As time passes and memories accumulate, I realize how very important it is to pass on family stories and history.
In our changing world, what was once the norm such as dinner each evening time with all the family present and conversation of the day was an established routine. This was the time that family values were passed on. So much to remember with fondness. All this that we took for granted is often no longer in use.
I remember when I was growing up in Denver. ... In the winter, we belly-flopped on our sleds down the hills or in the alley. During the summer days, we roller skated around the block, had races, or played ball in the street in front of our house. We played games with the neighbor kids and had races. I could run even faster than the meanest kid on the block.
At night, we played "Red light, green light," "Mother May I" or "Hide and Go Seek" with "Ollie ollie oxen free" yelled when the person who was "it" gave up ever finding the last holdout. But when the street lights came on, we were expected to quit whatever we were doing and go home; bedtime soon followed.
Then if my sister and I lay there and talked and giggled too long, the knock on the wall from the living room would warn us that it was time to close our eyes and go to sleep. Not always did we do so, but a second warning was enough and off to dreamland we went.
Wash day meant that clothes were already down in the unfinished basement, and that my mother had filled the old wringer washing machine and the two rinsing tubs. Next it was time to help carry up the old wicker baskets with the wet clothes (not spun dry) to the outdoors.
We would have washed off the metal clotheslines in preparation for hanging the sheets. They had to be hung double a certain way, not thrown over the line, with clothes pins in three or four places along the hems. In the heat of the later morning if we were still at it, we would run through the sheets, feeling the cool dampness on our faces. Of course this was a "no-no," but I'll bet my mother had done the same thing in her younger years.
Afternoon meant removing the sheets and clothes, folding and putting them away. Ah, the smell of the clean, sunlit sheets. But I don't think I want to go back to that yet, even though it might be a good idea to conserve electrical energy.
Grandchildren do not always know that someday in the future, they will wish they had (as Ron Fields wrote last week) asked more questions. And we as grandparents might also wish we had talked more about "the good old days" in ways that would have brightened those little eyes that looked up to us almost in disbelief that the past was as it was.
Ah, well, it is not too late, and we can all share our past with those who are growing up in these days. Much has changed, but hopefully our values are still strong and passed forward to those young ones who are our future. We might not individually have changed the world but we have helped make our own world what it is. We do count, we do make a difference, and yes, Ron Fields, the children are also watching.
My 15 ½-year-old granddaughter Molly wrote the following:
"There are always fond memories when I look back on the times when everything in life could be made into something magical. When you used your imagination every moment of the day and you didn't think of wasting your time in front of the TV. A time when playing outside was the only thing during the day you could do besides sit around and do nothing. There also are memories of when I was with my grandparents.
"Grandparents are placed here on earth for us to be able to enjoy them, and for them to place some of their gifts and memories into our lives. We all should cherish the loved ones we have, especially those that have some of the best and most amazing stories in the world to tell.
"My grandparents have been supportive, loving and always love to spend time with me. Being their only grandchild, they tend to spoil me. Part of that could be that I have never been able to spend the amount of time with them that they have wanted me to. Of course, every grandparent would want to spend as much time with their grandchild as possible.
"My grandparents who live here, in Hays Kansas, I only see on holidays, summer and whenever my parents are able to get enough days off work to be able to visit or when they come out to visit us in Colorado. Even though they are in a different state, they are always there for me. We have gone on several trips together and they have been some of the best memories that I have.
"I remember coming to Kansas during the summer times when I was little and playing with a little boy across the street. My grandparents' house has always seemed so magical to me for that reason. Even though the boy across the street and I don't talk anymore, they have always been fun memories."
Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.