Title: How Things Have Changed In My Lifetime
Tags: Memories, friendship, changes
Blog Entry: Recently, I was able to celebrate another birthday. I was amazed, grateful, and blessed with the many greetings and celebratory comments that I received, not only from family and longtime friends but from ‘cyber friends’ that I will never meet in person but have become precious friends, here on The Hill and on FB. When we keep adding candles on our birthday cake, we get far too comfortable in our ‘normal’ way of life. We’ve enjoyed independent living without the responsibilities of growing children; we’ve enjoyed our own timetables for when we eat, when we sleep, what we want to watch on TV, what genre of music that we can listen to without receiving ‘rude’ remarks of the younger members of the family. For my husband and I, we are still enjoying country living, and have informed our neighbors that they are stuck with us until the ‘Handi-bus’ has to come and pick us up. At the same time, so many things have changed that we have had no control over. I can think of so many things that have changed in my life, but for now, I will share only three in this blog. Perhaps it will trigger some memories for those who read this, and I will be pleased if you share something in your comments. When I started school, it was about a 6 mile trip from home. My dad would take me on his saddle horse when the weather was good, and on a ‘stone boat’ pulled by draft horses in the winter, along with the kids from our nearest neighbors. There were nine grades in the one-room school and Mom packed a lunch for me in a Roger’s Golden Syrup can. Each student had a tin cup with our name on it so that we could drink water that we pumped from the well behind the school. When we moved to the city, I was in grade three and I could walk a half block to school and go home for lunch. In Junior High School (grades 7 to 9) I walked ten blocks with friends and went home for lunch when the weather was tolerable. If there was a snow storm or heavy rain, we took lunch with us to school. My high school was too far for me to walk, so I took the city transit bus, and sometimes would stop at the fish and chip shop near my bus stop for a small order of chips (aka French fries) wrapped in newspaper and smothered with malt vinegar and salt. Shopping has changed drastically. On the farm, we would travel about five miles in the opposite direction of my school to our town that consisted of three grain elevators, two houses, and a general store and post office operated by Mike. He didn’t have a family and lived in the back of the store, but had a way of spoiling any of us kids who came to town with our parents. He had one gas pump by the front door that Dad would have to first pump to fill the site glass with the amount of gas he wished to purchase. Mike only carried “necessary” items in his store… mitts and gloves for all members of the family, rubber boots, and occasionally, a few bolts of cloth material for mothers to sew clothes for the children. If Mike remembered to order Corn Flakes or Rice Crispies, it would be on the top shelf and he would have to use a stick to knock it down for the customer. A real treat was when he would slice off a sliver of cheddar cheese from a large round ‘wheel of cheese’ that came from the Mennonite Colony a few miles away. I can’t remember if he ever had any candy in his store; most families made toffee and fudge at home. The majority of family shopping was through the Sears’ catalog, especially for Christmas, and we would mark items for our ‘wish list’, hoping that Santa would bring us at least one of the items. My ethnic heritage is German and the language was often spoken in our home with my grandparents, but soon forgotten when my grandparents were no longer living. In the city, I remember only two Chinese students in my high school, and the first black family we met lived across the back alley from us. The father was a football player, known as ‘Sugerfoot’ Anderson, which was his professional name. They didn’t mix with the neighborhood but were cordial and friendly if we met them on the street. For those of us who were born and raised in North America and other countries where “freedom reigns”, do we welcome newcomers with open hearts and minds or do we tend to think “not in my backyard”? Do we want everything to be the way it was, even though so much has changed in our lifetime? Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are inherited privileges, but adapting to the culture and law of a country who welcome the newcomers is also to be expected. How are you handling the changes in your life?