Thursday, November 21, 2013

There is an art to everything.

Someone posted to my FB wall another post from It's about 13 skills that are fading from our world. The post is entitled 13 skills your grandparents had that you don't. I know that you have tons of skills that your grandparents didn't have and you could easily replace these 13 with at least 13, if not more, of your own. However, with everything that is gained there is something lost, so consider this post, as a kind of requiem for :

1. Handwriting - clear, legible, beautifully, flowing script. Even with a ballpoint pen, this type of controlled cursive writing says breeding, discipline and refinement. My grandmother wrote her recipes with a straight pen dipped into an inkwell. They looked good enough to eat, even though they were all in German.

2. Memorizing more than two phone numbers. Actually, my grandmother didn't have to memorize phone numbers, she just called the operator and asked to be connected to "the Jones," for example. It was also easier to remember numbers back then. They usually started with a name, such as Hudson, which you knew condensed to HUD- and then there were just 4 numbers to remember. In this respect, life might have been easier back then, except that you only called people to chat, when all the laundry had been pegged out :)

3. How to use a phone book. I could easily pass on this one, however, it was fun to look at all the people in the phone book with the same surname as yours or to try and find the number of that cute new student in school. I had a friend with an unusual last name, "Fatum." When Jack travelled, he would look up all the Fatum's in the book, where he was and call them to have a chat. I guess that you could do this on FB just as easily and you wouldn't have to travel very far :)

4. Basic car maintenance. My grandmother couldn't drive. My mother could, but I know that she would never have changed a tire. My father used to tinker with the cars every once in a while, however, they never really ran well, after his tinkering :)  I don't belong to the Canadian equivalent of AAA. The few times that I have had car trouble on the road, I have had Good Samaritans, stop and come over to help. Now what might be disappearing is opportunities for Good Samaritans!

Better Car Maintenance

5. Basic home maintenance. OK I still change light bulbs. I can bleed my radiators, turn off the water in the house, change a fuse, if I can find the fuse box :) and clean the coils of the fridge. I do not have to fire up a coal furnace, ignite a pilot light that has gone out or plane a door that sticks in hot weather. In fact we have a running list for a handyman who comes in once or twice a year to do all these odd jobs that neither my husband nor I can. Yes, I may have to live with a dripping tap for a few months, even if I can change a washer or two.

6. The ability to read and use a handheld map. One of my claims to fame was that I could manipulate an accordion style paper map and get the family from A to B quickly and in one piece. I was the navigator, while my husband drove. I know that there were people out there who could read a paper map, but not fold it up neatly, when finished. Then there were others who couldn't tell north from south. They rarely left home :)

7. Knowing how to tie multiple types of knots. This is a great skill. I think that it's a little like writing those patches of code that keep things neat and tidy on a website. A lot of people took great pleasure in knowing that they could tie the perfect reef knot. I am still fascinated with the round turn and two half hitches. It really does tether things. This had to have been an ultra nerdy activity, back when nerds were called squares or something like that. You could be knotty without being naughty :)

8. You learned how to sew in school, if you were not taught at home. You knew how to write cheques, because people accepted them, back then. Most people lived in houses with gardens and had a relative that worked a farm, so you got to spend time picking berries, feeding chickens, and mucking out stalls. With more people living in condos and more farms becoming huge conglomerates, soon there will be very few of us left that know what a chicken looked like before it had "fingers."

9. Being creative. I lived for many years in what would be considered an impoverished area. There were few parks with swings nearby, however, behind the store, where I lived, was an alley way and beyond the alley was a huge lumber yard. On weekends the "alley kids" built forts in the lumber yard, fashioned swords out of whatever was around and used cardboard in the most inventive ways. We lived in a Narnia of our own making and it was wonderful!

10. Socializing - parties and dances were the highlight of the weekend. Few people could afford to go to concerts or live theatre, so we went to dances, for entertainment and to meet people. Sometimes you got to go to a wedding, with a band and a favourite uncle would teach you how to waltz or do the polka. This was so much more fun than just swaying to the music. I remember going with my grandmother to visit her friends for tea or she would have the minister around for dinner. These were the "good china" occasions and everyone was attentive and on their best behaviour. Cell phones might have made socializing a lost art!!

Have a grand old day!!

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