About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

Donna's Diary Posts

My Favorite Blog and Books
Recent Posts

Truly living like the past

December 1, 2023

For those new to my blog, I am Grandma Donna and when things are going well I pop in quite often to write a post. This year of 2023, I have been taking long breaks due to health and family issues.  I have been around for many years on this blog and have quite a long list of posts.

My husband Charles and I live quite similar as our generations before us. We enjoy sharing the old ways of doing things and we also enjoy doing history studies by living like the year we are studying for the entire year.  Sometimes we make it through an entire year before we get anxious to start another year and depending on what is happening in our life.  

We have spent a good bit of time studying the 1940s.  Dipped into the years of the great depression but for some reason each time we have tried to do a study on the Great depression years, unwelcome things start to happen during this era so we decided to skip posting our 1930s studies and move on.  

I also write about memories of the past and share most anything that I feel might be helpful. 

As I mentioned, this year (2023) has been a difficult year and most of that is explained in posts here on my blog.  I am working my way back to posting, I told Charles no matter what health issues are going on, I need to continue with our studies and he agrees because we both miss our history studies and it is good for us to challenge ourselves.  Our studies and living like the past is how we got out of debt, paid off our house and car. 

We might have some bumps in the road but we are going forward.  We are not studying a particular year this coming year, however, we are tightening our budget even more than we already have, we will try to resemble our generations before us the best we can remember, do our best to show how we do what we do to explain what it is like to live old fashioned, not just look old fashioned.

 There is something very special about truly living "like" the old days and we don't have to change or decorate our home to do this.  Nobody has to decorate old fashioned, it is more about what we do and do not need. We do have many old things in our home because of years of studying the past, we slowly replaced many poorly made items for older thrift items because we like them. When we do purchase old items, we need them to be functional because we use them. 

I can assure you that it is very empowering to live simple and sensible. 

Charles and I spend a lot of time saying remember when....  Lately we have been even more serious about our remember when's.  That is because prices are going up terribly high, especially insurance,  electricity and food. I feel that we may be going through some kind of unspoken great depression and people don't know it yet because so many are hiding that they are struggling with their finances, deep in debt, and exhausted from simple going to the grocery store with another shocking grocery bill.  I will be writing about this on my next post, A trip to the grocery store.  

In my older posts I talk about frugal living, getting out of debt by living the old way but I have been thinking how we have gotten so far away from when my parents and grandparents were living as well as my younger years.  There is a difference in frugal today and sensible back then.  I will explain this further.

In the 1950's, when I was a child, my parents started living the modern life unlike the less modern 1940's.  My father worked for a furniture business and we started getting modern furniture to go in our modern house, unlike the the house in the 1940's. 

 My Grandparents did not change, they remained the same and possibly because they had gone through world war 1, the flu pandemic, the Great Depression and World war 2.  It would be harder to convince them that modern was better and that nothing else was going to happen.  

As a child I knew the difference of how my grandparents lived verses how we lived in our modern house in the city.  My grandparents were rural and I always felt better at my grandparents. There was always something to do and I played different than I did at home.  At home I had toys and neighborhood friends, at my grandparents I used my imagination and I made houses out of limbs and rooms inside my houses.  I made a table out of sticks and leaves and grass as a table cloth. I seem to have been drawn to the older way since I was a child.

My grandmother and I would wash laundry in her wringer washer and hang them on the line to dry. I loved the smell of the clean laundry.

As I got older my grandparents still remained the same, my parents had more debt, an extra car, modern appliances, higher electric bills.  We had a three person party line phone and we had a television.   

My Grandparents did eventually get a radio and I remember sitting around the radio and my grandfather would listen to boxing and I would watch him with his hands and arms as if he were right there boxing with them with a cigar between his fingers. 

My grandparents had little money but with their lifestyle of always growing food in the garden, going fishing for supper and hand sewing most anything they were happy. We ate a lot of beef vegetable soup and it always had okra and butterbeans, tomatoes and corn in the soup. Cornbread would usually be served with this soup. In the summer it would be whatever fresh vegetables were in the garden.  I don't know what my grandfather ate for breakfast when I wasn't there but when I was it was always, an egg from the chicken house, a piece of ham or sometimes bacon, a biscuit and coffee and then he was off to work.  Both of them lived into their 90's.  

