Then and Now

PHOTO PROMPT© Sandra Crook

Two ghostly women watched in awe as the machinery did in minutes what they had done in hours and days when they lived.

“We tended the sheep. We helped them birth their lambs. We helped with the shearing, and the carding, and the cleaning. “

“Yes. And all winter we spun, and then we wove or knitted. Cloaks, gloves, stockings, hats—blankets, shirts, leggings.”

“All while birthing our own babes; gardening, preserving food, tending children, cleaning, sewing, doing laundry in tubs we filled with buckets from the river.”

“Is this better?”

“No. Different is not always better.”

54 thoughts on “Then and Now

  1. I enjoyed your account of what women were expected to do 150 years ago. In Greece, I have seen portable spinning devices that a woman would carry wherever she walked, spinning thread from wool the whole time. Amazing what our forebears did!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Different isn’t always bad either. The general quality of life has improved. Life expectancy has increased. Then again, they worked for themselves, not heartless corporations that would gladly replace them with machinery. Interesting, thought-provoking take.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They worked to sustain themselves, and their children learned to work when they were very little. Lots of good to be said for that, but it’s true about life expectancy being shorter, especially for childbearing women. It really is all about perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is always that resistance, that, “why must I learn the new way, when the old one was just as good?” I think we feel it with every new device we must master, with every new version of old familiar software. Nicely told.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. gahlearner

    I’ve always loved the idea of being able to do all the necesseties of life by oneself. A great way to show the ghosts’ perspective. Working for oneself has that wistful, comforting feeling. But what they don’t get is, how freeing technology can be, especially for women. Instead of slaving away all day, they can study, participate in government, help making life better for their children and for everyone…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OR they can continue to be old-fashioned stay-at-home moms, if that’s their passion. I love it that we have the freedom to make those choices. I was married and having our babies during the height of the Women’s Lib movement, and I chose to stay home and care for my own children. I was frowned upon by SO many women who felt it was demeaning for me that I didn’t pass my kids off to someone else while I went to work. I wouldn’t do it any differently today. BUT–then I taught English and history; and THEN I got a master of social work degree so I could do private practice counseling, and I’m just about ready to retire from that. Fourth career? I working on writing a book.

      I’ve always felt I’ve had the best of all worlds 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. gahlearner

        You’ve done great. And you had a choice, which is how it should be. No one should comment on your choice though, but I know how the times were (and still are to some extent).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife and I were talking yesterday about how young mothers today cannot multi-task. If they have a baby or toddler they think they can’t do anything but tend to the child.
    Automation can be a good thing, but machines lack the personal touch. Hand sewing adds love with every stitch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree. And the hyper-focus on the little ones is encouraged by today’s child-rearing gurus. I would have been an absolute mess if every second of my day had been focused on my four kids and nothing else.


  5. What a shocking vision it must have been for these two ghosts! Technology has made our lives better in so many ways, yet we’ve become way too dependent on it. With each generation, more of the “old” skills are lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the ghostly women reflecting on their times. Beautifully presented. I wish we could learn how to keep the best of the old and the new, and to discard the worst of both, too. That might be paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

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