This weekend I had the pleasure to travel to the San Francisco bay area to celebrate my mother-in-laws 95th birthday. My husband, his brothers and sister along with their families came together to honor Mom and share this monumental day with her. Children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren together in one place for a grand party. Aside from spending quality time with the extended family that we see far too seldom, it was a great time to sit down with Mom and listen to her stories of when the world was a very different place. You don’t live to be 95 years old without encountering some amazing life stories along the way. We spend copious amounts of money to watch movies that tell stories that are not as rich and full of history as a first person account of events.
For example we heard the story of her childhood in South Dakota in the 1920’s in the small town of Orient. A bustling town of a couple of hundred people. One of the stories was about the time that a barnstormer came to town. Barnstormers were pilots who flew throughout the country selling airplane rides and performing stunts; Charles Lindburgh first began flying as a barnstormer. A huge event in that day and age, the pilot was giving rides for a dollar.
Stories like this that really give you a perspective on how much the world has changed in the last century. By listening to an elderly persons stories of the hardships they faced over the years, you can appreciate just how good our lives are now. How they lost friends and loved ones in the big war and as children, shared one bed with all of their siblings in a small room. The great depression and how goods were rationed. All of these experiences are a vital part of American history and getting a first person accounting is such a special gift.
If you hear the “In my Day” stories you might chuckle a bit at first, but if you listen to what is really being said, you will appreciate exactly what people had to endure for us to be where we are today.