get up to turn the tv channel.. I do remember that :)

Wow, the Plymouth Belvedere must have been pretty popular.. In the early 90's, my Grandfather gave me a '65 Belvedere that had belonged to my greatgrandmother, and I loved that car! All of my 3 Aunts had driven it,and had nicknamed it Corny after my Greatgrandmother Cornelia..
The Plymouth Belvedere was quite popular during that era because it was economically priced, yet it furnished the buyer with a number of amenities that were available at that time.

You wouldn't happen to have a photo of that Belvedere, now, would you?

I'll look around and see if I can't come up with a pic of mine.
 

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At 73 I guess I bridge two (or three) generations. I've lived in the days of outhouses, no electricity or running water. The first car I remember my Dads driving was a 1940 Chevy. We got the first TV in our neighborhood in 1948, rabbit ears and test patterns It drew in a lot of kids after school. Before that it was radio Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Fibber McGee, Stella Dallas. Making a phone call was "number please" no dialing, party line. You had to be home to receive a call. Milk was delivered to your door in glass bottles, non homogenized. Ice trucks delivering ice to houses with "ice boxes". Coal fired home furnaces put black soot on white snow. Soda pop was a nickel as was a candy bar and pack of gum. Picture show was 14 cents.

Do I want to go back? Probably not even though my fondest memories were made in that time. At one time I had 34 aunts and uncles. Half were blood plus their spouses. All have passed on as has my parents.

Once, I thought I was immortal. Now I know I am not. Every thing changes in time.
 

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MY GRANDPARENTS GENERATION:As a child, mom would take us to visit grandpa on Sunday. Being a single mom, she worked 5 days and Saturday was house cleaning day. Sunday, after church, was set aside for visiting. Grandma had passed away when I was 3, so I didn't get to know her, but grandpa was always there at his house to welcome us into his humble abode. The place was close to the downtown area. Grandma had worked at a factory within walking distance and grandpa was a barber and saw blade sharpener. With only a grade school education, he did what he could. He worked out of his house, cutting hair in a back bedroom and running his grinders for sharpening out in the detached garage. He never drove a car and used a bicycle to run to the store or deliver saw blades to his customers. The house was always dark as each room only had a single bulb fixture in the ceiling to light the room. Grandpa kept the window curtains pulled back for light and he only turned them on after the sun had set. The two bedroom house where mom and her two brothers were raised was so small. Curtains were used to separate the rooms as there were no interior doors. They were lucky they had an indoor bathroom, but mom and her brothers shared one bedroom through grade school. There was also a kitchen and a living room. Heat was supplied by the coal stove in the living room and winter visits often found us sitting around with coats on unless you were seated next to the old cast iron pot belly. Air conditioning consisted of raised windows and praying for a breeze. No TV, radio or phone there and we had to take toys with us if we wanted something to do. Grandpa wasn't one for spending money he didn't have and would usually fire up the stove after we got there. I never saw him in anything other than a pair of overalls and long johns. He taught me to appreciate the things I had through his happiness living a meager existence. He used to cut my hair as a kid and I remember disappearing in that big old barber chair. He made a riser for me that consisted of an old plank board that he would lay across the two arms to raise my body and thus my head above the seat so he could cut the hair on the back of my head. He seemed happy but lonely too.

MY PARENTS GENERATION:Mom and dad divorced when I was two and dad moved away from our suburban home in Indianapolis to Illinois to continue working for the railroad. I didn't see him too often growing up and mom worked as a secretary making around $100 a week. Mom went to night school to get her high school diploma. My sister and I had our own rooms in the three bedroom house that mom struggled to make the monthly payments on. We had a kitchen with a dinner table, living room and one bathroom. The attached one car garage housed mom's car, our bikes and the lawn mower that mom turned over to me sometime around 8 years old. Air conditioning was handled by two window fans strategically located for maximum air flow. We had a console TV that housed a record player on one side and a radio on the other. It came to us used, as a lot of stuff did. Mom never owned a new car and that old console was always on playing a tune. Mom loved music and alternated from classical albums to country music on the stereo. We didn't have a lot when we were kids and occasionally mom would bring home White Castle hamburgers as a treat - one each for me and my sister and mom would have two. We all shared a large order of fries and washed it down with a glass of cold water. That pitcher of water was always inside the refrigerator next to the milk. One gallon would last us two weeks for our daily breakfasts. Christmas time was special as mom never had a tree growing up. We put ours up right after Thanksgiving and took it down New Years Day. We didn't get a lot of gifts, but having that tree up made us all happy. Mom made a lot of the decorations as she was very creative. She could sew, knit, crochet and made most of her and my sisters clothes. I usually got hand-me-downs from a co-worker of moms. Our clothes were always clean and had no holes in them. We had school clothes and play clothes. Regardless, my shirt was always tucked in and to this day I have a hard time concealing IWB with my t-shirt un-tucked covering my weapon.

