Monday, May 26, 2008

Changes in Time: Reading Grandma's Diaries

Dappled Sun by Roberto Lomardi

Her diaries began when she was 19 years old and spanned approximately 80 years. It was very interesting to see the changes in society that formed the mood of these diaries. Prior to 1965, regular entries record weekly visits from friends and church members who came by for pie. Interspersed evenly with these are the words, "We went out for pie at Viola's (or Pansy's or Rose's) house for pie. Their husbands were named "Joe, Jim, Frank or Fred." Every day she recorded at least one sentence about the day. If she didn't go anywhere she noted that she had baked something or written a letter to her sister. These were not diaries used to express resentment or inner anxiety. They were for the record.

The first 40 years of these diaries gave a sense of innocent happiness, as she and her husband and children interacted with others in her community and the church. It seemed like they were often at each other's homes for pie! She often told where the pie was served: someones front porch, the kitchen, the living room. The adults played horse-shoes outside, in the summer. There was no need for youth groups in those days because everyone came to visit and they got their socialization within the families that intermingled so well. She also recorded a number of marriages that took place in the church where they served, and every baby that was born was given a brief write-up in the tiny daily spaces in her book. It made a kind of routine: visitors, wedding, dropping in on someone else, a baby being born, a recipe tried, ironing done, visitors, pie served, wedding, etc.

They also used to dress up for each other to visit in their homes. Children were made to change clothes and wash their faces and hands and comb their hair before they accepted visitors. They were happy to sit on chairs and take pie with the rest of the company. In her diaries, she would briefly express her feelings with words like, "I really enjoyed that couple. They had nice children," or "The Jones are so interesting. Mr. Jones is always telling jokes." "My husband won, at horse-shoes." Reading this was a peek into the happy times of the century, that even I experienced as a child.



As we read further into the last 40 years, the tone of her diaries changed. There was a sadness expressed, without words. In the 1970's, instead of the usual, "Friends came over for pie tonight," the entries, for the first time, begin to sound rather depressing. She writes: "Mrs. C. came to visit and ask how she could get her son out of prison." "We went to call on Mr. B., whose teenage daughter is in trouble, " or something like: "Mr. J. came to see us because his son is on drugs."

One can only imagine how bizarre the events seemed to a woman who had spent most of her life in a friendly routine of a typical family, visiting friends and neighbors, going on trips to see their aging folks, shopping, cooking, and taking part in her own personal hobbies and interests. Though she wrote of various problems in the church before the 60's and 70's, they were minor, compared to the family-splitting problems she faced during the last 40 years of her diary.
Instead of visiting church couples to encourage them, they now visited families that were torn apart by alcohol, drugs, music, irresponsible handling of money and crazy life styles.

One entry described an interesting visit, followed by the words, "Some people!" A great amount of the problems had to do with the "new" morality of the 60's, people living together (shacking up, they called it) marriage, divorce, remarriage, the drug problem, immodesty, and the worldly philosophies that weakened the family and the local churches.

Near the end of her diaries, her world had gotten so strange, that she pens these words: Mr. S. wanted money so he could leave town; Mrs. M. wanted money because she needed gas to go and visit her husband in prison.

Recently a 9 year old girl told me that she was living with her father's girlfriend's mother, because her father couldn't take care of her and her mother was not responsible. Even while living with someone she was not even related to, she says, "We are a really mixed up family, but we are just like all the other families in the world."

It is sad that she really believes this and that a whole generation thinks it has to be this way, because it does not. I hope the next generation will have the determination to insist on giving their families a life of friendship and pie and family visits on the front porch. To the cynic and the jaded, it seems simplistic and unintelligent. A few years ago I wrote about a visit from a woman in England, who said she had grown tired of listening to young women boast about their degrees. "That's very nice, dear," she would tell them, "But can you bake a pie and serve coffee?"

