Yesterday I was quilting on the longarm and I always think about weird things when I’m quilting for hours and hours. What was running through my mind yesterday was how things have changed through the years. As I was thinking about just quilting . .
- When I first started quilting, I only wanted to hand piece and hand quilt. That was “real” quilting.
- When I got my first longarm, there was a bit of a debate in the quilting community about whether quilts done with a stitch regulator should be on a level field with those quilted without a stitch regulator. Now, the stitch regulator is accepted and I suppose there was a bit of controversy about computerized machines.
- For quilts entered in some of the larger juried shows, photos had to be sent in on slides . . no digital photography allowed! Thankfully, that’s changed!
Then I began thinking about my grandma’s sewing habits. The first sewing machine I remember her having was the old Singer treadle. At some point, she got an electric machine but it was a really inexpensive one and by then, she wasn’t sewing much. Think what folks in my grandma’s generation would think about automatic needle threaders, and needle up/needle down positioning, all the fancy stitches so many of us couldn’t live without.
Aside from the big stuff like dishwashers (except for me!), microwaves, clothes dryers, cell phones, computers, Kindles, and things like that . . think of all the things that my grandmother just wouldn’t believe possible:
- Blow dryer – I remember my grandma using curlers and a big plastic thing that went around your head and a tube blew hot air in there!
- GPS – can you imagine what they would have thought of that and most of us can’t even think about going across town without the aid of GPS.
- Automatic ice makers – they were doing good to have a freezer with ice trays. A couple of weeks ago our ice maker in the freezer was acting up and we were ready to go buy a hotel type ice machine because we were sick of running out of ice. The hang up was that I wanted one that made ice like Sonic and they were outrageously expensive but in the meantime, Vince figured out what was wrong with our ice maker so . . no Sonic ice for me.
- Automatic gate opener – Most folks don’t deal with gates but I remember my grandparents . . when they got home whether it was dark or daylight, sunny or raining, my grandma got out and opened the gate while my grandpa drove in. She’d close the gate and walk down the driveway. Nowadays, we all have our automatic openers for garages and gates with the little keypad on the outside.
A biggie for me and probably most of us is the internet. I use it to find recipes, to get info on everything from places to eat in Abilene to remedies when your dog eats chocolate to communicating with all of you! Even though I can vaguely remember life before the internet was in every home, I just don’t know how we made it without it. Guess you don’t miss something you never knew. Sure hope it’s around for a very long time!
As you’re going about your day, think of things that are so different today from how they were when your parents were growing up or when your grandparents were adults. Share them . . I love hearing about things like that.
When Adalina was born, I bought a journal and I write down things that I think she might find interesting 20 years from now but who knows what technology will bring. Some things in our day may be the same or very similar in 20 years. Some things may be obsolete. SO many times I’ve wished I knew more about things that went on in my grandma’s days so I’m going to document things I think might be interesting and Adalina can have those journals if she wants them.
Debi McIntosh says
what an absolutely wonderful idea Judy – we recently had a ‘retired police officers day’ and showed off new technology – for some we forgot that computers were new technology – when all they had were typewriters – manual at that!!!. Enjoy
Sounds like Grandpa did have an automatic gate opener – it was Grandma!
Helen B. Ellen says
Funny how you think you are the only one who does something. When I sew, unless it’s a complicated pattern and I really have to keep my mind on it, my thoughts race about in my head. I rehash things that have happened with friends and acquaintances and a host of usually non-important things.
I rarely listen to music while I sew. I’ve tried it, but the quiet time seems more relaxing for me.
Thanks for the reminder of how our modern conveniences have made things easier for us!
all I know is I sure got a lot more done before WE had the internet!!! I think about that all the time, I used to take the kids to school, and the house would be spotless by noon. Now….my house is never spotless and I don’t have the time to get it in that condition. Lots of distractions. Lots of technology. Life speeds by these days!! Or maybe that is just a sign of getting old.
Love your journal idea. I wish I had one from my own grandmother!
What I do know is I got tons more done when we didn’t have the internet but I wouldn’t want to live without it!
Here in our ranching community I would watch one elderly couple who like your Grandma–he would drive, she would open the gates. One day I asked Gladys why she got to always be the gate opener (in sun/sleet/snowstorms) and her reply: “cause then I don’t have to listen to him complain about every cow pie I drive over, I would much rather just get out and open the gate.” 🙂
Tina in NJ says
My 10-yr-old daughter has been asking for stories from my childhood at bedtime. Maybe I’ll write them down as I remember them. Thanks for the idea!
Sharon Spingler says
I listen to the old time radio shows while I quilt. But I still have time to think, sometimes getting me into no man’s land.
My sis and I started a journal for the grandkids on the easiest ways to do things. Like using white vinegar to take off wallpaper instead of expensive chemicals that we have no idea what can eventually do to harm us. And our favorite recipes.
