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Jeffery Trzeciak, 3, grimaces before receiving his
IHEARD a guy
"I just wish we could go back to the time before we had electricity and all this technical stuff," he said.
Then the man uttered two sentences that I suppose I have heard a thousand times over the years.
"Life was so simple 100 years ago," he said. "Those were the good old days."
Those good old days! How we long for them again. How we wish we could just go back to about 1900 and bask
I've talked to plenty of people who remembered those days well and told me all about them. Here are a few of their recollections.
Women didn't shave their underarms or legs back in the good old days and most people, especially in the country, didn't take a bath between the first frost of fall and the last frost of spring.
Few people brushed their teeth and the only time someone went to the dentist was to have a tooth pulled. Little kids' teeth rotted out and adults had either lost all their teeth or were snaggle-toothed by the time they were 50.
Some people got dentures when they lost their teeth but even those who did seldom wore them except to preaching on Sunday or to funerals. Why? They never fit right. Mostly those false teeth were kept in a jar of water in a kitchen cabinet.
Few if any roads were paved and when it rained or snowed you were up to your wagon hubs in mud.
Since there were few bridges on country roads, when it rained really hard you couldn't ford the creeks and you were stuck until the water level dropped--in maybe two
What if you needed a doctor while the creek was up? Well, too bad. Just like you, the doctor had to wait until the water went down to get to your home. Of course, when he got there his expertise was limited.
There were no antibiotics and if you had pneumonia or some other disease that is highly treatable today, well, you probably died.
There were no preventative shots back in the good old days and children routinely died of any number of diseases that we don't even hear about today.
Then there was polio, which left kids crippled, and tuberculosis, which killed both children and adults.
Childhood mortality was high even into the 1930s and 1940s. The couple that lived across the road from us when I was a boy had 16 children. Eight died before they were 6 years old.
Yep! Those were the good old days.
There was no insulation in houses back in those golden times--and no central heat or air conditioning. You burned up in the summer and froze in the winter.
No homes in the country had indoor plumbing so you went outside 50 yards to the privy in the daytime and kept a slop jar under your bed at night. And you used the slop jar in the presence of whoever happened to share the room with you. That's the way it was back in those good old days.
To keep warm you cut and split wood (unless you had access to coal) to keep your fire going, and in the winter every time you got up to use the slop jar you went to the kitchen and threw another chunk of wood on the fire.
The kitchen was usually the only room that was heated, so this was where the family gathered each night to read or maybe play cards by lamplight. That was about the extent of any in-home entertainment.
Of course, you could walk a mile or two to the country store and talk, but then you also had to walk
You didn't go down to the supermarket to buy a chicken for Sunday dinner. You caught one in the backyard and chopped his head off. Then you had to pluck the feathers and disembowel the bird before cooking it.
Every morning and night--seven days a week--you had to milk the cow, feed the chickens and slop the hogs. If you didn't, there was no milk, eggs or sausage and bacon for breakfast.
To get to town--which you might do only once a week--you either walked or caught and harnessed the horse and drove there in a wagon or buggy. To keep your feet warm in the winter you heated a rock and stuck it in the floor
Coming home at night you couldn't see and trusted your horse's eyesight. And you prayed that he didn't get spooked and run off through a fence in the dark.
There was no TV and there were no movies. Once every two or three months there might be a Saturday night dance, but more often than not you just went to church (or a saloon if you were a drinking man) for entertainment or to meet people.
If you didn't farm for a living you either walked or rode a horse to work--even if the job was 10 miles away.
Oh! One more thing! Since transportation was limited, when out-of-town relatives came they stayed anywhere from a week to
Yup! Them good old days were pretty wonderful. Bet you're sitting there wishing you could go back. Sure you do!