Families used to thrive on the social life of going to one another's houses for pie or ice cream or coffee or tea. We all used to sit around a table when we ate our meals. Our houses were not particularly decorated or grand, but each home was a great source of stabilty and emotional warmth. In Grandma's diaries, I can almost see a dividing line for when this all changed. It was a time when so many women went to work. They were led to believe that it would not affect their marriages or their children. Though they had finer material goods, the social life of the family seemed to diminish.
As one commenter said, it does not take a study from a sociologist to figure out the sands of time. This diary revealed two things. The first forty years was pie. The last forty was prison. And the reader is right: we had no prisons previous to 20th century--at least not like today. Criminals were put on chain gangs to split rock or sentenced to hard labor.
Check out Tocqueville's observations of American men's attitudes toward women here http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/sexequality.html
Since posting this, someone sent me an interesting study done by a guy in Australia, about the decline of manners, and behavior, etc. It is harder to read than grandma's diaries but very good, just the same and has great points.
Be sure to drop this author a note of appreciation for making this available.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes this is a sad way that society has evolved... I am not too old but really feel the deteriotation of the home and family... I think brought about by the decay of morals; in my circle we refer to it as "worldliness" and truly it frightens me, because I am so far removed from its reaches. I feel it in most places.... because people in general lack a certain purity and innocense...they have seen and experienced so much via television and other activities. Recently I went to an online womens health magazine and it is just accepted that a woman will be sexually active, a part from marriage... and this is just one for the many forms of lifestyle that is detrimental to our society. Truly I feel when a person comes to understand the goodness of God, then they will have a wonderful life...

Dawn said...

Wow....that was good!
Just imagine if your Grandma was still alive right now what she would be writing in her journal. It sure wouldn't be about pies...

I have been keeping a journal since I was 13 (I am 26 now) and I may not always be faithful in it but when I do write, I write, and write, and write...lol.

I wish I had some Christian ladies my age who stayed home with their familiy to fellowship with. It would be great if I could learn how to sew or even make a good pie from them.
Maybe when we move :-)

We can learn so much from our grandmothers and great grandmothers and aunts and great aunts who remember a simpler time, a more humble time in life.

God Bless and thank you for sharing this. It was a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true. I love the way there used to be no prisons 100 years ago, but it's awfully sad that nobody who is now under the age of 30 has ever seen, tasted, or baked a pie.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree so much with this,because I remember people coming to our home to visit,going to others homes to visit,and as the years went on,things seemed to get worse and worse.The lives most young people live today are so hollow,without real childhoods.We've really lost something along the way.When prayer was banned from school,when mothers had to leave to work,society shifted,and not for the better.Thanks for posting this,and it also made me start thinking of cooking pie.(something I haven't done in awhile)Love,Gayle

Titus2Grandma said...

I was born in 1935 and I too saw the sixties as the time when everything changed. Prior to that time, women's magazines' articles held up being a wife and mother as a desirable thing. The contents of these magazines, by and large, honored the homemaker and mother. Then seemingly from one month to another, the whole tenor of the magazines changed. I remember commenting upon this to a friend and asking, "What is going on ??" It saddens me to see young women who view today's attitudes and immoral lifestyle as "normal". That's all that they have ever seen or known in their lifetimes. I am given hope when I see that today there are some young women who are astute enough to see that this hasn't worked and are trying to make a different life for their husbands and children - often without any type of support from their own mothers. That's why blogs like this one are very important. The young women, who are hungry for guidance, can learn from godly women like yourself.Be blessed.

Mary L.

All things bright & beautiful... said...

Thank you - I really enjoyed reading this. From reading good Christian home-making blogs I am seeing that there is a swing back to real life & real values which is heartening to see.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It is wonderful that your grandmother kept track like that and how you can see the break. Better than any academic's babbling on the topic.

I was thinking about grandmothers this weekend. My grandmothers were grandmothers. They looked like grandmothers, they wore dresses, dressed up for church, let their hair go gray when it was time and yes, they even baked pies. Delicious pies. I don't see so many of these grandmothers around anymore.

~ Ann

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

That is such a good point about the prisons--I never thought of that. I was born in 1951 and I guess I thought that it was the way it always was...but you are right--society took care of the out laws, and those who behaved at home were banned. Today they stay home and aggravate the parents and the mates and they are sheltered and spoiled and they don't get any better. 100 years ago, even a failed suicide was a crime. I don't quite understand the reasoning behind that, but it was against the law to do anyone bodily harm. Spitting in public was also a crime.

