Today, Americans live more luxuriously than any other people in the history of the world! Poor Americans today have more amenities than kings did in the past. We have an abundance of riches that is unparalleled in any other time or place ever.
The number one item that contributes to this plush living is the electrical “Grid.” I am able to post this writing here because of the grid. That is how I am able to use my computer to research some of the things that interest us here. I can flick on the TV and watch a lot of varied programming, again, courtesy of the grid. We cook, preserve (freezer and refrigerator) food; wash and dry clothing and dishes, all because of the grid. I bathe daily in warm water heated by the grid. I have light, and, I heat and cool my house with the grid. In short, the grid provides ALL the comforts of home! I wonder how we ever lived without it! But I haven’t always had the benefits of the grid. I have lived in houses where we had NO electricity! Somehow we got by!
Because of the grid, we have running water in this house. But, I remember when “running water” meant running down to the river with a bucket to get it!
I remember when I was young, that sometimes we had a “path” instead of a “bath!” More than one house I lived in had an outhouse. I’ve used them in Colorado when it was 40 below (Brrrr, it chills me even today to think about it!).
I remember once we lived in an adobe house with a dirt floor! We didn’t even have an outhouse then! We just went out behind a bush!
We would bathe every week or two. We heated water on the stove and poured it into a tub. We had 2 tubs-one of wood and one that was galvanized. You had your choice of slivers or shivers! Eventually my parents had 11 children. Everybody used the same water from the oldest (me) to the youngest! So, by the time the youngest got into the tub, the “water” was so thick you could hardly pour it!
I remember when most of my clothing was purchased at the Salvation Army or Goodwill. We were so poor that at times my brother and I both had to wear the same pair of pants-it was the only way we could make ends meet!
I remember times when we only had ONE meal a day-BEANS! I often went hungry but I never starved. But, I am totally aware of how it feels to not know where your next meal is coming from! We were so bad off that the mice gnawed their way OUT of the house instead of in!
Usually our car was an old worn out relic that could barely huff and puff to get my dad to work. Nobody in my immediate family has ever owned a new car! And, speaking of “Work,” sometimes it was difficult for him to find decent work. Believe me: I know what it is to be POOR!
As my parents moved around, we had to camp out more than once! I remember one night on the Arizona desert that I was sleeping on the ground laying between 2 strips of canvas. (The secret to getting a good night’s sleep when you are laying on the ground is to find a soft rock for a pillow!) The rest of the family was similarly sleeping. During the night, the heavens opened up and the rain poured! There was lots of lightning and non-stop thunder! Everybody else crowded back into the cars but I stayed right there all through it. In the morning, I was totally soaked, but I guess it didn’t hurt-I have since survived for nearly 60 years.
Because of my mom’s moving around, I never got much of an education. I went to more schools than I did grades. Virtually my whole life has been a succession of low paying jobs. Starting at the age of 15, I began to pick citrus fruit in Arizona. I also have picked cotton. I picked apples and pears in Oregon and Washington. My first job paid 25 cents an hour (1954). I have worked for such “HIGH" wages as .35, .50, .65 an hour and so on. When I was finally able to make a dollar an hour, I was elated! Wow! So much money! Then, I was able to get work at a few of the lumber mills that used to be around here. The pay was better than farm work. But, those were the kinds of jobs that anybody could walk in off of the street and do. So, I finally decided to acquire a skill and I selected Automobile Mechanics. That fed my family for many years.
Why am I writing this? I think that this old way of life may be the wave of the future. We are entirely too dependent on the “GRID!” If the “grid” ever goes down, this nation will cease to exist as it is today and many of us will be back to doing things the way that we did years ago. When it comes to some TEOTWAWKI situations, I have already “Been there and done that!”