I have been told that I have a gift for remembering and writing of a time long ago, of how it was in the days of old.

I have heard people say that you can never go back, and that is true in the physical theme. But you can remember those things that you and your grandparents had to go through just to have food to eat, warmth for your body, and a home to live in.

The work that each one of us had to do to make it was hard but fruitful. Just take the time to think about what your grandparents had to do. It took each member of the family to do those things that were needed in order for the family to survive.

Water for many came from a creek, and they had to go down each day and bring that water back to drink, cook with, and to wash with. Clothes were washed in cold water unless they had a fire to heat the water in a washtub. Going to bed after all the chores were done and pulling all the blankets onto your body to keep warm, because what heat there was would soon go out and have to be started all over the next morning.

Some people were fortunate enough to have a well on their land. Using a hoist and bucket, they were able to have water when they needed it. Food was mostly grown by each family, and livestock was taken care of for their meat. Clothing was made from animal skins or from cotton spooned on a spinning wheel.

As time went by, some luxuries came to be, such as iceboxes that held a block of ice to keep foods from spoiling. Coal stoves and wood stoves were used for warmth and cooking. Washboards were used to take out bad stains. Clothes were hung on a clothes line held up with a long pole to keep them from touching the ground.

Then as time took on progress, electricity came to be and light bulbs were used to light up the homes. Washing machines came out using that electrical power, and radios were brought forth where you could hear the news that you would not have gotten unless you came to town and got together with friends.

And with all the new things coming forth, it still took all the family to survive. It took a long time before inside toilets came to be, and that was one thing that was an important part of the new generation. Think about how cold it was to have to go out to the outhouse. It seemed like the trip back to the house was longer than the trip to that outhouse.

In my family, we had to take our baths in a large washtub filled with water heated on the big wood stove in the kitchen. When we got up in the morning, one of us had already gotten the stove started. We listened to our radio for the news, the fights, and the great half-hour programs like “The Green Hornet,” “The Lone Ranger,” George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Just think about how cold it was in the house with heat in only one room. The rest of the house was very cold. In the mornings, there was ice on top of the blankets and trying to crawl out of a bed that had a feather mattress was a chore to behold.

In today’s world, we have nice, heated homes in the winter and cool ones in the summer. Our fridges are made so that ice cubes are there when you want them. Our bathrooms have toilets that flush and refill. Water heaters give us our bath water.

Yes, folks, you can go back, but most want to forget. Not this guy. Knowing where I came from tells me where I am going. Thank goodness.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day of Kokomo is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. He can be reached by e-mail at uncleray@earthlink.net.

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