Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simpler times?

Ted Kennelly, the former owner of our house, kindly gave me this photo of our home as it was many years ago. Ted raised his family here and was generous enough to share some of his memories of the place he had invested so much of himself in.

He talked of community fund-raising dances, and his daughter's wedding in the 1960's in our apple picking shed. He recalled when my sons' bedroom was the local general store for the apple pickers during the season, and gave us some of the labels he used on the packing boxes of the export-grade apples he produced, which are now proudly framed on our wall.

Our home looks very different to it's original version now - it was remodelled in the 1960's - the high roof replaced with the flatter version which was fashionable at the time.

I wonder sometimes what life was like in this house for these girls in the photo - I wonder what they would make of this challenge to simplify? I like to think they lived the life we're striving for - abundance resulting from their endeavours, delight in the company of loved ones, reassurance in the knowledge of their place and their value in the world, and hope for the future. Perhaps that's over-romanticising a bygone era?

I read somewhere that despite our increase in wealth and the 'stuff' we're able to accumulate, measures of satisfaction and happiness have declined since the 1950's. Apparently despite being better off we're collectively convinced we're doing it tougher than previous generations. I guess it can be easy to misplace one's sense of gratitude for what we have, and tend to take for granted all the blessings we have in our lives.

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