It recently occurred to me that I have sort of been a "sandwich generation" person all my life in all sorts of ways. I was smack in the middle of myself and four cousins -- all girls -- and the only brunette. I spent my 40's sandwiched between caring for children and caring for ageing parents. I am spending my 60's caring for grandchildren and very aged mother-in-law (although there isn't a lot of caretaking going on as much as being "on hold" for any emergency).
It also came to my mind that I am a "sandwich generation" person in another respect. Being a baby boomer I have lived in the middle of post-war times and the technological age. This is where things get dicey.
When growing up, in the 1950's, we lived a modern life. We had indoor plumbing, refrigeration, freezers, cars, vacuum cleaners, washers, dishwashers, radio, television, two newspapers and mail delivery. I don't remember life without these things and now we can add all the more modern amenities to that list -- computers, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, digital everything - it is mind boggling.
So, why, when I have never known a time when I didn't have modern conveniences would I be gradually employing methods of doing things that belonged to my grandmother's generation?
For instance, grocery shopping. I have a large fridge/freezer and a supplemental freezer in my laundry room. My idea of stocking a pantry is buying up a ton of canned goods, dried items like beans, rice, fruit, copious amounts of flour, sugar, baking supplies -- I like to cook from raw ingredients rather than processed mixes -- however, we can't really do that anymore, now can we with the BPA in the cans. Buy frozen? Yes, that is one solution. But, I find myself throwing out so much produce that I am inclined to shop like our grandmother's generation did -- every couple of days. I really don't like grocery shopping so that would sound like a nightmare, wouldn't it? It sort of is but not nearly the nightmare of worrying about poisoning yourself with canned food. Hmmm. Quite the dilemma.
And then there is the housekeeping. I make my own laundry detergent -- there is something comforting about knowing what goes in that since it is up against your skin and skin absorbs everything. I actually like doing it. But vacuuming is another story. I have a lovely little vacuum cleaner - she is red and her name is Ruby. She is a Miele and cleans like a dream. However, more times than not I find myself with broom or dust mop in hand, dust cloth swishing the furniture. Why? Why have I morphed into my mother -- every time I get out the dust mop I see my mother with hers madly cleaning our original "tiny" house. My aunt wasn't like that - she loved her vacuum cleaner. My mother, not so much. Maybe it is genetic?
Ever since we re-vamped our television viewing opportunity -- chopped the daylights out of cable and went back to an antenna, Roku and Tivo -- I have turned the tv off. It no longer runs 24/7. My house now feels like my childhood home - we didn't have the tv on all day, just when some specific soaps were on -- I distinctly remember "Secret Storm" and "The Edge of Night". We only had three channels back in the 1950's and it signed off at midnight so our viewing pleasure was limited at best. We read alot, did cross word puzzles, played games and such. Now I am reading a lot, doing cross word puzzles, and playing games even though one of them is electronic. Oh, and puzzles -- love puzzles.
I have had a love/hate relationship with technology since it first came into my home. I have had every generation Nook that has been manufactured and I might add the last one is a complete bust. I do like the Nook Glo-light for reading but the rest of them are sort of miserable. I have been looking at an ipad or a kindle but I really like my little netbook and have opted to not replace the Nooks yet -- maybe something about me still carrying physical books around has something to do with it. I prefer physical books. Yes, they are harder to tote around and I can't carry a whole library in my purse but I can't read a whole library at one time either.
So, this morning as I stood at the sink washing a load of dishes -- by hand rather than loading the dishwasher -- it occurred to me why I am travelling back in time so to speak.
I see my mother and my grandmother. Doing things the old fashioned way reminds me of a gentler, less complicated, and yes, probably happier, time. Not that I am not happy, I am very happy and I am very blessed, but the world was happier. I feel like I can draw the drapes, put on the radio, wash my dishes and close out all the bad going on in the world. It must be contagious because the other day, in the car, I was trying to interest Bean in listening to a CD but her response was "oh, Nona, just put on the radio"!
So, I will probably go on doing things the "old fashioned" way, dating myself and making myself feel like an dotty old lady but that seems to be my happy place as I keep going back there more and more -- lot cheaper than therapy, wouldn't you say?
Now, I am off to the store.