It is hard to believe that Wednesday (November 11th) will mark the 97th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
As many of you know I am fascinated with History. Especially that of the American West (dating back to 1800), and all of American History after 1900. In my own family history I have had ancestors who came out west on the Oregon Trail, as well as one set of my Great – Grandparents had a homestead in Northern California for a number of years. If I remember correctly they had no electricity or running water and had at least 7 of their 9 children (if not all 9 by the time they left the homestead). While I was attending Westetn, my four favorite classes were the two terms of Gender Issues (aka Women’s History in the US) and the two terms covering the History of the American West.
Even looking back at my grandparents lives, one of my grandfathers was late elementary school age during the First World War, my other grandpa was born during the war, and my mom’s mom was born not long after it ended, so they were old enough to know what was going on when the stock market crashed in 1929, and were growing up, or were young adults during the depression. All but one of my grandparents were young adults during the Second World War.
Tonight I was working on knitting a sock I had started over the weekend, which reminded me of hearing about how many back here in the U.S. Knit socks and other warm garments for the guys fighting in the trenches on the front lines, and it is what they did to support the War Effort, which then got me thinking about my grandparent which then led to the whole Second World War. That got me thinking about how the women back home took over the guys jobs beings that so many of the men who were young enough and healthy enough to serve had gone to War, and that the women had to step up and fill their places while they were gone. That had to do with how Rosie the Riveter came about. What I especially liked about these classes, was that it was not just about knowing names, dates and battles to the regurgitate on a test, but rather getting a bigger picture of what was going on, there and at home. These men left behind parents, siblings, wives, and children. While it was very much from the American perspective, though when it came to the First Nations issues and involvement, we also got the other side of the story.
Later on, in the 1970’s my grandmother became a single mother, as my grandpa had passed away, and she had to finish raising two girls on her own, and hold down a full time job. Having had stong female role models in my life (and that is. It a bad thing), as well as having grown up in the era that I grew up in, I always knew that I had options, and choices that I had to make about my life. Marriage and having kids was not my only option in life. I had the opportunity to go to College (what we generally call Uni or University here in the States), and study history and English and expand my knowledge. It was while I was in college that I would really fall in love with History. It took me going to Hawaii, and seeing the USS Arizona sitting at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and being aboard the USS Missouri for me to really appreciate history. It was less than a year later that I had changed my major to Social Science (with a focus in US History).
I am one of those who can be sitting there knitting socks and my brain starts going off on history tangents. My mom had asked me why I was knitting socks when I could go to the store and buy them, my response was “why not”, what I didn’t add was, “100+ years ago women couldn’t just go to the store and buy socks, if they or their family needed socks, they had to make them. That knowledge of how to be self sufficient the way they had to be, is exponentially decreasing at an alarming rate, so why shouldn’t I do my part to help preserve that knowledge while it is still available.”
This past Friday I had stopped by the Portland Homesteading Supply Company to check out their shop since I had been by it many time s but had never gone in. It was totally up my alley, and if I had had the money and my own place I would have done some shopping.
Especially after I developed food intolerances I have wanted to be come more self sufficient, and do more in the way of canning, preserving, growing my own produce, and raising chickens and pigs for food. So that is part of why I love history, is because that is one of the resources to learning how to be more self sufficient.
My inspiration for tonight’s post: