It seems that gone are the days of finding Grandma’s thrifty old ways and viewpoints amusing and charmingly old fashioned. But are we missing out on not only a resource that’s much needed today in hearing about how our grandparents used to live, but also simply tuning into and honoring the wisdom of the elders?
As the US faces an uncertain future, financially as well as in many other ways, it’s time to turn to those who’ve lived through other hard times, such as the Great Depression, to glean the pearls of wisdom that saw them through those challenges.
In Peak Moment TV’s Episode 209 episode, “Growing up in the first Great Depression,” host Janaia Donaldson talks to a very special guest: Her own mom. Rowena Donaldson, who grew up through the first Great Depression years, has much wisdom and insight to share.
Living in Hermosa Beach, California, the elder Donaldson shares some of her memories from that time. She says that one thing really stood out: most things were hand-made. Talk about a local economy and local resilience! Dishcloths and underwear from old flour bags were a staple of frugal reuse. And clothes sewn by their mother or themselves reveal a skill seldom seen in today’s ready made world. Also valued were hand-me-down clothes from other families, a principle of respect for resources and the kindness of sharing that she still appreciates today.
She recalls the time her father built a crystal set radio set.
It was fascinating. How could you do this? How can it happen that you can hear something, somebody’s talking way away? The other side of that was my two aunts . I remember a discussion about what would radio waves be doing to our bodies? This invisible ray out there? What was going to happen? I can remember that and thinking, well how does that happen? What is happening?
That’s interesting. They were way ahead of their time, thinking about radio waves. Now we have X-rays, cell phones, and all kinds of other radiation bombardment.
She recalls how everything was paid by cash. What you didn’t have money for, you went without, which is the sage advice she gives to young people and families trying to survive in hard times to come:
Live within your means. That’s the big one. Live within your means. Throw away all your credit cards. Pay for things in cash. If you don’t have it, then you do without. You didn’t need it.
Rowena has great concern for modern generations who’ve largely been indulged and have no idea how different their future may be.
It’s going to get back to that, I’m afraid, and it’s going to be real hard for people that have indulged their children so much with all the gadgets and gidgets and things. Going to be real hard for them. Because those children are going to have to learn to be more self-sufficient, and not depend on mama and dad to buy everything for them. It’ll just be a different world for them.
This is a fascinating look through the eyes of an octogenarian who not only has wisdom from past experience but a good dose of insight into the kind of future we may face. The episode also reminds us all to go out and speak to the elders of our community. Really take on board what they have to say, before it’s too late.
Episode 209 is well worth watching, not only for the basic messages shared, but alsoin revealing a glimpse into where host Janaia has come from as well.
See the video here:
–Anthea Hudson, Transition Voice