The diaries seemed interesting because of the details of life that she found important: such as who gave her what gift and what she did with it, what she sewed or baked, who came to church, what they saw on their last trip, and where they stayed the night. She was born on Whidbey Island in Washington and to her, this was a great adventure. However, 40 years into the diary, the adventure turned into a garrish nightmare of unpredictable behavior in people, that lasted 40 more years til she died. Toward the end she didn't even bother to record the "crazy people" stories and instead wrote about what lesson they were on in the Ladies Bible Class and what her grand children were doing. I recall several incidents that we all experienced together, including a man that came to their house while I was there, and when her husband couldn't get him to leave, he lifted him up bodily and threw him outside. That was in the 1980's, and he was well up there in years, but I suppose if he had done it today, he would have been charged with a crime or something. I used to wonder why her health got so poor and her blood pressure rose, and reading her diaries shows the tension as they began to cope with the fallout of the missing women at home (homemakers) and the lack of teaching in the home.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The china can be found here
http://www.robbinsnest.com/johann-haviland/ My set was bought by my children for an anniversary a few years ago, and it came from Safeway Stores. The red chargers are from Wal-Mart, are plastic, and can be found at Christmas time for about a dollar each.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

It is called Moss Rose, but there are many different kinds of china cups and plates with that name, not necessarily by the same company. When we got them, they were only about 5 dollars for the dinner plate and cup and saucer combination. I did not get any of the other pieces except the tea set.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

this page shows the Blue Garland that Lillibeth got for her wedding

http://www.fulbreitchina.com/johann_haviland/Welcome.html collected from Safeway by the ladies at church, and also the Moss Rose that I got. However, the teacup in the picture is a different shape.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Sorry I posted the china comment on the wrong article but I can't spare the time to change it.

Titus 2 Grandmother, I wish you would post more.

Mrs. Stewart said...

Oh this is so timely! I've been contacting family members I've never met, most of them quite elderly in an effort to discover and preserve our family history. I'm from a broken home, and my parents were not social and didn't keep in contact with any family on either side. Now that I'm grown and have chosen a different path it is so lonely to have no family!

I have discovered through my digging and discussing with family that on one side we have a decorated Civil War Veteran, and that before that our family was Mennonite! There are tales of family singing sessions, musical get togethers, church participation, family togetherness, community...and slowly as the stories move into the 1940's, and 50's, 60's and so on the more frequent you'll hear remarks such as "So and so divorced and ran away with frank" and "She decided she just wasn't cut out to be a mother" "Your great aunt was writer and didn't ever have time to marry" and stories of jail, addictions, sins taking over. It's so awful.

It is no wonder our family is where it is today, and I am working mightily to reverse this. My mother questions me contacting all these people she has never even spoken to, and I just tell her I want to know my family! She hasn't seen her grandkids in two years, and last week when she was in town for something else chose not to come over and visit us because she didn't have time- she had to get back because she was leaving for a music festival.

We MUST put the foundations firmly in place in our families now and undo all this selfishness that's come to drive our world.

Thanks for this post, it's exactly what's been weighing on my mind.

Honest to Ya~Ya said...

I long for sweeter natures myself.
Let it begin with me!

Thanks for a very interesting post!☺

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Women did not understand how something as simple as a family pie social could be so consequential to the family. Feminists made fun of it, almost as much as they made fun of the color pink. The idea of having pie or a tea party seemed so non-intellectual that they missed it. They missed the whole thing. To put together a home and to invite people over for pie takes enormous intelligence and effort. It has consequences in the long run. There was an era where people did not do anything unless they saw immediate reasons or results. They were not willing to keep up a tradition for the sake of the home and the family, for the sake of preserving it. Leaving the home and persuing money was more important to them, but what a sad legacy that teaching has left us.

Elizabeth said...

Anything I could add would just echo what ladies above have said. As I started to read this post I had a wide smile on my face, excited to read what treasures this diary would hold. As I read, the wide smile was nearly diminished to tears. May the Lord help my home to be one like the "pie days."

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

There was also no need for social workers, which came into being sometime in the 60's, I think. previous to this, "problems" (called sins) were taken care of by the church and the members and the families. The state was not involved.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I am sure someone is going to post that they would love to bake a pie and eat it but they are concerned about weight gain. Let me observe that we had lots of pie days in the old days and people didn't get as fat. We don't have the pie society like we did before, and we are more likely to gain weight. I wonder why that is? Grandma, who wrote the diary, said she always stirred a cake or pie by hand because then she would use up calories and could eat a piece.

Mrs. Stewart said...

