68 Years and Counting
Well, ya'll come on in and sit a spell and listen to a tale. A tale of an older lady who has seen a lot in her 68 years. Some of what I have seen is good, some great and some I never imagined and I don't long for the "olden days." I like today, warts and all.
68 years ago I was born in Mullins SC to Ottis and Tootsie Polk at some hospital up there. I don't remember a whole lot about it but mama said daddy was tickled to have a "baby girl" and when he died at 94, I was still his "baby girl." They had lost a little boy before birth so I was actually the second child but the first to live and make their life different.
Daddy and mama were living a very active, young couple's life style and I am sure I put a kink in that style. Mama had to quit jitterbugging for a while down at Myrtle Beach but she said I was worth it. Daddy had to become the responsible father and he did a great job. They were special parents and I am so blessed they birthed and raised me.
We moved from SC to Selma, AL when I was 9 months old so I don't remember a whole lot about it and then they moved to Camden, AL a few months later. Daddy was the new Soil Conservationist and mama was his young, beautiful wife. This is where I grew up and lived until I was about 23 and then Roy and I have lived in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and back to Georgia and here we are. Never dreamed I would live in that many places but I have enjoyed every one of them.
As I think back over the years, it is amazing how the world has changed. I don't remember a whole lot before age 6 but I vividly remember beginning school and how it changed my life. School was a wonderful place to be for I had a teacher who taught me to read and friends to play with. Reading became my passion and it eventually led me to be a school media specialist. "Miss Elise" never knew what an impact she had on my life but she made learning exciting and it still is.
We moved into the house where I was mostly raised when I was almost 7 and that is home. I remember we had 1 car - a gray Chrysler with a running board, roll down windows, radio, no air conditioning but did have a heater. I never imagined having a car with automatic transmission, AC/Heat, radio, CD, automatic windows and etc. and etc. Do I wish for the old Chrysler - no way. But how cars have changed!
Our new home was a basic house with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath with only running water in the lavatory, kitchen with running water in the sink, small hall with a coal burning heater, and the living room. Not a lot but it was a warm and loving home to us. We had a toilet up in the pasture for a couple of years, heated bath water on the stove, washed our clothes with a wringer type washing machine, and a great big window fan to cool us in the summer.
Daddy worked in town but we farmed also. We had cows, chickens, 1 horse for awhile, rabbits occasionally, dog , cats at the barn and a great big garden and sometimes 2. We raised fields of corn, peaches, apples, pears, pecans, strawberries and all kinds of vegetables. Mama canned everything daddy grew and we ate like royalty. Of course we all worked to help raise all of this but it was worth it for we learned to be self sufficient.
No TV, telephone, cell phone, computer, or any other "mind grabber" electronics. We did have a radio that played music, soap operas, Arthur Godfrey talk show, The Grand Old Opry, news 2 times a day, and dramas like The Lone Ranger, Inner Sanctum with the creaking door, sound, The Green Hornet and others I can't remember. I am older now and the memory is not what it used to be but it never was great. The radio sat on top of the refrigerator and brought parts of the world to us.
When it became available, we got A telephone. We had to wait until they ran the lines out in the country where we lived and it took awhile. We were part of a "party line" which meant there were about 10 people on the 1 line and we could listen in on each other's conversations. Each family had a special ring and when you were talking and someone else wanted to use it, they would often pick up the receiver, hear people talking and listen. You were supposed to quietly put the receiver down and wait but we had one lady down the road who would listen in on all the conversations. Then she had to tell everybody else and that is how "gossip" began. You never said anything on the phone you didn't want the whole world to know, kinda like Facebook.
That is about all the entertainment we had, so what did we do? Well, we had board games, card games, toys to play with and books to read. I wrote plays and made the boys help me entertain our parents by presenting it to them. They didn't mind until I made them dress up like girls. This was not too much fun for them except occasionally Arvin would begin to act like a little girl, switch his little butt and prance across the "stage" and crack us up. We were quite creative with the costumes - usually from mama's closet.
We would sit around the eating table in the kitchen for hours after a meal, talking, listening to each other, listening to the radio, I would be reading and mama would usually be sewing. It was not boring for we entertained each other. Then it was bath time, daily Bible reading and prayer and off to bed. It would be a full day and we would be tired for we would have played outside all day.
Eventually we got a record player, TV much later, Arvin played the trumpet, I played the piano, and Sam played the trombone. We had lots of music at our home and sometimes we would have 2 playing at one time. I remember the dog would sit outside an howl at the racket. We got pretty good with these instruments and Sam now plays in a volunteer band in Arlington, TX and I play the keyboard occasionally. I used play for church services in Camden but now it is only for my ears and pleasure.
Later we added a jeep to our transportation, washing machine, deep freezer, and other "modern appliances." It was a fairly simple life but a good one which taught us how to be self sufficient, take care of ourselves and our families, entertain ourselves, be comfortable alone, and how to give love and share with others. In fact, Sam and I prefer to be alone at times and like it that way. Thank goodness our spouses understand and leave us alone.
College, marriage, children, young adult years, middle age and now a senior citizen. How it has changed - some good and some not so good. We have 3 telephones, 2 cell phones, TV, DVD, VCR, AC, heat, all appliances we need, 2 laptops, wireless Internet, etc. and etc. The amazing fact is that I can use all of it. I blog, Facebook, troubleshoot and repair our laptops, hooked up our wireless router and Roku box for Netflix, and can use a stove and dishwasher. What a drastic change from 68 years ago.
I can talk to people around the world on Skype and see them while I am talking to them. I have traveled to Europe and South America plus Canada. Flying on a plane is not new anymore and can be a pain but it holds no mystery for me anymore. We stay in hotels, motels, and eat at many types of restaurants and it is not too special anymore. Did I ever think I would live like this? No way for that was a foreign world to us in rural Alabama.
Is the world different? You know it is. Is it better? I think so. Is it worse? I don't think so, but we do hear about it 24/7 if we want to. Do I want to return to the past? NO, for I like my conveniences and don't take my laptop from me for I would be lost. Life is what we make of it and in 68 years I have learned to not look for the worst but the best, not the negative but the positive but most of all remember that our Heavenly Father, the God Almighty, The Creator of the World and the LORD of All is in control and I don't have to worry about it. He can take care of me and the world without me worrying about it. Comforting isn't it?
Now I know you thought I was never going to stop rambling around about nothing but I'm through. I'm tired and going to bed. Ya'll be careful going home and come back to see us on the 'Net.
The Georgia Peach
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