Wednesday, March 3, 2010
WHEN THE PAST MEETS PRESENT DAY
I have a lamp on my desk with a ribbed green shade, an old lamp that has been refashioned for electricity. Whenever I sit at the computer and try to say something unique and insightful, I look at the lamp and imagine it before electricity, functional with oil. Perhaps a woman, after finishing her chores for the day, sat down under the soft glow of this lamp and read a book or mended socks or rocked her children. Lives of men and women who went about doing ordinary tasks just to survive. Many of us are too young to remember a time when a man made $10.00 and spent no more than $10.00. No credit cards. No credit scores. A time when people made do with what they had, because there was no more. My father died in 1998. In his dresser drawer we found a small slip of paper from 1946 when he took an overnight trip with my mother. Every item he bought was duly noted on the paper: gas, lodging, dining. Would you believe the total expense for their trip was $15.00! My father and mother were "depression kids," growing up with an appreciation for simplicity and squeezing that nickel in their pocket until the buffalo pooped. When I write, I feel the love and security of a past that I'm sure I've added a few frills to over the years, making memories as mellow and soft as the light coming from the lamp on my desk.