We often hear people lament about “the good old days.” But I remember those days. There was Polio, a high infant mortality rate, breast cancer was a death sentence, there were few restaurants and clothing store options, and no air conditioning. Summer nights in Arkansas were hot. Sometimes, the bedroom and bed sheets would feel like an oven. I remember Mom coming to the rescue with a cold rag for my head, sprinkles of water to cool my sheets off, and plugging in a fan nearby.
Also, there were little career opportunities for women who wanted or needed to work. Because of this, college, at least for girls, was a place to find a healthy man and marry well.
Even with the advances in domestic machinery and the distribution of household chores among genders, I still sometime feel like a slave to my dirty laundry and my husband’s hungry belly. But nothing like my mother, and her mother, did.
In our home, we all help load and unload the dishwasher, shop for groceries, and share in the cooking and cleaning. Unlike the marriage to my first husband, back in the 70’s, the expectations of me doing my husband’s laundry are gone.
Recently, I have learned first-hand about the advances in medicine. In the past year, I have had minor out-patient surgery on my little toe, nose, and now my left eye. Upon returning home from the last doctor visit, husband Grady asked jokingly (or maybe not), “what’s next”, referring to all my medical procedures.
Though my nose surgery was a big deal, glaucoma -which sounds scary- was not. Because mother had glaucoma, I am at risk. Thus, I have my eyes checked regularly. On my last visit to the optometrist, they found that that lovely little glaucoma gene my mother passed on to me had decided to activate. But, unlike my mother, I have options. No longer am I restricted to a life of eye drops and diminishing sight. Instead, there is a two-minute laser eye surgery, performed with just a little eye numbing solution and presto! My eyes are young again.
Though life in the 21st century is not perfect, I find it is still the best it has ever been.
Happy New Year, Everyone.