As I got older and married, I knew how to live with little money, I did not learn this from my parents but my grandparents.  Then as we got passed the 80's I can say I was more on the same path as my parents and stayed on that path for many years.

It took being in debt and realizing one day that we were on the wrong path, Charles and I decided this is not what we were suppose to be doing.  The beginning of my blog is us working our way out of debt and living more like the past.  We realized that every wall plug in our house had something plugged into it and many of the wall plugs had adapters to hold more plugs. Something needed to change, we needed to live more like the past, we would never be out of debt if we did not go back to basics. 

A little update now since I am coming back to my blog at hopefully a little more often. Charles and I had a quiet thanksgiving, here I am getting out the linens to dress the table for Thanksgiving.  I needed to iron the placemats and napkins.

It has been over a month now since Madge died and I set a breakfast bowl and cup for Madge's place since it was Thanksgiving.

We had her favorite breakfast of Garlic cheese grits, coffee and grape juice. This is a very southern thing...

Photo above, we are working on the cat door.

We now have her Madge's three cats here with us now. We have three dogs of our own and so we had to merge her cats or rehome them but that is not always the best thing for them. We have worked a way so that we can keep the kitties and doggies and since they are older pets it is too late to merge them.  

These are wood doors that Charles builds and adds small rabbit wire to help separate areas in our house to control the pets when needed and yet have airflow into and out of the rooms and makes it where the pets are not completely shut off and can hear sounds and see out.  

We have used this kind of door for years for when visitors come or we are working on something in the house that they need to be kept in another room.  We can simply close them off in a room and they can see out and do not feel closed off.  We do not have a pattern to make them, Charles just measures the doorway and builds them. 

Not a clear picture but this is Gabby at their new door.  We finally found a vet card in Madge's files to find out how old she is and she will be 19 years old March 2024, Yikes! She is very frail and thin and we have taken her to the vet and she did have a serious UTI.  The Vet gave her a shot for the UTI and the blood work showed that she has poor kidneys. We know that she has little time left and it is an honor to be taking care of this Elderly cat as she still has a wonderful personality. Each morning she is the first to meow and sit at the door to greet us, they have always been inside cats and are very gentle. 

Madge never could keep up with the ages of the cats, she would be surprised at how old Gabby is because we were always guessing. They always hid in the house when we were up there so we rarely saw them. 

 Blue and Jess are doing well (the other two cats), we found out that Blue is about thirteen and Jess is five years old and the youngest of all the pets.  Our little dog Katherine's birthday is tomorrow, she will be sixteen. Elizabeth (13) and Bernadette (9) (doggies) are doing good. Our little bird, Belle has turned 14.  We seem to be merging well, my prayer is that Charles and I outlive the pets. 

This is Ellie, she came from Madge's house and her ears were broken off,  Charles put her back together.  A book about our town in the background that we purchased a couple of years ago for Madge's birthday.  We are going through the different levels of grief right now and so we are taking our time sorting and decision making.

This is a shoepeg corn casserole that I baked to go with our Thanksgiving meal. 

It was time for our meal.

We had Chicken, green beans, corn casserole, carrots and radish. 

The radishes were picked from the grow tank (Barely seen behind the pole) and the second tank that has large foliage is our ginger tank which also is growing turmeric.

I am concerned for anyone that is struggling financially and I hope I can help people this coming year in a new way of showing the past.  There were not a lot of pictures from long ago inside of homes because cameras were very different and did not have a flash.  The ones that did have a flash were posed photos.  So we cannot see in photos enough to to give us a good idea of how it was.  Today it is the older folks that can still remember how it was long ago and those are the ones to ask.  Some say it was real hard but I have quite a bit of a different perspective on this.

Grandma Donna 

Comment on this article

Would you like to make a comment or view comments on this article?
Visit the comments section in the new discussion forum!

This article has 27 comments


NEW! Join the mailing list to get email notifications when new articles are posted to our site.

Your information is safe with us and won't be shared.

Thank you for joining! 

You were sent an email to confirm your subscription to our mailing list.
Please click the link in that email to confirm or you won't be added.
If you have not received the email within a few minutes please check your spam folder. 

Loading More Photos
Scroll To Top
Close Window