One of the best things about living in the future, as I refer to the 21st Century, is access to information that has come before. And I in my feminist way, of course, am referring to the bits and pieces of daily life that get lost along the way to posterity, notoriety, and history… the daily stuff of the lives of families, women and children.
I love being able to flip through the pages of a catalog or a Ladies Publication from 100 to 150 years ago. These acts give me a sense of connectedness to the culture of my foremothers. My maternal grandmother was born in 1883. She began having children in 1910 with the birth of my Uncle Carl. The last of those children, my Aunt Alice, passed away early in September of the year at the age of 92.
How on Earth can I convey the sense of connectedness and continuity of family to my 4-year-old grand daughters when the generations in my part of the family tend toward the long side?
I can read to them from children’s literature of the time when my mother was being read to by her mother, 100 years ago. My mother was born in 1914.
This morning I surfed on over to archive.org and found A Book of Cheerful Cats. I downloaded a PDF of this delightfully illustrated tome to read to the twins when they visit. I will also print out copies to color, cut, glue, glitter and with which to generally have fun.
Somehow I find the search for images from other times and childhoods to be relaxing and rewarding. When I was little I would look through my mother’s tattered memorabilia from her childhood. I was the fifth kid of my mom’s who pawed through her stuff, and it was worse for the wear. While the tactile experience is gone, the rich content of books from those times, minus the allergy inducing dust and mildew, is out there waiting for new generations of family and rainy or snowy afternoons.