Remember When

Nostalgia is one of those things I always associate with older people. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an older person, but I've always had a fascination with things from the not too distant past.

When I was growing up, at least half of the adult males I knew were World War I veterans. I loved listening to their stories about the Great War. You might say I was a bit of a history buff.

Where I grew up, we were less than an hour from half a dozen or more Civil War battlefields. The school, parks and most city buildings in my hometown were built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), a program of the New Deal that provided jobs during the Great Depression.

My favorite books were about the flying aces of WWI and I still love the old biplanes. The Golden Age of Aviation fascinated me: the air racing, the aerobatics and the barnstormers.

The modern milking machines and stainless steel milk tanks of modern farming never interested me as much as the wooden stanchions, Dutch doors and hand cranked cream separator of our old milk barn.

Recently I've subscribed to a couple of farming/country living magazines, Grit and Capper's Farmer--revivals of publications from the past hundred years, that have a mix of current articles and nostalgia features. While I gain useful information for my own gardening and homesteading efforts, I'm really enjoying all the glances back at a different time. You notice I didn't say simpler. I believe that all of our modern conveniences have been a result of trying to make life simpler, even if it wouldn't seem like it for someone from the past.

Would I go back to the old days? I'm more realistic than that. There are a few things I might like better, but I realize that life was tough then and always is. On the other hand, I might like to travel back in time and buy a nice big piece of farm land with today's money at yesterday's prices.

Stephen P.


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