I was born in 1951. I was blessed that my parents were not able to maintain a household on their own back then. It was also a curse but that’s a whole nother story that comes out in my book. From the time I was born until about age five, we all lived with my divorced maternal grandmother and her widowed sister, my Aunt Ruth in a tiny bungalow in Detroit Michigan.
I am only addressing the memories I had with my Aunt Ruth who was born in 1899. Obviously she was from a completely different era as well as coming from a good family was taught manners and etiquette that is not practiced by many today. I am thankful that I learned this from her in my short time with her because most of my siblings did not have this privilege and they acted as such.
We were always reminded to act as a little lady or gentleman from both my aunt and grandmother. This is how they were raised. You always said please and thank you and the table was always set every night for dinner, not like the slap dash of busy families nowadays. I remember the teas my aunt would sometimes have for my sister and myself, our grandmother and our other Aunt Lillian that lived nearby when she would visit. This was after we moved out and my sister and I would spend weekends with them to lessen the load for my mother who had two more at home and was expecting her 5th child. The three sisters loved to visit and leisurely sip their tea while eating finger sandwiches of cream cheese and watercress with the crusts cut off. They would always have little cookies or slices of coffee cake that she spread with butter before eating.
Then there were the songs accompanied by the piano or pump organ and my Aunt Ruth took my sister and I with her to Sunday School where she was the organist at Grand River Baptist Church, which was later moved from Detroit to Livonia of all places. We never prayed much at home and I seldom saw any family members pray about anything except sometimes before a meal or that lovely bedtime one that includes the part of “dying before waking” which is always fun for a child to think about before you turn out the lights. When I was old enough I would ask, “am I going to die?” To which whoever was at the light quickly replied “No” and that was it.
We played in the gardens in the yards and freely picked and ate any seasonal fruit on the trees or bushes. I still can’t figure out why more people don’t grow edible plants in their yards anymore. People liked their children to play outside in good weather. If it rained or snowed there was sewing projects or coloring. Sometimes we just sang songs.
Thank God there was not the bad influence that is the modern entertainment industry. It’s like the devil himself has taken everything over. I have a real problem with the violence and negative messages in most if not all movies and network television programming. For many years I have called it “hellywood” and “hellivision” rightly so. We are all little computers so garbage in means garbage out and then when people imitate the car chase they saw a hundred times from a Prius commercial everyone says “why did this happen” on the same network that let them air the bad influence. Yeah, not very bright.