On pie- I think using whole foods goes a long way, and in looking over my Grandma's recipes I'm often shocked at how little sugar they call for, especially the desserts. Not only did they ration way back then, they knew too much of a good thing would spoil things. Store bought pie crust has quite a few weird things in it. We're better off digging out the old recipes. Also I believe most people would cut a pie and get at LEAST 8 slices, I dare say I see people now scarcely getting 6 slices out of a pie.

Anonymous said...

Now we eat pie all alone, and eat the whole thing ourselves...that's when pie is fattening!

Julielou

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

'tis true, tis true.

Kathryn Louis said...

Pie makes us fat today because we buy it from Mrs. Smith. It contains not real food to speak of: crisco, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of lovely preservatives. Mmmmmmmm

Seriously, though, I feel like your gramma. Maybe that's why I'm drawn to classic literature of bygone days. I son't want the work, work, work of the farm, but I'd like the family togetherness, the neighborlyness, and for government to get it's nose out of our business and it's hands out of our wallets. I think our little country was a lot happier, when church and family and many the community committee took care of the orphans, the aged, the hungry, etc. We care about those around us if we know them.

KL

Anonymous said...

This made me think of today as we drove to town to do our weekly shopping. My 19 year old took her ipod and we listened to some oldie but goodies...one which made us all tear up was the song by Winona Judd, "Grandpa, tell me about the good old days." sigh...

I remember us visiting my grandma often. She wasn't really interested in the children, but we didn't much care as there were lots of cousins to play with. Everyone on her road was related to us. The road is even named because her father had owned all the land around it. We enjoyed cold watermelon, getting sick on the sour green apples (we did it every year LOL). Once the swing set had some many of us on it that it actually flipped over. Ah! Those were the good old days. I had a wonderful childhood.

Now the family has pretty much sold all the land, the cops are on that old road often arresting someone for drugs or some other reason.

Times have changed! But we are standing up and fighting to re-gain what society has stolen. With prayer I do believe we will win here in our little corner of the world. Paula

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anonymous: Either you have the same relatives as me, or I have the same story to tell:

My husband's people had beautiful farmland, and the farm house looked like a Kinkade painting. They kept the flowers and the yard beautiful, always, and there was a swing we all got on and sometimes it tipped a little. Also we enjoyed playing with the dog and a ball made out of a sock. Grandma would give us a broom for a bat.

Years later, the cops are always being called to go out there. The old folks have passed on, but the young folks have past on a terrible set of values that only break down and never build up. The house has been ransacked and every valuable item stolen and sold for drugs: everything, including the old organ, the hand built tables and chairs, the quilts, the pictures, the scrapbooks--the entire inside of the house stripped of anything valuable. The property is not valued by those who live there, and they are actually the relatives of the original farmer and wife. These kids were all well educated in the public schools but they became more and more lax at their church involvement. The grandparents were very faithful while they lived, and their lives were good and prosperous and it blessed others around them. No neighbor ever had to complain about their mess or their noise or about someone stealing something. And yes, every single family can restore the family the way it is supposed to be, without an act of Congress, without a special feminist movement, without demanding new rights, without money from the government, and without being coherced. The pattern is still there and if we will work it, it will work for us and we will have our homes and our neighbors as they are supposed to be. Every woman at home has the power to create that atmosphere around her.

Laurel said...

Having people over for tea is truly an art that I feel very, very uncomfortable with. It's almost a lost art as I have never been invited over for such a thing until recently. I had a young lady over for tea and she has now invited me over to her place in a week. It was a very painful experience for me. I think she was comfortable with me because she is a young South Korean over here for only four months so far and starved for friendship. Yet, I felt so uncertain that I was doing it all ok. I almost need a lesson since I have never experienced it before. Isn't that truly sad? I know I have seen tea sets and different snacks to serve on your blog, but I am shy and not comfortable with it all. I bet that really sounds silly to some. Conversation is difficult for me.

Lady-in-the-Making said...

*Sighs longingly as she sits at her office* Those of you who are stay at home wives/mothers, please thank God right now. I'd do anything to get where you are. I'd love to learn how to bake ANYTHING from scratch, especially a pie.

And I'm 41 years old.

I never knew my grandparents. Gosh, I want to go home right now and do laundry, put on some music, take a walk in the countryside and feel the hot sun on my hair.

You ladies are blessed. Never doubt it.

Florescent lighting just can't compete with sunlight.

