The Good Old Days

Monday, August 16, 2010

Idyllic, isn't it.

Our vacation included a stop at Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Burfordville, Missouri. The picture shows Bollinger Mill and Burfordville Covered Bridge, which provided access to the mill for people coming from the east.

The setting is idyllic, but the life wasn't.

When we were there in early August, the temperature was in the upper 90s and the heat index was over 100. It was even hotter inside the mill, which has too many cracks and openings for air conditioning even today. And, of course, air conditioning as we know it didn't exist in the 1800s, when mill employees worked from dawn to dusk.

But it was a party for the farmers who brought their grain to be ground into meal and flour. Farm families camped near the mill and used the occasion as a social gathering. A much needed social gathering, because the farmers and their families worked from dawn to dusk when they were back on the farm.

They also lived in houses without indoor plumbing. Imagine the smell and the flies in the outhouse. Then think about getting up in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm and having to go to the bathroom! Some people used chamber pots in bad weather, but imagine the smell in the room until they had a chance to empty and wash them out. (I'd be just my luck to be assigned that chore.)

Okay, you say, so maybe the living conditions weren't that great in the old days, but there were fewer divorces and a stronger values system.

I'll give you the fewer divorces. The conditions probably encouraged more couples to work out their differences. But there were also many dysfunctional marriages.

And crime, and wars, and envy, and greed, and hatred. Those things don't change with the times.

So who's longing for the good old days?

Not I.

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