Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Reflection on Simpler Times

I just love objects with a history.  As a kid, I used to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series over and over and OVER again.  I still have those same paperback novels that I used to swap with my friend Libby.  The exact same copies we used to thumb over and dream about are now in my daughter's room... maybe some day she will enjoy them as much as we did.  We LOVED to read.

There were always classic school house tales in those books, and, being young school girls ourselves back then, we envisioned what it might have been like had we been born in those times. 

As of late, I have been hankering to get an old desk.  This past spring, I was able to acquire one for just $35.00 at the Kane County Flea Market.

Can you just imagine the stories these desks would tell if they could talk?  Old button-up shoes (or no shoes), checkered dresses, lunch pails, and passing notes on slates?

These are the kinds of desks that had to be mounted onto the hardwood floor.  They were arranged in perfect rows: one child sat in the front, and the back of that desk was the writing board for another.  I imagine the kids in the very first seat just had nothing to write on except their little slates, and the troublemakers were relegated to the back and had nothing to sit on! 

The front seat also tilts up.

This lovely wrought iron detailing is marked as a Sears and Roebuck manufacturing product.  Can you imagine learning in such a beautiful little desk?  If I were a kid, I would have been constantly running my fingers across the scrollwork.

These little Elson Readers date from the '20s.  School texts have come a long way since then.  They are now heavier, bulkier, and the colors are saturated.  They are not as sweet as these little tattered copies that fit just so into a child's hand.  I do not recall where or when I got these books.  I have had them for quite some time.

Sigh....  Back in the day, times were simple.  Now, the push is to have an IPad in every child's hands.  Yeah, I know, that's where the world is going.  Media everywhere.

 With all of the tragic 9/11 documentaries airing this past week, it really makes the heart yearn for simpler times.  Not that violence hasn't occurred throughout the history of our whole mankind, but, for some reason, the world just seemed to have been more wholesome a few generations ago.  When little kids could walk safely to school on their own, going to town was a family affair, and skipping church on Sunday was down-right unspeakable.

Where were you on that September morning?

Ten years ago today, I was walking down a hall at school when another teacher popped his head out of his room and told me that a plane had just crashed into one of the Trade Center's Towers.  Was it an accident, I asked?  Of course it was an accident, he said...who would do such a thing on purpose?? 

Two hours later it was all over.

The world moves too fast sometimes.

There have been many times throughout my life when I have felt I was born in the wrong era.  I could easily slip back into history to enjoy simple times and simple treasures...

...leave behind all the glitz of our modern era that doesn't attract me anyway.

 Yet, it remains a part of my world like a blaring car horn.

Let's remember and appreciate the simple joys in each day. 
Our whole world could, and did, change in an instant.


Barb and Dell said...

Andrea, Love the desk! I went to a 3 room school from 1st to 6th grade and we had desks like that. Oh, the memories.
My girls grew up reading and watching the Little House series. The little town of Walnut Grove, MN near where I live has been putting on a pageant for the last 30 years based on the Little House series. It is all done with volunteers and it is amazing what they do. They have a lot of young kids in it and they are all dressed in costumes from that time. It is put on during the July weekends. If you ever get a chance to come to Minnesota to see it you would love it.
Well, guess I have written enough. Barb

Raindrops and Daisies said...

Beautiful desk.

I remember sitting on one like that in school here in Ireland.

Happy days!

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