MY GENERATION:I married my high school sweetheart a year after graduating and we moved into our first house. It was a three bedroom with an added fourth bedroom and laundry room addition. The one bathroom, kitchen and living room completed the layout with a two car detached garage on the two lot spread of land. The biggest attraction - the fireplace in the living room! Neither of us had every lived in a house that had a fireplace and many a night was spent with a roaring fire. I loved the room out in the garage. I felt like a king out there! Air cooling was something new to us, an attic fan. That thing pulled in a breeze through open windows and to this day, I long for another one in my current house. At the time of marriage, we owned a car, truck and motorcycle. The 25" color TV with cable was great and keep the kids entertained when they came along a couple years later. A stereo consisting of tuner, record player, and tape deck rounded out our entertainment center. I was working as a truck driver and the wife had a job managing a fast food restaurant. Life was good and we had money for hot rod cars and even a couple of boats. We didn't waste our money, but we enjoyed it. Saving for a nicer place led us to purchase a three bedroom house after 5 years and this time we had a dining room and full, completely finished basement. The laundry room was also down there and also a big open unfinished area that I finished and added a hot tub. The two car garage was street and basement level and was sufficient. We refused to buy without a fireplace and this one was even bigger with a real stone hearth. I added an attic fan to compliment the central air, which we hardly used. I was now a tool and die designer after completing a couple years of college that we paid for and my wife worked with special needs kids in the local school system. We called that place home for 10 years and finally built my wife's dream home for us and our two daughters. A four bedroom, 3 1/2 bath abode complete with dining room, parlor, great room, loft and a nice 3-car attached garage. I finished the attic above it adding another great room, just cause I hated the wasted space. The fireplace is central in the downstairs great room and the in-ground pool out back is the family gathering spot in the summer. With the kids out and on there own, the place is way too big for just the two of us, but since I paid it off 4 years ago, I will stay there till my wife tells me she wants something different. I had that place built for her, and that will be her call if we ever move again. I think back to mom and grandpa and they only had one place they called home, after they got married, and here we have been in three houses. We have 3 cars, a truck and two Harleys in the garage. My wife and I have worked hard for all we have. Not bad for two kids that got married right out of school.

MY KIDS GENERATION:Both daughters married and moved into homes without ever having to rent a place. They got that advice from old dad, as I never believed in paying to rent a house. The oldest daughter is a dental hygienist and the youngest is a radiology technician thanks to college degrees. I revel in the fact that they are a lot like mom and dad. The pay their way, manage to save, and both enjoy good lives. Each have new cars and the oldest built her own second house a few years back and it is as nice as ours. She has managed to raise two boys to the ages of 5 and 6 and doing quite well for herself after a divorce last year. Her boyfriend is a Navy veteran with his own place and good job. The fact that he loves my daughter and grandsons completes the package and his main hobby in firearms is icing on the cake for me! My youngest daughter just purchased a lot and they will break ground on their second home that will be bigger than our place. Along the way, they have raised a two year old daughter and are expecting their second daughter next month. They bought their first Harley last year and her husband enjoys shooting and is currently searching for his first firearm - a 9MM and I am suggesting the PT92. He is awaiting the German Luger his grandfather has promised him one day and I too look forward to shooting it also. I couldn't be prouder of either of our daughters!

MY GRAND-KIDS GENERATION:I have a good feeling about this lot of kids my offspring are currently raising. The boys received honors at their school/daycare center which is also housed in the church they attend and we are very proud of them both. I see signs in them that lead me to believe they will turn out alright. Both have good manners, pride in their accomplishments and a desire to learn and achieve. Now don't get me wrong here, they are still boys and that alone is a challenge on any given day. Heck, I pulled the younger one out of the pool last night after he fell in trying to beat his brother to see if the water was warm enough to swim in. Clothes and all including the sunglasses he was wearing at the time that actually stayed on his head! We all laughed that one off as mom was re-dressing him in his Spider Man costume that was the only thing she had for him to wear. I convinced him that the suit would actually help him ride his bike without training wheels and a half hour later, with my help, he was doing just that. My granddaughter, from our other daughter, is the spitting image of her mom right down to the pig tails and smile from ear to ear. She has the sweetest personality and gives grandpa the biggest hugs. I can get her giggling by just kissing her with my chin whiskers that tickle her. She seems to have inherited mom's brains too as this one is very smart for her age. I expect big things from her!

Through the generations listed, I see how much things have changed. Houses got larger with more amenities, transportation went from walking and riding a bike to having multiply vehicle options and education went from grade school to college as the generations went on. I have seen the struggles of a poor mans simple life and decided early on that I wanted more. Things changed from generations, as far as options and opportunity, but what didn't change was the will to make oneself better trough hard work and a good trust in the man upstairs to guide us along.
 
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