Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ye Olde Days

The main street of Sovereign Hill

We enjoyed a bit of an end of term celebration of studying 'Australia Getting Started' today.  A bit of dressing up along with damper cooked in our fire trench, homemade lemonade and kangaroo stew made the day what is was.

I adore almost all things old fashioned.  I think it is what drives my love of Amish fiction and my determined commitment to things like cooking a proper meal each night.  The fact that men and women knew what their roles were and fulfilled them to the best of their ability and with a sense of pride appeals to me.  I don't doubt for a moment that the lives of people 250 years ago was busy.  And hard.  But busy and hard in a different way to what we experience now.  Busy and hard in a way that brings satisfaction at the end of the day rather than wondering where on earth your time disappeared to.

Often over the years I have wondered if I was born in the wrong era.  Long dresses and lace call to me in a way that would be inappropriately over the top to indulge in, these days....and somewhat impractical on many occasions.  I've often wondered what my life might have looked like had I been born 250 years ago, in the early years of Australia's history.  While my great-grandmother used to tell us that "there was nothing good about the 'good ol' days, they were just jolly hard work", I'm sure there was something to recommend it.  I wonder would I have been the one who got her washing on the line first....or would I have been amongst the last?  Would I have managed to get the hang of cooking in a wood stove?  Would I have ever been wealthy enough to have travelled beyond the local township.  And even if I could have, would I have wanted to?

So many questions that will never be answered.  But I think perhaps it is possible to capture just a little olde world-ness.  What I do can still be done to the best of my ability, with pride in the doing of a good job.  I can dress in a way that feels ladylike.  Indeed I have these odd clothing rules in my head ~ like no jeans at work or church, even though it is a common choice amongst many others, and one that is perfectly OK (to me) on someone else.  And I can choose solid old-fashioned morals and values that come from a time when the Bible was the authority on how one should live.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

I go back and forth on the old-fashioned question. I like homemade things and homemade ways. I also like wearing pants (though I don't wear jeans to church, more often a skirt or a pair of black pants), and I really like antibiotics. But I do think about how clean the air must have smelled in the old days before combustible engines! I think it must have been awfully sweet.


debbie bailey said...

Are you my long-lost twin? I feel the same way! I've always loved old ways best and have tried to incorporate as many as I can into my life.

I think we have too many choices today. But on the other hand, I wouldn't want to give up certain things. It's a strange and wonderful time to be alive.

I agree with Frances; I like antibiotics and modern medicine too. But if I lived 250 years ago, I'd be the woman everyone came to for herbs and such. I'd be a healer, for sure. Good post!

Tracy said...

I think maybe so, Debbie :) Welcome to Beyond My Picket Fence.

Chookie said...

I was at Sovereign Hill a few days ago! And I think your history is a bit off. You wouldn't have worn lace to milk the cows any more than you wear it to scrub the shower today. Morals? If you had Catholic ancestors in the early colony, they would have cohabited until 1820 because they were forbidden a priest to celebrate their weddings. Pride in your work? Commitment? Of the 50 'peelers' (coppers) of Melbourne, all but three were off to the goldfields the day after gold was found. When was the Bible's authority supreme in Australia? It wasn't under Arthur Phillip, and it certainly wasn't under the Rum Corps. Off with those rose-tinted glasses! Labour Day is coming up -- it's worth looking into its history.

Tracy said...

I believe, since it's my blog, that it's my prerogative to have 'rose-tinted glasses' if I so choose. My opinion is not so rose-tinted according to the early generations of my family, who arrived just after the first convicts.

Two hundred years ago, I would have worn lace to church and when the occasion allowed. I come from practical ancestors who wore appropriate clothing for the task.

My family has a long legacy of a deep, profound and personal faith. We are not Catholic, and not bound by their traditions and practices.

My ancestors and following generations took pride in their work and they succeeded because of their commitment to doing their best.

Just because Australia's history is full of all that comes with a penal colony, doesn't mean there was no good found amongst the people of that time.