Margery Allcock says
When I was young, my mum didn’t have a freezer, or even a fridge. And no washing machine, either. No TV. No car. No central heating. And we weren’t poor – that was just normal – we had everything we needed.
i agree, that journal is a great idea! how often i’ve thought that i would like to be able to go back in time and be with my grandparents again in their homes and spend time with them just doing ordinary daily things. for them it probably wasn’t a big deal, but for me it was magical. Even drying dishes together with the women all out in the kitchen working together after a big family meal was a treat, or just sitting and talking to them while they did their chores or watching them cook was fun.
So by all means put the “regular day” stuff in your journals. give your granddaughter an imaginary bowl of beans to snap, and write as though she’s there with you, snapping the beans while you work beside her.
Debbie Rhodes says
I constantly think to myself, “wouldn’t grandmother be surprised by this” wouldn’t she be appalled by that… wouldn’t she love this.
Gail in Wa State says
Your journal is a great idea for your grand-daughter.
Many years ago, my grandmother was hospitalized and it turned out she would spend several months there and eventually her life ended there.
The hospital was very close to where I worked and every night I would go and help her with her dinner. This went on for months and I heard all about her childhood in London (poverty!)…she was sent out by herself to become a maid in a large household (sounded like slavery to me), to earn her keep. Each evening she would tell me another story of her life. She went from horse and buggy to man on the moon and had lots to say about it all.
No one in the family had really heard these stories before; it was a wonderful experience that I’ll never forget.
it is interesting what you think about and the roads you go down, we were talking this summer about travelers checks and had a whole discussion about atms and the 20 somethings were fascinated that to get money you had to write a check to yourself made out to cash and you needed to get to the bank before 3pm to do it. I have a few rotary phones in my house and when we first moved in we had a land line and they actually worked, my niece asked me how it worked and i had her call her mother 🙂
Sandy Garrett says
With technology moving at the speed of light and everything is so instant these days, I often wish that I could give my grown boys (27 & 26) the gift of my childhood when things were simpler but just as good.
Sandy, I think our childhoods may have been better than theirs. Now most “good girls” go on group dates. You really don’t get to know your fella that way. I wouldn’t trade my HS years for my granddaughters’.
Mary C in WA says
I consider my Blog my Journal. Good for you to start a real Journal. I wish I had Journals from some of my Grandmas… I think about the cost of all those things and how they have gone down! I remember only the smart guys got to be in the Computer room. It took a whole small building to house the computer then.
How about the changes in how we listen to music. Old records, tapes, cd, iPods .
My mind races around things like that when I’m driving…at home I’m racing around the internet when I’m not doing something else like quilting or housework. I’m going to jump on that band-wagon about keeping a journal for your grandchild. I have a 2-yr old grandson, my daughter’s child, and an almost 14-yr old son, so you know the things they have/only know of that didn’t exist back in the early 50s when I was born. And my grandma didn’t even have an indoor toilet – during the cold time of year or at night, she had an enamel pot in the bathroom! So be careful about buying old large enamel pots at yard sales & flea markets – they may have been used for real waste products.
Eeeheww! LOL! I never even thought about that one before!
Ranch Wife says
The good ol’ days! My FIL helps us a couple of days a week on the ranch and it’s been fun for us and the kids to spend time with him and hear his stories. No ice maker or dishwasher here and it wasn’t too long ago that we still had a party line, but we are still spoiled. I love your journal idea for Adalina – she will love hearing about ‘back in the day’!
Linda in NE says
I often have those same thoughts when doing something quiet like sewing or quilting. I actually remember some of the “good old days” like no indoor plumbing, no bathroom, carrying water in and out, no phone, my mom & grandma cooking on a three-burner kerosene stove in the summer, the wringer washer & rinse tubs taking up half the house on laundry day, only having wood heat and waking up to an icey cold house in the winter. I much prefer the modern conveniences of today. I feel totally lost when the power is out or the Internet is down and I can’t look up whatever information I need. I think I’d go a little stir crazy if I had to be without it permanently.
Yes, I often think about my Grandma’s world, too. She didn’t have a grocery – they lived on a farm. She made it all from the garden to butchering the animals. Some cheese was purchased, but that was direct from the cheesemaker who bought their milk. There was no refrigeration… the iceman came and delivered a big chunk. My Dad was one when my parents were first married, and I wasn’t yet.
Grandma had an outhouse. No A/C, no carpeting, no heat upstairs. The basement stored the canned items she put up… very few cupboards in the kitchen. They did have electricity in their house which was built by my Grandfather, but my Hubby’s Grands did not have electricity, until he was 10.
Grandma never went to school after 3rd grade… she was needed at home to help her Mom with all the chores… she was the only girl and had 7 brothers. She never learned to drive.
I would bet that she would be happy that I quilt, but very disappointed that I read blogs half the day.