I hate being a working mother. (to answer the unanswered, my husband desires me to work right now.)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Photograph collections also tell a story. If you have one that dates back quite a ways, say when the camera was first used, you will see married couples, OLD married couples, their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. You also may be able to tell their spiritual heritage, such as what church they were a member of and what kind of life they lived...then as you get closer to the 60's the stories begin to be more tragic as the family disentegrates. Women in the 19th century believed firmly that the woman at home was needed in order to insure stability in marriage and the children raised properly, but in the 60's even Christian women were persuaded by new philosophies that it wouldn't harm the children or the women to leave and go to work. Money was more important, they said, and so was "fulfillment" and "personal happiness." However most women today will tell you they do not choose to work for personal fulfillment or personal happiness. They work now because they feel they have no choice. It all started out as the "right to choose" and now they have no right to stay home...and the photographs do tell a story of the declension of the family. Christians even try to get the Bible to say that women were not home bodies but career women, and by sly twists of words, can persuade women that they are not needed at home.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

To the Feminist Christian: Your posts are welcome here, but I just wish you would stay on the current topics, as it is going around in circles to discuss the same subjects over and over. One good article listed on the side about Progress is Peter Marshall's sermon called "Keepers of the Springs" in which he tells a story about how people thought it would be progress to get rid of a keeper of the springs, because the persons job seemed so small and insignificant. No one ever saw this person, but he kept the waters to the village unpolluted and the villagers were healthy. When the city council, in the interest of MONEY got rid of the keeper of the springs, the waters then got polluted. He compares this story to the women leaving the home and how society then became polluted with all kinds of human problems ....and in this current post of mine that deals with Grandma's diaries, I show how her entries go for 40 years dealing with good things that helped the families stay together and kept crime to a minimum, and how the next 40 years when the women went to work, showed an increase in the problems that then required social workers and jails. Well it sort of went from dessert to divorce, if you will notice. You don't even need anyone's diary spanning 70 or 80 years...all you have to do is read old books and you can see that the huge devastation of divorce and drugs began in the 60's when women went to work.

Christain feminist: please tell me what is Christian about Feminism, and please read Keeper of the Springs, Taylor Caldwell's piece about Women's Lib, and When Queens Ride By. Also, click on the Australian man's articles posted on this current article. Go to Glenn Sacks, as I put a link on The Better Part just for you. Go through Vox Day and No Ma'am and read up on what the men are saying about feminism. Also, Christian Feminist, maybe you should not get married. Modern men will SAY they want a feminist but living with a man brings some completely different things to cope with, as feminism is not really workable or practical in a marriage. I would suggest you not marry at all until you have learned the art of unselfishness, devotion, deference, loyalty, and true moral support. I would also suggest you read Helen Andelin's book "Fascinating Womanhood," particularly the chapters on Good Character and housekeeping. Definitely get ahold of Linda Lichter's book, "Simple Social Graces" or "The Benevolence of Manners." It is possible to get it on US Ebay for just a few dollars and is well worth the price. Also, how many homemakers do you actually know? It is possible there are more in your country than you realize but you do not "see" them because you do not highly regard them as having worthwhile lives, or that you feel superior to them. There are a lot more than you realize. You might want to get ahold of a book called "Home Comforts" which was actually written by a lawyer, who eventually became a homemaker and said that homemaking required more intellect than working outside the home. Given a choice, she said she would be home, as it was far more interesting than her profession.

Honest to Ya~Ya said...

Wow...reading your comment section is almost as fun as reading your posts!☺

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about this. I'm planning a picnic for next week since gas prices are so high, how can I invite ladies over for tea when they have to spend 6-10 dollars to get here and back. This post reaffirmed my picnic idea.

I'll bring some iced tea and a pie or bars to it. I'll be surprised as to how many can come. The first 2 ladies I spoke too are busy but when you call everyone up from church, two ladies with children at least will show up I'm hoping!

Elizabeth said...

I forgot to sign my name on the "picnic" comment. Want to add that the picnic will be at a near by town that is central to most of the ladies so they won't have to drive that extra 3o miles or more to my place.

Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

Oh man! Reading your Grandmother’s diaries! What an extraordinary threat!
I am looking forward to exploring the links. Thank you!

Gail said...

The bible says something about letting our good works speak for themselves, so that other men can see us and give glory to God for what they see in our lives. I think we should all just get cleaning and baking and just enjoying our homes and gardens and quit feeling like we have to explain ourselves to the world. Let's be the salt that makes them thirsty for what we have!

