One hundred years ago on this date the world was quite different. It is amazing how things have changed; what has been invented; what changed our lives; and one particular person that molded me and made me and my siblings who and what we are. You see, on October 21, 1914, my mother, Mamie Louise Martin Stanley was born. She was the third child born to Walter Houston Martin and Emma Pearl Bain in Ida, Louisiana.
World War I had broken out in the summer of 1914, which meant hard times, not only for Mother’s family, but the entire world. That was followed by World War II, the Korean War, Viet Nam and the Gulf War. The Atomic Bomb was also developed.
During some of those war years, if you owned an automobile, gas was rationed and tires were extremely difficult to come by. Later designs of the cars changed as well as options. Radio tuners, radios, cassette tapes, CDs, automatic transmissions, car phones and air conditioning became standard options and no longer a luxury. Roads were paved and interstate highways covered the entire United States. You could even attend a drive-in movie with your sweetie, if you made it through the newly installed traffic light in time. Wonder what she would think about today’s GPS systems that tell you when/where to turn?
The medical front changed when penicillin was developed. The iron lung was invented, artificial hearts and heart transplants became the norm, TB hospitals closed, polio was cured, “the pill” was developed and so were contact lenses. These are but a few of the miracle cures developed during Mom’s lifetime.
Mom was a great cook (once owning a café in Belcher, Louisiana) so you can imagine how Pyrex, pop-up toasters, slow cookers, microwave ovens, electric coffee pots and skillets, frozen food, and Tupper Ware, improved her life. And how exciting it must have been to dine at an Oriental restaurant and have your fortune told by a cookie! Or eat your first McDonald’s burger!
Photos were amazing when the Polaroid camera came along! Now we have digital cameras, phone cameras, drones, and you can either, upload and share on the Cloud, or project directly to the TV screen. Your family can even ride down the road and watch a movie! TVs transformed from little round screens in black and white with lots of static to color; from small to spanning the whole wall; from analog to HD.
Toys once made from bottles (or anything else you could salvage) that represented a car or truck evolved into the invention of the Slinky, Silly Putty, Mr. Potato Head, Hula Hoop, Barbie and the adorable Cabbage Patch Kids! Video games soon had her grandchildren hooked!
Telephones were few and far between in her younger years and I remember our first one actually had a telephone operator who would connect you to anyone who also had a phone. Sometimes you didn’t get the operator but instead could listen in to a neighbor’s call because you had a “party line.”
Mother’s generation were hard-working adaptable people. Her family was not of means therefore during the years of her youth she hoed and picked cotton. I suppose some would say that following her marriage to Clyde Stanley and the birth of the children, things didn’t get a whole lot better. Looking back I know we were poor but I never realized it at the time. Wherever Daddy’s work took us we packed up and moved, sometimes more than once in a year. Her duty was not only the move but putting all six of us in new schools (she often said she had children in school for thirty years straight). She made sure we had three meals a day; clean clothes scrubbed on a washboard; were mannerly and polite; taught us how to work and take nothing for granted; and instilled a strong love of family. She was quick to laugh, generous with her hugs, and loved each of us individually.
During the twenty years since her death the world has changed even more. Even our family has changed a great deal. Not only did she loose her husband but some of her children have passed on as well. We have new additions which, if she were alive, would make her a great great-grandmother, a title she would eagerly embrace and cherish every moment. Our strong family ties have endured because she was adaptable and did her job well!
Happy Birthday Mom!!!