Oh, yes, I do think about the generational difference. I wonder if my grands even know what we did without. They are shocked when we tell about “No Internet” Whaaaaaaaaat? How could you exist? LOL
Donna in KS says
Having grandchildren from the age of 22 to 2, they remember some of these different things just from our being the grandparents. They know we didn’t always have a computer, let alone two of the time-consumers! But when I talk about my family not having a TV until I was in the fifth grade, they absolutely become nearly apoplectic! and that their dads remember getting color TV! Our two oldest grands mention, frequently, gratitude at our having and using cell phones and texting. It’s what keeps us in close touch with them. Why wouldn’t we use this convenience? But I also knew a slower way of life, when just making a long-distance phone call was an extravagance, party lines, etc. Thankfully, in our sons homes, phone calls are not taken during mealtime. Judy, my mind can wander at any time…..so far I am thankful, it does always come home! The journal for Adalina will be a wonderful gift.
What an awesome idea!
Sue in Scottsdale, AZ says
Judy, I’m 63 and the changes I’ve seen are enormous. I remember using a hairdryer like the one you described your Grandma had. I learned to type on a manual typewriter and using carbon paper – kids today have probably never seen carbon paper. I was a teacher and I used a “ditto” machine and a Gestetner machine to make copies. We had to type on a “stencil” to cut out what we wanted copied and then put it on the rotary drum and turn the handle to get the ink to squeeze through onto the paper. We had one TV in our house and I remember when we got our first colored TV – it was a couple days before Thanksgiving and everyone from the neighborhood came over to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade! Oh my, I really do think life was so much simpler back in the 50s and 60s. I definitely agree with others when they say they used to get more done before computers and the Internet. I spend too much time online! Also, computers were supposed to save paper but I seem to have more paper sitting around then I ever had. We had no fast food chains until I was a teenager. There was nothing instant and we spoke to an “Operator” to make a long-distance phone call. Oh how things have changed. Thanks for bringing up all these memories!
Ruth C says
I love Sonic ice! Our Ikea has that kind of ice too. It’s too bad the machines are so expensive; I’d love to have that kind of ice at home too.
I still remember my grandma had one of those washers that had the wringer you had to run the clothes through. And probably didn’t have a dryer. My mom put our clothes on the clothesline most of the time and now we don’t even have one (though I want to get one). My grandma was on a party line, too, which I found curious because we never had one. Now I don’t even have a land line.
One thing I notice is that there is no need to memorize anything these days. I couldn’t tell you my dd phone number – I just hit one button on my cell phone. Any info you look up, you can look up again very quickly. I guess that frees our minds up to store other stuff. But as a high school math teacher, I really see how it impacts student learning. The brains of the young generation really do function differently – scientific studies have shown this.
Sometimes I think about my grandma and how she was born in a log cabin in 1894 and lived to see men on the moon. Boggles my mind for sure. My parents lived on farms without electricity when young and “helped” plow the fields with horses. My dad recalls the doctor doing an appendectomy on the neighbor kid on the dining room table. My husband went to a one room schoolhouse through the 8th grade. I am a bit taken aback when someone talks about learning about the Kennedy assassination in history class along with the Vietnam War. I never expected to fly on an airplane ever, but now do it regularly. I cannot imagine what our grandchildren might experience.
Judy, just think of this. You are writing (longhand) a journel that someday your granddaughter might wonder why you just didn’t put it on a cd and let it go like that. I have heard talk about schools taking out cursive writing because everything is done by computers now. You may be passing down something that may not exist by the time your little one is in her 20’s.
My earliest recollection of a telephone was the black one on a table in our hallway. It was wired into the wall. It had no dial. It had no buttons. Our phone number was something like 621M. You picked up the receiver told the operator who you wanted (or their number) and the operator rang the phone in the place you wanted to call. (Like on the Andy Griffith Show reruns!) We were on a party line. Each household on our line had it’s own special ring, say two shorts and a long. Even if the call wasn’t for you, you could pick up the phone and listen in on the conversation! I assume you could also join in the conversation, but I don’t remember ever doing that!
Sara in AL says
While waiting for the predicted storm to arrive, we watched it’s progress on the radar on the internet. I thought how much my Grandfather and Great Grandfather would have appreciated having that information. They were farmers (Granddaddy was a part-time farmer, he also taught school and sold insurance to make ends meet.). They would have not had any idea that a storm was even near.
Judy, may I suggest that you also include in your journal the books that you are reading? I saw somewhere a comment by a young lady that her Mother had kept a journal while she was pregnant with her, and she had included the books she read. The young lady said that she read every book and treasured them knowing that she was reading the same ones.
Great idea about the journal. When my grandmother was about 95, my brother asked her to tell his kids what her Christmases were like when she was a kid about their ages which was less than 13. It was interesting to my brothers and me too. Things really change.
JoAn GODFREY says
my grandmother was born in 1878 and died in 1971. she traveled by horse and buggy when growing up and saw men on the moon before she died!!! what a change in 1 long lifetime!!! i really don’t think she would be shocked at the changes now, with what she saw. she would love the rotary cutter and the new machines. i don’t think she would do any machine quilting….only hand quilting.