Friday, October 16, 2015

My View #125 - What a Long Road

Letty on her 101st Birthday

Letty originally titled this view "MY LAST VIEW," but as you will see, it was far from her last.

What a long trip, on my road of life. I never thought I would live this many years. Sometimes life is very kind to you, and sometimes the opposite is true.

Books teach us history, we read about what life was like, in "ancient" time, but to live at a time, when we look back and see some of it, is very strange to me. Not that I am ancient, but I feel ancient sometimes. This is not the whole story. We are what we are, wanderers in a strange land. So stop and think a minute, as year 95 of my life approaches, some things of my early life, stay with me.

We were raised in a very British family with all the British traditions, viz. clothing and education, courtesy, food, music, and church and speech, rules of conduct at home and away. We children were happy in this and it stays with you, all your life, no matter how you try to change things. I have written elsewhere about some of these episodes I remember, I have a few more here.

Listen to old people, you could learn something that could help you in your life. Helping brush my Mom's long hair, when she had time to spare. When I was sick in bed, Mom gave me her scrapbook or photo album, to read (I wish I had it now) and look at. We had a close bond, I loved, and never forgot. Mom never used make-up, only lavender Water and always nice handkerchiefs (I still have one or two.) I don't ever remember Mom spanking or hitting any of us kids, at any time (what patience,) she wasn't the hitter kind. Lucky we were.

Courtesy for visitors was high on her list of gifts she handed on to all of us. My brother, one time, didn't feel so one night. Aunt Norma Coulter came after supper one evening, an irritating woman, seeking advice or other, staying till 11 p.m.
"I can't go home alone at this hour," she said. Mom offered her to stay all night (my Dad was at work) and Aunt Norma said, "Could Charles walk me home?" At his late hour, we kids were all in bed. Mom spoke to Charles and he was mad. "This will never happen again, I promise, do it for me, dear," said Mom. So Charles got dressed and took her home. He was 16 and so mad, he said he hated Aunt Norma. "Hate is an awful word, dear, it destroys confidence, and that won't do," said Mom.

Playing nurse was fun, but when Mary my sister got sick, fun was missing. A wisdom tooth, removed a few days earlier, proved this point. Mary was 17 and woke in pain with a fever. The doctor came and told her to stay in bed and Mom and I had to use hot fomentations on her right jaw and face. Up and down stairs all day and night, for four days and nights, and Mary in awful pain. She couldn't eat, just liquid with a straw, she couldn't even talk. The doctor came often and said he feared lock-jaw (tetanus.) After another long week she got better, very thin, able to eat a bit then. I learned a lot at that time, how to help someone, by having courage in the face of fear. My courage is still there, to face whatever comes up.

Clothing is an interesting part of living, what? Changes I have seen and remember. My Mother looked lovely in her best Sunday "duds," with her long dress, shawl, and big lovely hat. In summer it was light coloured, with flowers on it, in winter usually navy straw or black felt. Laced shoes or boots. Dresses long and pretty. This I have seen myself, when 4 or 5 years old, after the First World War. No TVs, phones, or radios in those days. Everything changed, mostly for the better, after this war. Light corsets, shorter clothes, and hats, that were so important to a woman, were much smaller.
British women in 1918. Photo BBC/UK

Education was very thorough and you had to behave yourself and respect others, or get a reprimand or leave. Before you were 7 years old you could read well.

Sunday was always a special day, you had clothes, shoes and gloves you only wore on Sunday. Always a roast beef dinner, maybe company, and music and lots of tea and talk, later in the day.

Now life is so different in every way. After the Second World War many more changes came, mostly in the scientific circle of living. It has been very educational, scary, wonderful, helpful and in many instances bad, and a pain in the neck.

The next 50 years should be interesting, and I won't be around to see it all. Hooray!! And we well might wonder what events come next. Good luck!

A Tribute: My last View to Mom and Dad, hard workers, poor, humble, strict, generous, happy, always tidy, and never turned down anyone who needed a helping hand. We sure were lucky kids.

Love from Letty
June 25, 2008