Friday, 15 April 2016
April 15, 2016 Chautauqua
I love history and learning about things of the past, and I love looking at memorabilia for yesteryear.
I was fortunate enough to be able to look through a suitcase of paperwork from my paternal grandparents. Reading the copies of letters sent off, and replies received, gave me a glimpse into their lives, as well as the particular time period.
Finding out how long it took my grandfather to do the mail run - which the Northwest Mounted Police did between Edmonton and Calgary - almost puts our current postal system to shame. Seeing a receipt for a $20 monthly payment for land he bought at the turn of the twentieth century is hard to fathom when you look at land prices today. When they moved to the Crowsnest Pass in the 1930s, he could have bought almost a whole mountain for a penny an acre, but couldn’t afford it.
My maternal grandparents owned a store, and it was interesting to read through old receipts to see how prices for groceries and gas have changed - hint, a LOT!
It was a different way of life, but at the time it was happening, to them it was just life, or business, as usual. Why they decided to keep what they kept for papers and such isn’t always obvious, since it wasn’t earth-shattering for them. Just the mundane, everyday stuff of life.
In 50 to a 100 years will there be any of that left in our world for our descendents to pour over and learn about what life was like in the early years of the twenty-first century? So much of what goes on in our lives is digitalized - we don’t keep much in tangible form any more, and much that is tangible, we tend to dispose rather than have it clutter our lives.
I was recently cleaning out some files and came across some receipts from almost 10 years ago. As I debated whether to keep them or not, I asked myself if there was anything on them that someone like me - interested in “everyday” history - would find valuable in them. In most cases, there wasn’t, but I did decide to keep a few. Who knows, maybe someday someone in the future will consider them gems.
Read the complete issue of The Chautauqua here.
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