Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Good Ol' Days

I’m not really sure where this post is coming from.  Thoughts have just been tumbling around in my brain for a while, and I thought it would be good to get them out and perhaps share with someone.  I don’t even know where this thought process started.  Somehow, it led to this statement and a question.  When were the good ol’ days, really?  I can’t help but think of this lady. 

My Granny with her big sister, Doris, as a little girl.

My Granny with her sweet, adoring husband on the farm they called home.

Granny holding my firstborn son the year that she turned 90 and then passed away.

She’s my Granny.  I am sure I heard this saying the most from her when she talked of life when she was younger.  She was born in 1917 and lived to the ripe old age of 90.  She was one tough cookie who enjoyed life right to the end.  She would describe her childhood growing up on a farm in good ol’ Eastern NC as the good ol’ days and described memories of sitting out in her yard with her family in the evenings (hard packed dirt and not the lush green grass we have become accustomed to…and quite frankly spend a lot of money to maintain).  Chickens ran free in the yard.  You could actually see them under the house through the planks in the floors.  She wore sack cloth dresses and went barefoot with all of her siblings.  They lived on a farm.  She learned to work hard from the earliest age.  They were “dirt” poor.  Does this sound like the good ol’ days to anyone?  I guess times were simpler, and they just appreciated the little things more.  Time with family and friends was precious.  Maybe it was the food?  Boy, could that lady cook!  Homemade everything…most of it grown or raised on the very farm on which they lived (oh and they didn’t worry too much about cancer back then either…I wonder why?).  I used to love watching her wrinkled and sun-splotched hands work a bowl of flour and buttermilk to make the most delicious biscuits.  I really wish I had learned to do that.  She described the period she grew up in as the good ol’ days.  The 1920s and 30s!   Really?  Didn’t we learn in History class about the dreadful Great Depression?  And the two World Wars that followed?  People were poor, unemployed, and starving.  That doesn’t sound very good to me.  I guess her family was already so poor and thrived mostly off what they grew and raised themselves so the Great Depression really did not reach their little corner of the world.  Sometimes, I wish I could have lived in these simpler times where time seemed to pass a little slower. 


Then, I think of the opportunities I have; that my children have.  Sure, we are always busy.  But mostly, I think we are busy because of the choices we make in how we live our lives.  We don’t have to spend every hour of every day working just to provide for our basic needs.  We read for fun, play sports, watch television shows that are often mindless and just plain dumb, go to school to better ourselves and hopefully move up in the world, and just fill our spare time with whatever extracurricular activities we choose.  Sure, we work but not just to feed our families.  The American Dream used to be two acres and a mule.  Now, its two acres; a big house; maybe another house in some vacation mecca; a couple of expensive cars in the driveway; a closet full of expensive clothes, shoes, and accessories; traveling; early retirement; and maybe after all that’s accomplished we marry that showcase perfect husband or wife and have a couple of kids (in my area, its three or four kids).  I guess I wonder a lot about where the appreciation for life’s simpler pleasures went.  The media doesn’t help much with that. 

I love the opportunities that I have for my children today, but what does it really cost us?  I want my children to grow up to be successful in life, but I mostly want them to be kind and caring individuals who know how to appreciate the treasures of home, family, and memories shared together.  I think everyone who chooses to become parents has a goal in mind as to what kind of parent they want to be and what they want to give their children.  When my husband and I decided it was time to have children, we discussed our goals.  I explained that my main goal was to give my children a childhood that would be so packed with wonderful and fun memories that it would follow them for the rest of their lives.  I guess what I really wanted for them was for them to be like my Granny.  When they grow up, I want them to say “Those were the good ol’ days!”  When they look back on this time, I don’t want them to remember the great financial crisis and struggles that threatened the country or the constant stream of sad and terrible newsworthy events.  I just want them to remember happier and “simpler” times!


  1. Oh, this is such a wonderful post!!!! Am I crazy or do you favor your grandmother?

    Honestly, this is something I think about a lot too. It's nice that we live in a different time, where things are so readily available. But, I yearn sometimes for things to be simpler. I wonder when my children are older, will it be a necessity to have name brand clothes, etc.? I miss the days of kids being kids. We saw a less than 10 year old with an iPhone yesterday. Seriously, is that necessary??

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. I hate to admit it but I'm a little sad that my kids will never know that whole going to grandma's house and enjoying this cooking that tastes like it was sent down from heaven above. Believe me, you mentioned biscuits and I knew exactly what you were talking about.

  2. That's a sweet compliment about me and my grandmother, Valerie, and I'll take it...although technically I'm adopted! ;-) She loved me as good as any grandmother could though. Yes, I worry about my kids wanting the "stuff" all their friends will have too. Yikes...cell phones for eight year old's? Crazy! Even when I was a teenager, I was extremely grateful that my parents got me a car when I graduated high school...although I guess it was necessary to get me to college and back home again. All I can hope is that I give the boys enough of the simple joys to teach them what is really important!


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