The man who wrote the Mars and Venus book (about the differences in the sexes) has written another one about Mars and Venus colliding. Supposedly, he stresses the fact that women are making themselves literally sick by trying to be the alpha male, so to speak. That we don't do well, physically and emotionally, with deadlines and having to be aggressive. He implies that this also makes women less attractive to men and that women do better in the nesting lifestyle, the home atmosphere. This is from a secular writer!!

You may think this is just awful of me, but I think that maybe its time to get helpless and dependent and just tell our men that we are just not up to it, and are willing to sacrifice any luxury to be able to stay home. I know I am willing to sacrifice. I can get on the Internet at the library a couple of times a week, and could definitely give up the cellphones and cable TV. What do you all think?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Gail, you are so right. Now, women have been told that they have to accomplish something, and they find it hard to really settle down and be content without feeling pushed by someone. We are programmed from an early age to do, do, do, do. It can really affect your homelife if you have been indoctrinated this way because you find it hard to accept that the simple things, like rocking your baby, baking a pie, sewing a button on a shirt for your husband, giving him a sweet smile, fixing dinner, and so forth, are acceptable and praiseworthy. When all your life you have been told that accomplishment means a degree and a career, it can be really hard to be at home and feel justfied, so women keep making excuses. I hear them all the time saying, "Yes, I do stay home...but I have a job on the side, selling on ebay..." etc. You know what I mean. It is the way people look at them, and that awful feeling they get that maybe they aren't supposed to be doing that!

Mrs. D said...

I agree with you, Gail (and you too Lady Lydia!) I've enjoyed these posts and the comments. I had a blue moment this week at the playground with my toddler when I realized I was the only "mommy" there. There were nannies, daycare workers, and a Lesbian "couple". It felt positively surreal. But then I turned it around and my attitude has been what Gail is talking about - just getting busy doing and being the change we want to see.

Anonymous said...

How this post made me smile! The whole idea of "pie & coffee" making things right is not too far from the truth. There is something wonderful about the simple kindness of dessert on a plate, & the prospect of good conversation. I think many more people appreciate this than would admit it to themselves. As you say, Mrs. Sherman, so many folks are jaded & cynical because of their experiences. They have forgotten how pleasant it can be to enjoy other things.

On a more literal note, I make pies quite frequently, & am told they are very tasty. I don't think they're that hard to make, but it does take some practice. And for some reason, lately I have learned that there are many men who don't care as much for cake but will drool at the thought of pie. I'd not considered that before.

Anyway, as usual, a very good post. How I enjoy visiting here. I think I'll have to take the time to read some of the links you've included for us...many thanks!

Brenda

Gail said...

Oh yes, I do know what you mean, Lydia. A young mother, who sends her child to the church preschool, was telling me how much she enjoys volunteering there. She said, "I think I will become a preschool teacher. I've finally decided what I want to be 'when I grow up'." Um...where do I begin to address that? Like, maybe what you are feeling is a natural, but misplaced desire to enjoy motherhood and nurture and teach more of your own children. Maybe motherhood IS your vocation and that it takes a real "grown-up" to be a good parent.

Why do women, good-intentioned, Christian women, feel guilty for wanting to do what is right? You know, my mother, a wonderful homemaker, used to take a short nap every afternoon. Women today would be horrified to let anybody know if they were to do that. Who are we living for, anyway? I think we give "the world" too much credit, in that we let it define our lives for us.

Persuaded said...

What wonderful posts! As I read them I thought of my own "Nana." Her life was far from easy (she was widowed in the 1930's and raised 3 girls on her own) but she had a sweetness and a grace that is rarely seen today. In my mind I think of her as "refined" even though she never was part of any society other than family, friends and maybe other ladies who "took in sewing."
Now, I myself am a single mother. I homeschool my children and try to make ends meet by sewing as she did, and by lots of scrimping- something she never mentioned but Something I am certain she was very good at!
What a difference though these decades have made in our experiences. The first thing that people ask me upon meeting is "what I do"... which of course means, "What is your profession, your job?" My answer that I am a homemaker brings little respect, especially when they know that I am a single mom. Perhaps they think I am dependent on the government or charity, which I am not, but I have had very few people, even among Christians, who think my choice to be home is a good or wise one. I know financially it doesn't make sense, but it is the only choice my convictions will allow... and I love it besides:)
Anyway, sorry for this tome! I jusr wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog... you sound like a kindred spirit, indeed!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Persuaded: most people who suffered in the past accepted the bad along the good as part of life. They lacked the bitterness that accompanies today's women who haven't have not had an easy life. Those who endured hardship actually had a happiness about them. Today the mere thought of enduring anything makes many young women angry at men, angry at the world, angry at God. This tone was missing in the old diaries. Grandma's diaries recorded many things that we would consider hardships but there was not the complaining that there is today and I feel it made them overcome their problems much faster.

