Imagine a life without TV, computers, or even microwaves. Imagine that the year is 1951, and we step into the shoes of an average teenage girl in the Midwest.
That blouse you wore today cost every penny of a dollar that you had saved up for a month. The skirt you wore was made by your Mom from an old dress that had bleach spots all over the bodice. It’s evening, and as you settle down to listen to your favorite show on the radio your Mom takes out her darning, and you remember your stockings that have the run in them.
You haven’t thrown them away, since two pairs cost about a dollar, and your other pair is for your dressier occasions. You dash upstairs, grab the stockings and your nylon mending kit, and run back downstairs just in time to catch the intro to the 7:30 show. Then for the next half hour you sit and listen as the run in your stockings is slowly sewn back up by hands which were taught that stitch years ago, your hands. Over by your Dad’s armchair is the pile of mending which has to be done in the coming week before your trip to Grandma’s for the holidays. That pile will slowly disappear over the course of the next few days, under the nimble hands of you and your mother.
In school today you learned all about how to properly use an iron.
Tomorrow, you are going to learn about coloring, and what colors look best on you. Your teacher says that after Winter Break, you all are going to start sewing a dress for yourselves. Of course, you have known how to sew small things for years, but never have you undertaken the task of making a dress for yourself. You dream of how your Mom will beam with pride when you wear your new dress for the first time, and you wonder what was her first big sewing project. Did she make a dress, a blouse, or maybe a skirt? Did she learn sewing in school, or was she one of the lucky few who was able to skip to the advanced level of Home Economics?
8 o’clock, bedtime. Those questions will have to wait for tomorrow.
The years go by, and it is 2012. That average teenage girl of whose life we just caught a glimpse, is now in her mid 70’s. She wonders at the young girls who come to visit the retirement home where she lives. And the young girls wonder at her. Particularly one, who knows a wee bit, from history books and such, of what her life might have been like back in the day. She talks, along with her sister, to this old lady and the other elderly women there, about skirts, and the days gone by. As the girl gets in the car to go home, she wonders what other stories there might be out there. Of lives which are quickly fading away, perhaps never to be captured in history. Who will remember those lives, those stories? She wonders. Will the next generation be clueless of the identity of those people who lived in the mid 20th century? She hoped not. But what could she do to make sure people didn’t forget the past, and our rich heritage?
Part of this story I have been narrating to you is, indeed, fictional, but part of it is true. The part about the young girl with wonderings about days gone by… that’s true. In fact, that girl is me. I want to know the stories of those older women my sister and I talked with. I want to know what life was really like in the 1950’s and 40’s. I don’t want those lives to disappear without a trace of remembrance, for those stories to vanish into oblivion with the lives of their owners. I desire that the next generation may have a source of remembrance of days gone by, so that they won’t be wondering without a guide.
I never thought that this would happen, but I want, in a sense, to be a historian. Not of all of history, but of just a wee bit, a sentence of the magnificent poem which God writes daily in the lives of His people.
Will you help me?
P.S. Just because I love this video so much, I have to share it with you. You should definitely watch!