CONVENIENCE THEN

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When I slow down and consider the world in which I was born, it is impossible to recognize the advancements that have been made since the Civil War. The Second World War was raging, but the primitive weapons with which the Civil War was fought had long been antiquated and battle ships, heavy weapons, tanks, planes, and other weapons had been developed. Wounds which would have been fatal in the Civil War were frequently successfully treated. Food, although not as tasty as some would desire, was adequate and proper clothing was issued as needed. Illnesses which were devastating during the Civil War and were largely remedied, and drugs had become available to treat pain and fight infections. Radar had been developed, and means of communication had greatly improved.

I include all of the above so I can fast forward from those eighty years prior to my birth and be reminded that maybe we did not have it so bad after all. What I may consider to be a lack of convenience would surely be welcomed and considered to be a big advancement and convenience with those fighting the Civil War. Going back eighty years before I was born, perhaps the drilled well would have been considered to  be a convenience as most wells had to be hand dug at that time or water carried from a spring or creek. Whereas we had kerosene (coal oil as it was then called) lamps and lanterns and electrical lights in the cities and towns, if we go back in time eighty years, candles and pine torches were very much in use. Axes sometimes took the place of saws as not everyone had the crosscut. The primitive houses were normally heated by fire places or a potbellied stove and open to the elements. Many were built in the dog trot fashion with the kitchen and bedrooms separated. Being the positive person that I am, I look on the bright side and offer thanks for the things that we had which made my upbringing easier.

NOW

I think that absolutely no one would expect me to list all the modern conveniences available to us today, if for no other reason than if I attempted to do so there would be a half dozen new ones coming on market before I could get this thing published. I will attempt to mention only those that made a major impact during my lifetime. I have previously discussed the weapons which were used one hundred sixty and eighty years ago, but now those are antiquated as there has been a constant development of new weapons since that time. Many of the latest weapons have been developed in secret, and the nation has no public knowledge of their existence, as were the stealth planes until after they had flown and been sighted by the public. With drones and laser guided bombs and missiles there has been tremendous advancement in military technology, but if history repeats itself they will soon become obsolete.  

But leaving the military and stepping into modern consumer conveniences that made our lives easier at our house, we will begin with the basics.  Heading the list would be a washer (a dryer would come later as a clothesline was still in use), a refrigerator (the freezer would also come at a later date), an electric cook stove (Mama kept her wood stove as everything taste better when cooked in a wood stove), and electricity for lights and to run the stove and refrigerator. We bought and laid a water pipe (big black in a long roll), digging with a pick and shovel to provide water to our house which fed from an old existing waterline a half mile on the other side of the hill. The outhouse was never replaced, and there was never a bathroom or toilet in that house. The house was torn down in the late sixties without there ever being an inside bathroom with a toilet. The running water was piped to an outside faucet and inside to the kitchen sink only, but this was a convenience as compared to well water or creek water, and it did not run dry in the summertime when there was little rain.

The ringer washer was a godsend for Mom, as she had to wash clothes for two adults and six children. Children can get clothes plenty dirty, and it is no easy matter to get the dirt, grease, and grime out. Mother made lye soap as needed, because it and octagon soap were all that I remember that she used until Tide came along with their washing powder. I also remember that she liked to use 20 Mule Team Borax and Clorox. Before the electric washing machine, most clothes washing was done outside in pretty weather where a pot of hot boiling water would be available. The clothes were soaked in the pot before putting them in wash tubs to be washed, rinsed, and hung on the clothes line to dry. The dirty ones were washed on a scrub board which was back breaking labor. The shirts and pants were then starched and ironed and ready for wear.