Persuaded said...

My goodness, Lady Lydia, I think you have hit upon a truth... I have never thought of it in that way, but to be sure, in the past it was part of living with integrity and strength to "look on the bright side," and "hope for the best." We were raised with the idea that "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all."

But now that viewpoint is frowned upon as we are encouraged not to stuff our feelings, and instead are encouraged to stand up for ourselves and our rights. I have always admonished my children that they must be "happy friends together" but I was recently reprimanded for guiding my children in this way. The individual felt that I must allow my children to disagree and that bickering is a normal thing. While I do agree that discouragements and disagreements are natural and normal, there is a place for them- at the foot of Jesus:) Letting hurt from perceived injustices and hardships fester only makes it worse. Giving up the hard things makes life liveable and joyful!

Looking forward to reading more of your posts,
warmly,
Diane

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Dear Persuaded,

I have written articles on my Guard the Home blog (about rebellion in the home) concerning the modern need to let every thought loose upon our loved ones, and how Christ admonishes us instead to turn every thought "captive," and not let it loose to harm others! I have written about the talk shows and therapists that encourage resentment and hatred towards family members and how it has seeped into our society. We are told we are not being "honest" if we do not blast out every thing that we personally feel. The problem with expressing every single bad thought is that in a day or two, things may change and then you regret every word of it and you cannot take it back.

As for expressing good thoughts and feelings, that too, was guarded "in the old days" If you were not careful, you might commit yourself to something because temporarily you were just crazy about it, but then after a little time elapsed you discovered it was not for you, after all. So caution was always advised in the area of wearing your heart on your sleeve. The heart was something to be guarded: it was private and reserved only for family and one or two very good friends who could be trusted.

This did not mean that people of that time were reluctant to correct a run-away government or some business that would cheat them, or some unruly child. No, they lived by principle, not just feeling. Therefore, no matter how related you were to someone, if they did wrong, you would not sympathise with them nor excuse them.

In Grandma's diaries, she did express her disappointment after visiting certain people who "had their lives messed up" as she put it, by expressions like, "Goofy, goofy people!" or "Some people!" She also thought that every day of her life was a gift from God, and that one day people would read these words, and she did not want to condemn anyone personally, although she did express disapproval at their lifestyles. She did not fill the books up with hours of resentful thoughts, but always found something good to write. It was also a way of recording so that she could look back and see if indeed she had already written to her sister that week, or if she had cooked a roast for company last sunday, and would not repeat the menu the next time they came over, but serve something different.

Here are some verses we were trained in regarding the use of communication:

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

I remember how shocked I was when I first had communications from young feminists who left none of their feelings hidden when they expressed their disgust for me...even if I did feel disgusted by someone, I probably wouldn't tell it to them to their face. I would want to give them a chance to grow out of it. There are things I think about people that I would not verbalize, as it would hurt their feelings...and later, if I wait long enough, I may change my mind about it, so it is best left unsaid. there is a book you can get from a company called Good Things For Your Family, entitled, "Least Said, Soonest Mended." It may have been written in the 18th century as a character book--I'm not sure.

We were taught that words were like a feather pillow that had been torn open. Trying to get all those feathers back into the pillow was impossible. This was an illustrated lesson used on many a young person to set their standards for life.

When

Pam said...

What an eye opener! I regret my 20 year old son has to grow up and in this immoral age. Then to think about what my grandbabies will have to deal with! I must leave all of our tomorrows in HIS hands.
I am on my way not to check out some of these links. Thanks for making them so easily to access.

Anonymous said...

Just catching up on reading the comment threads...this was a particularly enlightening one.

gail, I enjoyed your comments (particularly the one about "what I want to be when I grow up," argh!) as well as everyone else's.

Lydia, thank you for creating such a beautiful and restorative blog. I always feel renewed in my purpose after I come by for a visit.

~ Ann

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