Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 23, 2013

DAY: Inventions made life a bit better

By Ray Day
Tribune columnist

— Remembering the past is a favorite hobby of mine. It gives me pleasure to relate to you, the reader, all the things my generation and those before me did to survive in a time that will go down in history as the Greatest Generation.

Maybe those readers of today want to hear or read about more, so I will continue to dig down in my bank of memories and bring them forth to you.

In today’s world, one would not think it was possible to survive without gas cooking stoves, electric refrigerators and freezers, electric washers and dryers, and running water and toilet facilities inside the house. Well, that was part of life for those who lived before me and even some in my generation.

Believe it or not, in my day there were many who still used outdoor toilets and water pumps outside. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well, that is what was normal for generations before me, and I usually got my information about those days of old from the older generation — and, by George, you could take that information to the bank, as today’s people would say.

Think about going to the creek to wash your dirty clothes. Think about going to that little building out in the yard to take care of nature when needed. Oh yes, it wasn’t easy for those before me. But the things they had to do turned out to be the reasons that newer situations were thought of and created so that my generation had a somewhat easier time of life as it was — and then we thought and created newer ways of making life better and easier so that today’s generation might enjoy life without the hardships that my elders had to endure.

Are we better today than we were in the old days? Well, yes and no. We have all the easy ways of doing everyday chores, but do we appreciate it? Do we really care how hard it was for our elders back in those times where families were close knit? Could we have endured such a hard way of life as it was for them?

What I am getting at is this: Where would we be if none of those improvements were made? Could we do without a warm furnace when it is very cold outside? Could we do without the cooling from air conditioners when it is so hot outside? And could we survive as the people on the East Coast, who have had to endure the worst of situations, as their homes were demolished by high water and wind?

Just the other day, 4,000 people were out having fun on a cruise and they lost power, thus putting them in a situation of living in body waste and hot sun, along with not having enough food to get by with. They suffered a time of turmoil because they were not prepared for having to resort to how it was in the old days, before someone came along and said, “Let’s make life better and easier by inventing an answer to how to survive in the most terrible times of turmoil.”

As we go from day to day, we ask ourselves, “How can I do something that will not only benefit me but also all people of this land?” Most of us will sit back and be content with life as it passes us by. Others will look for ways to improve life for all.

So when you tell others to forget the past and live only for today, you lose, because what came forth from the past continues today, with thoughts of making it a little better for all and not just a few.

I am thankful for what the generations before me did for those who will come later. Look up and then out so that you can get a full picture of life as it was, as it is, and how it could be — if we only cared about those who follow us.

Yes, I will continue to write about the days of old until that time when I can’t anymore. I hope that you read my thoughts each week.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.