My brother and I are working on our ancestry. He is currently in Ohio where we hit a stumbling block and is talking to people and looking at the landscape, etc. It is interesting when you think that our ancestors had no stores or phones or modern life as we live it, when they first arrived at their new locations. They had to grow all they ate. sew what they wore, and make their furniture etc. Yes, eventually a store would arrive, but only bare essentials were available. What they did have and many of us don’t, were a circle of friends that worked together. If a major event happened, like butchering and/or canning day, or harvest time, or house building, they all pitched in and worked together. Even church with a potluck was an opportunity to get together.
If a joyous event or a disaster happened, they shared it. I remember going to see my grandparents in South Dakota in a very small town. It was big news and announced in their weekly paper that we arrived at 2 AM. All news there was big news. And every Saturday evening – at least during the summer, many of the surrounding people met in the street in front of the local soda fountain for visiting. I can remember them out in the street, chatting, while the children were allowed a 10 cent ice cream cone. (I also remember asking my father for a dime for ice cream which he gave me and then asking mom, which she gave me – but I had enough sense to know better than to use both. After we got home, I was asked for the other dime back) And no one seemed particularly concerned where their child was as the children were all mingling. It seemed all business was everybody’s business.
Perhaps the lack of comradeship today is causing many of our social problems. We often don’t know our neighbors and certainly not most of their joys and sorrows. Today we would consider this nobody’s business, but our own. However, then you knew who your were and that you were needed. And you knew that whatever you did would soon be known by all your family friends and their friends. That’s so very different from texting someone. And certainly today our children aren’t needed in the same sence they were in pioneer days.
I’m on a couple lists where people are going “back to the land” and interestingly enough, this is one of the things they are finding to be so very helpful. When a big job is to be done, they schedule it and several families work together. If there are children involved, one may assigned to watch them while the others work. They enjoy a potluck meal and the work is done so much faster and more enjoyably.
It is food for thought.