I often wonder if it’s the curse of my generation (I’m in my forties) to feel as if I’m bouncin’ between the past and the present. I don’t belong – neither here nor there. While my mind easily drifts to how they did things back in the day, I do enjoy certain things in the Present World like…
- Technology – an information highway, a universe of information just a click away.
- Plumbing – I love bein’ able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and not up some icy hill to an Outhouse in the dead of winter.
- Central Air
- Runnin’ Water–Hello!
- Freezers & Refrigerators– Ice machines are my winnin’ lottery ticket
Yet, even as I type away on my beloved and very much appreciated computer, I can’t help but long for the simplicity of yesterday, too. I long for the old recipes our Elders perfected, Smoke Houses, Homemade Soap, raisin’ my own Food, Growin’ a garden. I miss showin’ up in public wearin’ a pair of cut off shorts and that be totally acceptable. No one gave a damn what Brand my shorts were.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that those gals, way back when, burned their bras and slowly but surely, women could be career girls because of it. But I also cringe with sadness because now we have to feel guilty or lazy if we want to stay home and raise our babies. The term Career doesn’t apply even if a woman wants to make one out of raisin’ a Family, keepin’ up a Home and everything that entails. I love the fact that we have or can fight for equality but hate the fact that now, we can’t even make a plate for our other halfs durin’ Supper without feelin’ a kick to our pride. Love the fact that I run the show here at home but hate the fact that sometimes, I’m often chained down by it.
See? Can’t help but feel neither here nor there. And yet I am always seeking the perfect balance, trying to avoid those who demand its all or nothing one way or another—gotta be all extreme!
I was reading a book this weekend called, The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, by Nicole Faires. Its an Encyclopedia of Independent Living. Within’ the first few pages, she talks about the History of Homesteading. In short, 1862, during the Civil War, Congress passed the Homestead Act. Before this act, people couldn’t afford to move out West, much less buy land. Thanks to the Government, though, a new deal was thrown on the table. As long as you were 21 years old, didn’t matter if you were male or female, you could lay claim to 160 acres of public land—FREE. The deal was, though, you had to build a house on it. Had to dig yourself a well. Had to plow some fields and live there for a total of 5 years. if you did, then the Government would just GIVE IT TO YOU. According to this book, more perks came into play. If you planted trees, then by gosh, you could have another 260 acres. And if you were open to living in the desert, you could get 640 acres.
Now mind you, just makin’ the trip out West alive wasn’t guaranteed. The trip was hard and dangerous. If Mother Nature didn’t get you, Indians and whatever else would or could. Then, just living in the middle of nowhere, clearing and shaping a piece of property by hand and out of scratch, well could you imagine? Seriously?
If you needed lumber, you didn’t just make a trip to Lowes, folks. If you needed Food, then you had three options—Hunt it, Raise it, Grow it. If you ran out of food in the dead of Winter, no trip to the local Grocery to grab a few cans and if you got sick or was birthin’ a baby (NO PAIN MEDS!!!) , no Doctor, no Medical Leave… did I say, NO pain medicine! These were the days a woman worked in a field nine months pregnant, dropped the kid right there and then continued to work!
This would be the – Neither Here nor There—bit. I try to get back to a “little” bit of how they did things but I sure appreciate the fact that when I had my three children, because of current –day- pain medicine, I didn’t have to feel it, lol. I like the fact that if I need lumber, I can pop on over to Lowes or Home Depot. If I had to wait on my husband to actually make lumber, Id NEVER get anything done and lets face it, getting’ him to do his “Honey-Do” List NOW, is a chore and challenge all on it’s own.
Honestly, I like mixing two worlds – the then and now. I like making Homemade Laundry Soap but I appreciate the fact I can go “buy” the ingredients at a Store. I like Canning what I grow in the Garden but I like the fact that I can “buy” Mason Jars when I need them. I like the fact that I can throw meat in a Freezer—a Freezer that runs all year long and if the sucker blows up, I can run into town and buy a new one. I like having a Cellphone when I’m driving, in case I break down or the kids need me. I hate having it when I’m tryin’ to sit everyone down for a Family Meal or tryin’ to get someone to pay attention to what I’m sayin’….(Yet, their face is glued to their dang phone.)
I bring this up because again, when someone joins a group or forum hopin’ to find likeminded individuals, all we ever seem to come across is those who are livin’ it to the extreme. It’s like bringin’ an air mattress when you go campin’. Sure enough, someone will always pop up and say, “That’s not campin’.”
Surely, I can’t be the only one who is Neither here nor There. Who enjoys mixing a little of yesterday was some of today. Am I? Or perhaps I’m feelin’ rather nostalgic and am thinkin’ too much out loud. smiles